Trump Reportedly Dangled Pardons To Officials He Directed To Violate The Law, Again

New reporting reveals another instance of Trump directing officials to violate the law, and promising pardons, in pursuit of his immigration agenda.
President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump’s relentless effort to build a border wall has been ongoing since he first announced his campaign in 2015. Trump has declared a dubious national emergency and diverted funds from various agencies, including disaster relief, in his pursuit of this endeavor. Now, we have new reporting that reveals stunningly corrupt behavior.

Trump has reportedly ordered his aides to fast-track billions in contracts to build hundreds of miles of border fencing by seizing land, even if it violates the law and environmental rules. In what many are arguing is an impeachable offense, President Trump reportedly promised he would pardon those who committed these unlawful acts on his behalf. The Washington Post reported:

When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying “take the land,” according to officials who attended the meetings.

“Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you,” he has told officials in meetings about the wall.

The companies building the fencing and access roads have been taking heavy earth-moving equipment into environmentally sensitive border areas adjacent to U.S. national parks and wildlife preserves, but the administration has waived procedural safeguards and impact studies, citing national security concerns.

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President Trump denied the reporting, calling it fake news. But given the fact he has called years of honest reporting “fake news,” take this denial with several grains of salt.

This isn’t the first time President Trump has reportedly dangled pardons after asking government employees to violate the law. In April of this year, CNN and The New York Times reported that in his visit to Calexico, CA, President Trump not only asked the head of CBP to violate the law, he offered a pardon. Jake Tapper of CNN reported:

President Donald Trump told Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan he would grant McAleenan a pardon if he were sent to jail for having border agents block asylum seekers from entering the US in defiance of US law, senior administration officials tell CNN.

Two officials briefed on the exchange say the President told McAleenan, since named the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, that he “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying US entry to migrants,” as one of the officials paraphrased.

You read that correctly. The President of the United States reportedly told the top CBP official to violate the law and then offered a pardon if he were held accountable for executing the unlawful order.

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President Trump reportedly made another unlawful request while in Calexico. CNN also reported that President Trump told border patrol agents to not allow migrants to cross the border at all and to tell judges America is at full capacity. CNN continues:

After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.

The same week in April of the above reporting, other reports revealed that President Trump tried to order DHS to begin releasing detained migrants into sanctuary cities to punish Democrats. This sparked fierce backlash. The White House initially denied the reports. But then, President Trump tweeted that they are still considering this approach. Trump was fixated on this idea in spite of the fact DHS rejected the proposal and the fact lawyers told the White House the move would “run afoul of the law”.

With Congress set to come back from the August recess in a few days, they will have their hands full. Perhaps House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) will add this latest conduct to his impeachment investigation.

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News // Corruption / Donald Trump / Immigration