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:
This is what in the old days we used to call “abuse of power.” https://t.co/te6rArdoof
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) April 12, 2019
So does MSNBC's Joyce Vance and CNN's Jake Tapper:
The President offered a pardon to a federal employee if the employee would violate the law to further the President’s political goals. Really (GOPs in) Congress, what more do you need to see? https://t.co/i9fFCI7tbS
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) April 12, 2019
U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu:
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Dude, you can't tell a federal employees to violate the law and then say you will issue a pardon. That's the kind of stuff that can get you impeached.
Also, why are you trying to eliminate pre-existing conditions health care coverage? https://t.co/DXbesW0xUm
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 12, 2019
Law Professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer:
Telling someone to commit a crime and promising a pardon if he does is an impeachable offense.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) April 12, 2019
Former Senior Advisor to President Obama and current CNN contributor:
A President instructing a subordinate to break the law with the promise of a pardon is a textbook example of an impeachable offense and should be the biggest story in the country for months. https://t.co/1JXU9t9Nd2
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) April 12, 2019
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