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Presidential Pardons...
the only genuine get out of jail free card.
Pardons are one of the most powerful tools available
to a President and they have been used controversially
in the past.
Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich.
Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.
And as we've mentioned before, Abraham Lincoln once
pardoned a man for attempted bestiality.
-That is true. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
And in fairness, this was the horse.
That's a pretty fuckable horse right there.
I'm not saying that you should fuck it,
I'm just saying I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating apples.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -The point here is...
While we were away Donald Trump issued his very first pardon
and it was a doozy.
REPORTER: A legal lightning bolt from President Trump
late Friday.
A presidential pardon for Arizona's controversial,
anti-illegal immigration hardliner... Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
That's right. Donald Trump pardons Joe Arpaio.
A man who answer's the question,
"What if a decaying Russet potato somehow hated Mexicans?"
But let's look at that decision because if the President
of the United States is going to use his very first pardon
on someone this early in his term it really is worth knowing
exactly who Joe Arpaio is,
and what the implications of this decision may be.
And you probably may have heard of Joe Arpaio before.
He is carefully cultivated an image over 25 years
as a hard-nosed Sheriff with unconventional methods
that the media has lapped up.
REPORTER 2: Joe Arpaio is known as America's toughest Sheriff.
Sheriff Arpaio who's been dubbed,
"America's Toughest Sheriff."
REPORTER 3: America's toughest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
REPORTER 4: He's known as "America's Toughest Sheriff,"
for his crackdowns on illegal immigration and petty crime.
REPORTER 5: He brags about making prisoners eat
bologna sandwiches so rotten, the meat has turned green.
REPORTER 6: He makes his inmates wear pink.
He uses chain gangs.
REPORTER 7: Inmates are forced to wear striped prison garb
and pink underwear.
Well, that is just awful.
The pink underwear is fine but no one should be forced
to wear horizontal stripes.
They widen the silhouette. That is a fact.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -That's a fashion fact.
Now, Arpaio didn't really mind that coverage.
He actually welcomed it, 'cause he loves being on camera
so much that he essentially spent years
treating prisoners as props for a reality show.
And sometimes, literally, he actually had
a short-lived show called, "Smile... You're Under Arrest!",
Where people with outstanding warrants would be tricked
into appearing on a set, only to be pranked
in the worst way possible.
Oh, wait, wait, I got one more surprise.
NARRATOR: These two people are actually
Deputies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office.
Take him down!
So, dude, you gotta smile, 'cause you're under arrest.
MCEE: Oh, (CENSORED) for real!
Whoomp, there it is!
Whoomp, there it is.
Now, for the record, even then that reference was 15 years old.
Which is a weird wiggity-whack thing to do, dog.
And look, tricking people into arrest for your own amusement
is a terrible idea for a reality show.
The only worst idea is not making Peter the bachelor.
-Look at that face. Are you idiots, ABC? -(AUDIENCE CHEERS, APPLAUDING)
Let me just say this Peter...
If you are out there you are and shall forever remain
Now, Arpaio will honestly do anything for a camera
and if you don't believe me
watch him sing his favorite song,
which, of course, is...
Frank Sinatra's My Way, the universal anthem
-of assholes everywhere. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
Watch him sing it for a documentary film crew.
♪ I took the blows ♪
♪ And did it my way ♪
Here's something interesting there...
when Frank Sinatra heard that he actually climbed
out of his grave,
walked 400 miles to Arpaio's house,
rang the door bell and simply said... "No."
But, what does, "Doing it Arpaio's way," actually mean?
Because Trump didn't just pardon him, he touted Arpaio's support
on the campaign trail, even having him speak
at the Republican convention.
So, Trump clearly doesn't seem to have any real problem
with Arpaio's way.
And for the record, it is far more that just
the eye-catching circus that you've seen so far,
and many people were affected.
Maricopa County where he was the Sheriff until just last year
contains over four million people.
That's a higher population than that of 24 states.
And conditions in his tent city weren't just eccentric,
they were appalling.
Temperatures there could rise as high as 145 degrees.
Food was limited to two meals a day.
And then, there was this...
REPORTER 8: Chinese law enforcement officials
drop in for some tips from Joe, who just brushed up
on his Mandarin.
-I hear China very tough on criminal. -Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
-Correct? -Uh-huh. Yeah.
-I'm asking them, in China... -WOMAN: Yes.
"Do they put women on a chain gang?" -WOMAN: Yes. Yes.
-No. -JOE ARPAIO: Uh, thank you. I am still...
-the first in the, in the world! -(WOMAN SPEAKING CHINESE)
Yes. Arpaio actually put women on chain gangs.
So, I guess, #FEMINISM?
I-- It's a grey area.
And look, remem-- remember Arpaio operates jails,
not prisons, and jails...
are typically for people serving sentences of less than a year
or even just awaiting trial,
which is not to say that anyone should be subjected to
some of Arpaio's treatment.
At one point, he actually installed web cams in the jail,
one of which showed female inmates using the toilet,
which wound up being linked to by pornographic sites.
And while the cameras were eventually pulled,
the Sheriff's office defended themselves
with their lawyer saying, "They did not show the
private part of any inmates," and...
" juveniles would have been displayed
unless they 'look older and lie to us.'"
-(AUDIENCE GASPING) -And just spare a thought there for the attorney who
went all they way through years of law school
only to have to tell a reporter,
"Don't worry the women we broadcast taking a shit
were probably all adults."
And Arpaio seemed routinely impervious
to criticism of any of his tactics.
I have not received many negative comments,
other than the, uh, Justice Department
or Amnesty International or the Civil Liberties Union.
but those are the three key groups who might criticize you
over mistreating prisoners.
So, you just went three-for-three on that one.
You're not going to get complaints from Carl's Jr.,
-the Girl Scouts, and Hootie and the Blowfish. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
That's not what those groups do.
So, is it frankly,
any wonder that when a reporter asked inmates,
whether Arpaio had any nicknames,
one responded "Hitler" while another responded "Hitler."
That is a charge that he's defended himself
against by saying,
"My daughter has adopted children of various ethnicities.
I got a black, a Mexican with Down syndrome even.
And yet I'm the racist, I'm the fascist,
I'm the Hitler."
And look, I'm not gonna argue with him on that one.
That is just sound logic right there.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -That is why when you play the board game
"Guess Who's The Hitler,"
the first things you ask to narrow it down are,
"do their daughter got a black?
And "do their daughter got a Mexican with
with Down syndrome even?"
Because if their daughter got those,
they can't be the Hitler. It's right there in the rules.
Arpaio's jails weren't just tough and humiliating,
they were sometimes deadly.
Over the years, the county has paid out
multiple large settlements
to families of inmates who've died
following incidents in his facilities,
including over $8 million to the family of Scott Norberg,
who died in custody after being restrained, shot and beaten by guards.
And when one officer tried to warn two other guards
that the inmate was in dire trouble,
their response was chilling.
I told him that he was turning blue or purple,
and that he was breathing,
and he said, "who gives a fuck?"
ATTORNEY: After, uh, Speidel
responded to you, "Who gives a fuck,"
and you warned Officer Gurney, what did Mr. Gurney say?
They said just, "Who gives a shit?"
Look, you can't see someone dying
and say, "who gives a shit?"
You can't even see something dying and say that,
with of course the sole exception of orchids,
because really, who gives a shit?
They're-- they're high maintenance little flower cocks,
-and they all deserve to die. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
Now, now I should tell you the justice department
declined to prosecute that case
and both Arpaio and the offices insisted they did nothing wrong.
In fact, Arpaio was so unapologetic
that both officer "who gives a fuck"
and officer "who gives a shit" were later promoted,
presumably to lieutenant "whatever, asshole,"
and sergeant "zero fucks given."
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -And that promotion,
the problem is, that promotion sends a pretty clear message
to Arpaio's staff. Almost as clear a message
as a president pardoning the man who oversaw all of this.
And remember, Arpaio wasn't just in charge of jails.
He was also a law enforcement officer.
Though his respect for the law seemed awfully selective.
Now, over the years, his office repeatedly launched criminal cases
against his perceived enemies, be they county officials
or even judges,
some of which were so shockingly flimsy
they were dismissed or thrown out.
One civil suit that he brought turned out to be so baseless
it was actually cited in the disbarment
of the attorney who brought it,
with a member of the disbarment panel saying
it was "nothing short of fumbling with the law,
like children wielding a buzzing chainsaw."
Which is not only an amazing statement,
it's also actually my favorite Precious Moments figurine.
And for America's toughest sheriff,
Arpaio seemed to let certain crimes
fall through the cracks.
In 2011, it came out that his department
had failed to properly investigate more than 400 sex-crimes,
some of which involved children.
And while Arpaio eventually admitted to that,
his apology left a lot to be desired.
If there were any victims out there,
I apologize, uh, to those victims,
if there were any.
-Hold on. If there were any? -(AUDIENCE GASPING)
There were, we know that.
That is a casual indifference to overlooking sex-crimes
so egregious, I am genuinely surprised that Penn State
-hasn't erected a statue of him. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
And amazingly, here's the amazing thing...
None of what you have just seen, not the conditions,
not the deaths, not the baseless charges against his critics
has anything to do with why he was convicted and needed a pardon.
That stems from racial profiling,
which his department has been repeatedly accused of
over the years. And one huge investigation
made some really troubling allegations.
REPORTER 9: A three-year investigation by the justice department
found what it called "unconstitutional policing,
and a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos
who are up to nine times more likely than whites
to be stopped by a Maricopa County deputy."
In one incident cited in the federal report,
a Hispanic driver was incarcerated for 13 days
before his citation was dismissed
for not using his turn signal."
Think about that.
Thirteen days for a turn signal infraction.
And that is in Arizona,
where an old person driving with their turn signal on
-is literally their state seal. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
And not surprisingly, in 2011, a lawsuit alleging
his department had a patent of racial profiling
resulted in this.
A federal court in Phoenix has decided Arizona authorities
cannot arrest people suspected of being illegal immigrants
solely because of their appearance.
WOMAN 2: If Arpaio does not comply with the court ruling,
Arpaio could ultimately be held in contempt of court
and face jail time.
You'll never guess what happened.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -Arpaio did not comply with that court ruling.
In fact, over the next 18 months,
his office detained at least 171 people without charge
and turned them over to Immigration Enforcement.
And last July, a federal judge found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt.
And at that point, he was a criminal.
He had committed and was convicted of a crime,
you know, the thing that the people he puts in tents and pink underwear had done.
And which he felt meant that they had forfeited
any right to complain. He had done that.
And he hadn't even been sentenced
before Trump started hinting at a pardon,
for a frankly incredible reason.
Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?
-That's what... -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
You know what? I'll make a prediction,
I think he's gonna be just fine, okay?
But here's the thing there.
He absolutely was not "just doing his job."
He was also doing something illegal.
You wouldn't say that John Wayne Gacy
was "just doing his job,"
even though he was by all accounts
-a pretty good birthday clown. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
It's the stuff he was doing on top of that
that needed addressing.
And yet, and yet, I do not doubt
that Trump thinks that everything Joe Arpaio did
was or should be part of a law enforcement officer's job.
And that is the real problem here.
That is why this pardon is a slap in the face
to Latinos that Arpaio and his department
unconstitutionally targeted,
and that is why it's a slap in the face
to the very rule of law itself.
Because Arpaio broke the rules he was sworn to uphold.
Rules that are put in place to protect citizens
from a government going out of control.
And Trump giving him a pass
after everything that you have seen tonight
and saying he was "just doing his job"
is a loud confirmation that at least as far as this White House is concerned,
for the next few years
law enforcement won't necessarily be expected
to do their jobs the way the Constitution
or the courts say they should.
Instead, like Sheriff Joe Arpaio,
they should absolutely feel free to do their job...
um, what's the term?
♪ My way ♪