Donald Trump’s penchant for lawless authoritarianism is well documented. We recently reported on how he offered to pardon the head of the Customs and Border Protection in exchange for breaking the law when it comes to Trump’s hardline stances on immigration. But it is a new day now, and the Democrats control the House of Representatives. That means subpoena power, and it appears that Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, wants information on this particular development.
It appears that the Judiciary Committee’s request was triggered by the fact that Trump proposed the idea of sending all undocumented immigrants to the sanctuary cities he so loathes, such as San Francisco, CA and New York City.
All of this activity puts Acting Secretary of Border and Customs Protection Kevin McAleenan in an awkward position. Trump allegedly said that if McAleenan did as he was asked, Trump “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying US entry to migrants.” This information comes courtesy of two U.S. security officials familiar with the situation.
A letter was sent to McAleenan from the House Judiciary Committee regarding the matter, and it read, in part:
“The reported discussion between you, President Trump, and other Department personnel follows a troubling pattern of conduct that has emerged over the past two years that appears to demonstrate that President Trump views the pardon power as a political tool, or even worse, as an expedient mechanism for circumventing the law or avoiding the consequences of his own conduct.”
Of course, the White House has doubled down on the idea that there was no untoward conduct:
“At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the acting secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”
In a meeting regarding the situation of immigrants at the border, Trump allegedly told a room full of officials:
“Tell them we don’t have the capacity. If judges give you trouble, say, ‘Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.'”
People who were there and who know the law, apparently felt differently and warned everyone involved that they would be personally responsible if they followed Trump’s illegal orders to essentially close the border.
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Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.