In the 26 days between former sheriff Joe Arpaio's federal conviction and his presidential pardon, there was a nuclear war threat, a violent protest at the hands of white supremacists, and a Category 4 hurricane.
Not to mention the loss of two White House staffers — Anthony Scaramucci and Steven Bannon. Still, through all of this Donald Trump, did not forget his favorite tough-on-immigration sheriff here in Arizona. Here's a breakdown of the whirlwind of events.
Arpaio is found guilty of criminal contempt for ignoring a court order that told him and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to stop racial profiling. The defense team says the order wasn't clear enough. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton says no dice and the six-term sheriff is found guilty, again.
In response, the Latino community cheers, cries and exclaims "Karma's a bitch" to the man who made so many of their lives hell.
The dust is just starting to settle after Arpaio's conviction when Trump tells a Fox News reporter he is "seriously considering" pardoning Arpaio. This would be his first presidential pardon and many feel this is the wrong way to use it. The ACLU feels strongly about this, saying a pardon would be "an official presidential endorsement of racism."
Meanwhile, a small group of local constitutionalists have been campaigning for this pardon on Facebook. They feel that because Arpaio's case was not heard by a jury, he deserves a new trial (this is legally kosher because of the minimum sentence cut-off for a federal case.)
Arpaio's lawyers agree. While the media swarms over a potential pardon, they quietly filed two new motions for acquittal.
In the midst of reacting to the news, Americans across the country Google what a presidential pardon is and how it works. Can he do that? The answer is yes.
Then Trump does what he does best — adds fuel to the fire. His campaign team, not the White House, announces he's coming for a victory lap in Phoenix. Rumors immediately start circulating that Trump is coming to pardon Arpaio.
Arizonans are looking to their representatives to speak out against this, but instead they get Congressman Andy Biggs, who gives the whole thing a big thumbs-up.
In stark contrast, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton cautions Trump not to come at all, especially in the wake of the Charlottesville, Virginia, protest. Stanton even wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post urging Trump to turn Air Force One around and "let cooler heads prevail and begin the healing process."
Of course that doesn't happen.
Protesters and counter-protesters start posting dozens of Facebook events, crafting signs, organizing marches, and buying tickets for the big event — even if they don't plan to use them.
The big day comes. Anticipating huge crowds, police officers strategize and local businesses close early.
Outside the line wrapped around the Phoenix Convention Center and Trump supporters waited for hours in the heat of 100-plus degrees. Inside, women and minorities alike cheer to "build the wall" and take down fake news.
But shortly before the rally the White House releases a statement that Arpaio won't be pardoned on this night. Trump doesn't want to incite controversy (as if that's something he's never done before).
Trump doesn't light the match but the spark is still there in his speech. Chaos ensues anyway.
What was a peaceful protest turned ugly at the end of the night, when police began throwing flash bombs and pepper balls to clear crowds. Downtown turned disorderly but not deadly. A truck just narrowly missed patrons as it backed up into a crowd.
The aftermath of the Phoenix rally simmers down. Protesters continue to share photos and videos of police force and organize efforts to go to the Phoenix City Council meeting this Wednesday.
On Friday afternoon, Arpaio's lawyers pen a letter to the White House Counsel Donald McGahn scolding him because an anonymous source told CBS White House staffers were advising Trump not to pardon Arpaio.
The letter notes that just the week before the White House Counsel called Arpaio and asked if he would accept the pardon and papers were already being drawn up.
This letter doesn't make any headlines but it was sent to the New Times.
At noon, Arpaio's lawyer texted me a copy of his letter to the White House scolding them for reportedly advising Trump not to pardon. pic.twitter.com/wa5oR2hUdm— Lindsay Moore (@_lindsaymoore) August 26, 2017
The nation reverts its attention to Texas, where Hurricane Harvey is coming through and causing massive damage.
But at 5 p.m. Arizona time, 8 p.m. on the East Coast, the White House releases a statement that Joe Arpaio has been pardoned.
Salvador Reza, an immigrant-rights activist responds to Trump's disregard for the court's decision: "He’s just throwing the finger at them."
Activists and organizers respond to the news of a pardon for Arpaio outside the courthouse in Phoenix. pic.twitter.com/ETuTtIkYC2— Joseph Flaherty (@FlahertyJoseph) August 26, 2017
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