The White House is quietly lifting President Donald Trump’s controversial pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, after his attorneys said they could not prove the former sheriff committed crimes that would trigger the presidential pardon.
A White House official confirmed to The Hill that Trump’s office issued a pardon on Wednesday, and that it was the first time the president has commuted a sentence in more than three decades.
It was not immediately clear what the White House planned to do with the pardon, but the official said it was a significant step in the right direction.
The pardon is likely to be the most controversial and divisive of Trump’s first term, with critics saying it shows a willingness to disregard the law and the Constitution.
The pardon would give Trump full authority to pardon anyone who has been convicted of crimes, including anyone who is on probation or parole, and anyone who committed any misdemeanors.
In the wake of the pardon announcement, the Trump administration also pardoned former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is now facing charges of lying to the FBI about his role in a corruption scheme involving a former New Jersey mayor and the NYPD.
The president has not said whether he plans to pardon Arpaio, who has long been a lightning rod for conservatives.
Arpaio was convicted in 2015 of criminal contempt of court for refusing to obey a court order to stop detaining immigrants.
He has said that his actions were justified in order to protect the public from a surge of criminal activity.
Arpaio was later sentenced to two years in prison.