Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub described what he thinks Trump’s motives are behind the Arpaio pardon. He believes that Trump was testing the waters for future Russia investigation pardons and sending a clear message to the targets of Mueller’s investigation.
Pardon motives? I suspect: Court alt-right votes, test water for more pardons, encourage loyalty, signal Mueller targets (fear not/be quiet)
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 26, 2017
It is easy to get lost in the swirl of Trump events and miss the big picture. Beyond sending a clear message to his racist supporters that he is still with them, and there going to be no moderation in the White House even with Bannon and Gorka gone, the President was doing much more.
Donald Trump is actively working to eliminate the restraints and norms that are associated with presidential power. Shaub did a good job of connecting the dots. The Arpaio pardon was a signal to targets of Mueller’s investigation that Trump is going to bail them out of trouble. Trump was also testing the limits of what he can get away with on the pardon front. If Arpaio’s pardon
had gone unnoticed due to the hurricane coverage, it would have given Trump the green light to bury Russia related pardons under heavy breaking news cycles.
Walter Shaub was right. The sending of a message to his racist supporters was a small part of the plan. The bigger objective appears to be Trump’s intention to use presidential pardons as literal get of jail free cards on the Russia scandal.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association