UPDATED with Joe Arpaio tweet: In the teeth of one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States in more than a decade, President Donald Trump this evening announced he has pardoned former Maricopa County, AZ, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt last month after disregarding a court order in a racial-profiling case and was a devoted follower of Trump’s birther movement, which held that Barack Obama was not born in this country and therefore did not hold his office legally.

Arpaio quick;y sent a public thank-you to POTUS, tweeting:

He followed that immediately with two other tweets, the first thanking his supporters and the second linking to his legal defense fund’s site.

Trump’s Spectacular Friday Night News Dump began a couple hours earlier when Trump signed an executive memo empowering the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to implement his ban on transgender people from serving in the military. The DOD will be given six months to come up with a plan to implement; the ban is set to take effect on March 23.

The pardon for the Arizona lawman was not a big surprise, Trump having said at his rally in Phoenix this week that it was in the works, telling his followers, “I’ll make a prediction. … I think he’s going to be just fine.” But the timing of the announcement – setting a new high bar for Trump White House Friday News Dumps – was stunning.

The announcement was issued to the media on same day Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, told Financial Times he had seriously considered resigning in disgust after Trump delivered his “fine people on both sides” statement about the neo-Nazi/white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in which one counter-protester was killed.

Speaking of well-coordinated, Fox News Channel announced that Sean Hannity will interview Arpaio live on his show tonight.

Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt last month, for disregarding a court order in a racial profiling case. He was scheduled to be sentenced in early October.
“Not only did [Arpaio] abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise,” U.S. District Judge Susan Bolten wrote in her July 31 order.

Trump’s White House statement:

Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.  Arpaio’s life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War, exemplify selfless public service.  After serving in the Army, Arpaio became a police officer in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas, NV and later served as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), formerly the Bureau of Narcotics.  After 25 years of admirable service, Arpaio went on to lead the DEA’s branch in Arizona.

In 1992, the problems facing his community pulled Arpaio out of retirement to return to law enforcement.  He ran and won a campaign to become Sheriff of Maricopa County.  Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.