On Saturday evening, right before you swore off the news for the night in favor of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor circus, you might have heard something about how Donald Trump tried to convince Jeff Sessions to get the government to drop the criminal case against former Arizona county sheriff Joe Arpaio.
And when you heard that you probably thought something like this: “Jesus, that sounds terrible – but then again, nothing surprises me anymore – so fuck it – turn on Showtime because the fight’s starting and I paid $99 for the HD version.”
Well now it’s Sunday which means you can get back to focusing on the autocracy we’re calling America and “yes” that Trump/Arpaio story is just as bad as it sounded to you last night. Just read this from WaPo:
As Joseph Arpaio’s federal case headed toward trial this past spring, President Trump wanted to act to help the former Arizona county sheriff who had become a campaign-trail companion and a partner in their crusade against illegal immigration.
The president asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against Arpaio, but was advised that would be inappropriate, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation.
Responding to questions about Trump’s conversation with Sessions, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “It’s only natural the president would have a discussion with administration lawyers about legal matters. This case would be no different.”
That last bit from Sanders is a bold-faced lie. There is nothing “only natural” about that with the possible of exception of it being “only natural” that Trump would seek to circumvent the legal system on behalf of a known racist who, you’re reminded, was complicit in the absurd “investigation” into Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
Recall this classic 2012 tweet:
I mean… what the fuck, right?
Anyway, as you ponder Trump’s attempt to literally stop the wheels of justice from turning, do consider the following excerpts from a piece called “The year I spent in Joe Arpaio’s tent jail was hell. He should never walk free.” by Francisco Chairez…
By Francisco Chairez for WaPo
I was born in Mexico, grew up in Tijuana, and moved to Arizona when I was 14. I went to high school in a small town called Holbrook, then went to Phoenix to go to Arizona State University. By that time, roughly 2012, Joe Arpaio’s vicious anti-Latino tactics had already raised racial tensions in Maricopa County, where he was sheriff.
At the time, Arpaio was infamous among my community for his “sweeps.” He would send police into restaurants, hotels or anywhere else he suspected undocumented people might be working and would arrest those who couldn’t produce IDs. People lived in fear of these sweeps; some families I knew even moved to New Mexico, hoping to escape Arpaio.
I heard all about Arpaio’s crusades firsthand. By 2014, I was working as a court interpreter for Maricopa County. Every day, I would interpret for Spanish-speaking people who had been arrested by Arpaio in the desert, trying to come to the United States to work. Arpaio’s men would arrest them and put them in detention facilities for months, holding them until they took a plea agreement — so he could get a conviction for them on the record. That way, if they ever tried to return to the United States, they would be placed in federal prison.
That same year, I got into a bad relationship and I drove while drunk. I was arrested, and it took the county an entire year to prosecute me. I thought it was the worst year of my life, until I was convicted and sent to one of Arpaio’s jails.
The minute I turned myself in to go to jail, they took me to the Fourth Avenue jail, the county’s hub for all arrests. There, they put me through something called “the Matrix”: being moved from one cell to another for about 12 continuous hours.
Finally, they put me in chains and moved me to another jail by bus.
I arrived at one of Arpaio’s several “tent cities,” outdoor jails where inmates shelter in army tents, mostly exposed to the Arizona elements.
During the sweltering summer, the temperature could reach 115 or 120 degrees. I was in the tents when we hit 120. It was impossible to stay cool in the oppressive heat. Everyone would strip down to their underwear. There was no cold water, only water from vending machines; and eventually, the machines would run out. People would faint; some had heatstroke. That summer, ambulances came about three times. One man died in his bed.
And it gets immeasurably worse.
I encourage you to read the linked post above by Chairez and then try to wrap your head around the fact that when he wasn’t indirectly murdering inmates in desert tents, Arpaio was “busy” tracking down the “facts” about Obama’s birth certificate and now, he gets a literal “get out of jail free” card from Donald Trump and one of the people who helped raise awareness of Arpaio’s “cause” was Alex Jones.
Go think on that.