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Trump alludes to a pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio

President Donald Trump reacts before speaking at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that President Donald Trump would not pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday.

During his campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center Tuesday night, Trump brought up Arpaio and indeed said he would not pardon him that night. However, he strongly hinted that he will pardon the former Maricopa County sheriff in the future.

“I won’t (pardon Arpaio) tonight because I don’t want to cause controversy,” Trump said at the rally, but he said the former sheriff “should feel good.”

The president asked why Arpaio was even convicted in the first place.

“Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Trump asked. “He should’ve had a jury, but you know what? I’ll make a prediction, I think he’s going to be just fine, OK?”

Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt in a yearslong court battle in July.

U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton found the 85-year-old guilty of the misdemeanor that could bring a six-month jail sentence, though that was unlikely.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said before the rally he was excited to hear that Arpaio would not be pardoned at the rally, a move he criticized last week because of the violence in Charlottesville and the controversy about the former Maricopa County sheriff in the Valley.

“That is a great victory for so many of the community activists and leaders that have been asking the president not to do that,” Stanton said. “That would be such a volatile thing to do here in Phoenix and because of that, I’m much more confident that today is going to be calm and peaceful.”

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