Trump Promised Pardon to Head of Customs and Border Protection if He Broke the Law by Blocking Asylum Seekers

 
 
 
One week ago President Donald Trump made a rare trip to California, to dedicate a plaque that falsely marks the start of construction of his border wall. During that trip the president toured an area near the Southern border, held a roundtable with some with Customs and Border patrol agents, and told the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to block asylum-seeking migrants from entering the United States.

Trump, now infamously, and on-camera, told CBP agents to tell migrants – including asylum seekers fleeing violence, rape, drugs, and gangs – "illegal migration, we can’t take you anymore. Our country is full. The sector is full. We can’t take you anymore. Turn around, that’s the way it is."

That is illegal.

But as CNN is reporting, "the President also told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that if he were sent to jail as a result of blocking those migrants from entering the US, the President would grant him a pardon, senior administration officials tell CNN."

That may be illegal, especially as The New York Times just published a similar report, but describes the conversation as the President ordering McAleenan to close the border to immigrants.

"President Trump last week urged Kevin McAleenan, whom he was about to name as acting secretary of homeland security, to close the southwestern border despite having just said that he was delaying a decision on the step for a year, according to three people briefed about the conversation," The Times notes.

The President does not have the authority to indiscriminately and secretly close the border.

And indeed, just two days later Trump fired the Secretary of Homeland Security, caused at least two other DHS officials to resign, so he could name McAleenan Acting Head of the Dept. of Homeland Security, which he did.

Attorney and former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa weighs in:

So does MSNBC's Joyce Vance and CNN's Jake Tapper:

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu:

Law Professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer:

Former Senior Advisor to President Obama and current CNN contributor:

 

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