Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon fired – Trending Stuff

Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon fired – Trending Stuff

(CNN)President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has been fired, multiple White House officials told CNN on Friday.

Sources told CNN the Bannon’s ouster had been in the works for two months and a source said that while Bannon was given the choice to resign, he was ultimately forced out. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Bannon’s departure, but claimed that the decision for him to leave was mutual.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Sanders said in a statement.

The President has privately stewed over Bannon lately, including Thursday night by his golf course in New Jersey. He was furious with his chief strategist after he was quoted in an interview with the American Prospect contradicting Trump on North Korea and asserting that Bannon managed to make changes at the State Department.

On Saturday morning, but the President tweeted out his thanks to Bannon: “I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton – it was great! Thanks S.”

Bannon’s departure comes just seven months after Trump took office and three weeks following retired Gen. Kelly took over as chief of staff, looking to instill order in a chaotic White House beset by internal divisions, staff infighting and a storm of controversies.

Bannon’s departure meant one of the White House’s most controversial staffers, the man generally perceived as the driving force behind Trump’s “nationalist” ideology, could no longer be at the center of the Trump universe.

Bannon joined Trump’s effort this past year, moving from the sidelines as one of Trump’s top cheerleaders to a position atop his campaign apparatus.

He didn’t travel with the President during the first week of what White House officials described as a “working vacation” at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Instead Bannon remained in Washington where he worked from a temporary office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as the West Wing underwent renovations.

Bannon was supposed to be fired two weeks ago, a White House official told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, but it was put off.

CNN reports the President equivocated following a first plan was to fire Bannon and then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at same time, the official says, because Rep. Mark Meadows, the influential chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and others urged Trump to keep him on board.

The interview this week was sufficient for Meadows to alter his view, a person close to him says.

What Bannon is thinking

After his shooting Friday, Bannon spoke to The Weekly Standard, making a pointed case which the Trump presidency that his brand of populist, right-wing conservatives helped make possible is currently “over.”

“We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency,” Bannon told The Weekly Standard. “But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”

The question today is whether Bannon will be an ally or a thorn in the side of the Trump administration outside the White House, where he has seemingly returned to his role as head of Breitbart, the right-wing news site that he ran till he joined Trump’s effort a year ago.

However that unfolds, Bannon is expected to remain tightly on the billionaire conservative father-daughter pair Robert and Rebekah Mercer, that are major investors in Breitbart News and top Trump donors.

Bannon returned to the role of executive chairman of Breitbart News and chaired the evening editorial meeting, the book’s White House correspondent reported Friday evening.

Both Bannon and Trump spoke with the Mercers lately, a White House official said.

A White House ally who has talked to Bannon said the outgoing chief strategist does not want to go to war with Trump. Bannon is making that clear to close partners in response to Breitbart editor Joel Pollak tweeting #WAR.

“That’s not where Steve’s head is at,” this source said. “He’s been fighting for the exact same things that the President has been fighting for.”

This source quoted Bannon as saying “I want (Trump) to succeed.”

Still, as his shooting seemed increasingly likely, Bannon downplayed concerns about being booted from the White House and argued that he would be a more powerful force from the outside, sources near Bannon said.

He has privately told associates he would return to his “killing machine” — Breitbart — if he was forced to leave to the White House and has said he’d be able to more easily target a few of his White House competitions — like chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster — from the outside, the sources said.

Bannon has also worked in recent weeks to put the pieces in place for his schedule to live on without him at the White House, working on hardline trade initiatives in his last weeks.

After pushing the President to initiate the process of exploring Chinese trade abuses, Bannon also laid the groundwork for a series of aggressive trade actions designed to impose a harder line against China, the sources said.

In his last days at the White House, Bannon was continuing to perform up schedules for the rollout of trade initiatives which would arrive in September, long after he expected to be forced in the White House, the sources said.

“We’re going to run the tables on these guys,” Bannon told The American Prospect in an interview earlier this week.

A quick and controversial biography

Bannon’s tumultuous White House tenure has been marked by controversy.

In the administration, Bannon frequently butted heads with other advisers to the President, feuding with son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief economic adviser Cohn and other more moderate members of the President’s administration whom Bannon branded as “globalists.”

Bannon was often suspected by coworkers of badmouthing them to reporters and he rubbed colleagues the wrong way by trying to ramrod his ideological positions.

“Steve was never a team player,” a senior administration official said.

Bannon viewed himself as the populist guardian of Trump’s campaign promises from the White House, working daily to tick off items in the list of promises that hung on the walls of his West Wing office.

Bannon focused especially on pushing a hardline trade agenda, recently employed to cue up a series of trade policies to aggressively target Chinese foreign trade abuses and work toward rebalancing the trading relationship between the US and China.

Bannon was an influential voice inside the White House, feeding and encouraging Trump’s nationalist and populist instincts.

In the process, he gained an infamous reputation as a puppet master pulling the strings in the Oval Office, with pop culture portrayals ranging from the moniker “President Bannon” to his depiction as the grim reaper on “Saturday Night Live.” Those portrayals — combined with a Time Magazine cover that declared him “the great manipulator” — often angered Trump, who chafes at being outshined.

But the truth is that while Bannon was an influential figure at Trump’s side, he was hardly the all-powerful aide so many sought to portray him as.

He didn’t always come out victorious in his feuds with fellow White House aides and Trump didn’t always heed his counsel.

Still, Bannon served as a daily reminder to Trump of his populist campaign promises and his bellicose political instincts. Bannon’s rivals from the White House argued that he encouraged the President’s worst instincts, while his allies said that he was keeping the soul of Trump’s movement alive.

The fiery chief strategist also led the charge against suggestions by federal security officials to deepen US military participation in Afghanistan, feuding vocally during meetings of the National Security Council with McMaster and working behind the scenes to water down hawkish proposals for troop increases and a longer-term US military commitment.

The President is meeting Friday with members of his national security team at Camp David to consider options for the future of the US war in Afghanistan as he nears a decision, but Bannon isn’t there — and wasn’t scheduled to be, according to a list of attendees that the White House sent out Friday morning.

This story is breaking and will upgrade with additional news.

CORRECTION: This graphic has been updated to reflect Shaub’s length on staff for the Trump administration. He was on staff 180 days.

CLARIFICATION: This graphic has been updated to describe Scaramucci’s and Comey’s length on staff based on the their start and end dates. They stayed on staff 11 days and 110 days, respectively.

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‘Potentially catastrophic’ Hurricane Irma nears eastern Caribbean islands – Trending Stuff

‘Potentially catastrophic’ Hurricane Irma nears eastern Caribbean islands – Trending Stuff

(CNN)As Floridians cleared supermarkets of bottled water and drained gas pumps, people in the northeastern Caribbean were making last minute-preparations before strong Hurricane Irma hit their islands.

Late Tuesday, the massive Category 5 storm was almost upon islands like Antigua and Barbuda with near-record 185 mph sustained winds. In its 11 p.m. ET advisory, the US National Hurricane Center said the eye of the hurricane was 50 miles in both islands.

The center of the storm was moving to the west-northwest at 15 mph.

The hurricane center said the extremely dangerous core of Irma would hit the northern Leeward Islands — that include Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla — Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

It’s too early to tell whether the storm will make landfall on the US mainland, but predictions show it could turn toward Florida over the weekend.

Forecasters’ most immediate concerns are for the people of the northeastern Caribbean, the hurricane center’s Michael Brennan said.

“Anguilla, all of the way toward (Antigua and) Barbuda, all of the way up even toward the British Virgin Islands (are) in grave danger of an eye wall hit at (at least) 150 mph — which devastates the island, regardless of what island it is,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Tuesday.

Those islands are under hurricane warnings, as are Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and St. Barts.

One Twitter user in St. Barts posted a photo of rain coming down and winds beginning to sway the leaves of the palm trees Tuesday evening.

The hurricane center warned the storm is “potentially catastrophic,” especially if the worst conditions hit islands at high tides.

Fishermen get boats out of water

Irma’s forecast track currently has it near or over Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla by early Wednesday, and the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon.

The Dominican Republic issued a hurricane warning Tuesday evening that included coastal cities from Cabo Engaño to the northern border with Haiti.

Preparations to protect life and property in those areas “should be rushed to completion,” the hurricane center said in an 11 p.m. ET advisory.

“We could see storm surges of 7 to 11 feet — that’s certainly life-threatening — and very, very heavy flood rain” in the far northeastern Caribbean islands as well as winds that could cause catastrophic damage near the eye wall, Brennan said.

Hurricane warnings are issued to areas that are expected to experience hurricane-force winds (at least 74 mph).

On Antigua, home to roughly 80,000 people, fishermen used machines to lift their boats onto docks and other residents flocked to stores to stock up on food and other supplies ahead of the storm, video broadcast by ABS TV Antigua and distributed by Reuters shows.

The US Virgin Islands, with about 100,000 people, declared a state of emergency Tuesday and ordered the National Guard into active service.

John Klein, owner of White Bay Villas & Seaside Cottages on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands, told CNN they were rebooking the guests.

“We have backups for (our utilities), but in a storm of the magnitude it’s not best for the guests to be there because they may get stuck,” he said.

Computer models show the system possibly near the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday and Friday, and Cuba on Friday and Saturday — and potentially turning north toward Florida by the weekend.

Puerto Rico: Long lines

Hundreds of people rushed to the stores, emptying shelves of food and drinking water just as Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Monday.

For hours, people also lined up outside hardware stores hoping to get plywood, batteries and power generators. If Irma knocks out power, Puerto Ricans said they are worried it would take weeks or months before the power is restored.

“It (power) is something absolutely necessary, especially due to Puerto Rico’s weather. We will need to have the A/C or a fan on all night,” a woman told CNN affiliate WAPA.

Last month, the director of Puerto Rico’s power utility, Ricardo Ramos Rodríguez, said several factors have made the island’s electric system “delicate and vulnerable,” WAPA reported.

One of those is the shortage of employees. Many workers recently retired or left their jobs for better prospects on the US mainland, Ramos Rodríguez said.

Public schools and officials at the University of Puerto Rico campuses have canceled classes, and many businesses are closed.

“Make a U-turn and die in the ocean, Irma. The Caribbean islands don’t need more problems!” Twitter user mujertropical wrote about the storm.

Getting ready in the Sunshine State

While Irma’s exact path is uncertain, Florida — where storm-wary shoppers were standing in long lines outside some stores Tuesday — is bracing for the storm.

Miami-Dade County will start evacuating special-needs residents on Wednesday, and may announce other evacuations soon, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.

“I would rather inconvenience our residents” with evacuations than suffer loss of life, Gimenez said.

Schools and county offices are to be closed on Thursday and Friday.

And the state’s Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, said it will order visitors to evacuate by sunrise Wednesday, and residents should begin to evacuate 12 hours later.

In Florida, people were standing in lines at stores to buy water and other goods on Tuesday.

In Miami, supermarkets and other stores were already selling out of water and nonperishable food.

“I’ve been through hurricanes and they are like ‘Oh it’s going to hit right here’ and then it hits 30, 40 miles up the coast and it sort of changes the way everything goes, so better safe than sorry,” Greg Andrews told CNN affiliate WPLG.

The lines at Costco in Pembroke Pines appeared to be several hours long, Javier Aragon tweeted.

In Clearwater, along Florida’s Gulf Coast, a Publix store still was selling six-packs of water but had run out of larger cases, Carrie Hart said. Hart told CNN that workers there were trying to calm shoppers.

On Twitter, she described a “mad run” on the remaining six-packs.

“@publix is out of cases. Expecting more tonight. Store 1300. They are doing their very best people. Calm down,” she tweeted.

Irma could head to Florida by the weekend, Myers said Tuesday.

?? #irma #cat5 #175mph

A post shared by Kurt S. (@kfitlifestyle) on

“Just enormous damage if we get this storm, this big, over portions of Florida,” Myers said.

After declaring a state of emergency across Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said President Donald Trump had “provided the full resources of the federal government as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma.”

White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert tweeted that the President had declared emergencies for Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Scott also ordered 7,000 National Guard troops to report for duty by Friday morning. Of those, 100 were activated Tuesday to begin helping with preparations, he said.

“I can’t stress this enough. Get prepared,” Scott said at a news conference. “Learn your evacuation zone. Listen to your own sailors. This storm has the potential to devastate this state. You have to take this seriously.”

Near-record winds

Irma has become one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic, and is threatening to slam into Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with “potentially catastrophic” force on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Irma was churning west Tuesday evening in the Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph — well above the 157 mph threshold for a Category 5, the hurricane center said.
The last storm with sustained winds that strong in the Atlantic was 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, which weakened before it brushed Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, turned right and crossed Florida. Irma’s Atlantic wind speeds are behind only 1980’s Hurricane Allen, which peaked at 190 mph at sea.

Why Irma could be especially intense

Irma is a classic “Cape Verde hurricane,” meaning it formed in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands (now known as the Cabo Verde Islands), before tracking all the way across the Atlantic, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.
And Cape Verde storms frequently become some of the largest and most intense hurricanes. Examples include Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Ivan.

Another storm, Tropical Storm Jose, is 1,500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.

“Interests in the Leeward Islands should track the future progress of Jose,” the hurricane center said.

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Yes, Donald Trump really did look into the sky during the solar eclipse – Trending Stuff

Yes, Donald Trump really did look into the sky during the solar eclipse – Trending Stuff

(CNN)There’s literally only 1 rule with eclipses: Don’t examine the sun during them.

And, again:

And, because three times is a charm:

That’s Donald John Trump on the White House South Portico, seemingly looking directly into the sun. At the peak of this solar eclipse. Without on any kind of protective eyewear.

This, from the White House pool report of this moment filed by the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs is, um, amazing: “At approximately 2:39, the President initially gesticulated to the crowd below and pointed at the sky. As he did so, one of the White House aides standing beneath the Blue Room Balcony shouted ‘do not look.’”

Trump did, eventually, wear protective eyewear — as did first lady Melania Trump.

What Their son Barron got in on the action too:

Heck, even “beleaguered” Attorney General Jeff Sessions got on the protective eyewear bandwagon (alongside Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross)!

Just if Trump is still President when the upcoming solar eclipse comes in 2024 — it could happen! — here. Titled “Can you really go blind staring at a solar eclipse? ,” CNN’s Ashley Strickland writes:

“The retina may translate light into an electrical impulse that the brain understands, but one thing it can’t translate to your brain is pain. So even if you’re excited about the eclipse and think one brief glimpse at the sun before it completely hides behind the moon is worth it — it’s not. There’s no internal trigger that is going to let you know that you’ve looked at the sun for too long. Any amount of looking at it is too long.

Even the smallest amount of exposure can cause blurry vision or temporary blindness. The problem is, you won’t know whether it’s temporary.”

Remember, Mr. President: “Any amount of looking is too long.”

CORRECTION: This story was updated to properly identify where the President was standing.

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Joel Osteen says church has opened doors to flood victims – Trending Stuff

Joel Osteen says church has opened doors to flood victims – Trending Stuff

(CNN)The megachurch led by Joel Osteen is receiving people who need shelter and also helping evacuees with supplies such as baby food, formula and other shelter needs, the church announced via Twitter Tuesday morning.

Lakewood Church was under fire after apparently not opening up the church to flood victims. The church disputed online criticism, stating “we are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity.”

“Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter,” Osteen tweeted Tuesday, referencing his wife who is also Lakewood’s co-pastor.

On Monday, a few hundred people arrived to the church in buses, Donald Iloff, church spokesman, told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Lakewood Church, which was founded by Osteen’s father in the 1950s, had posted on social media Monday that the venue was “inaccessible due to severe flooding” following Hurricane Harvey, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Photos provided by the church showed standing water in hallways and the parking lot. The church already had a flood wall in place following a previous storm. The church occupies the former home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

Iloff said there were safety concerns about potential flooding. The bottom floor of the building flooded eight feet during Tropical Storm Alison in 2001 and they had safety concerns of what might happen if they sheltered people in the building, he said.

“When it floods, it floods in a torrent. And it floods quickly. We installed flood gates, but you know, you have to have a lot of faith in those if you are going to put a lot of people into the building.

“So we had concerns, you know. From the very beginning as far as the safety of people in this building and that was too great a concern for us,” he said.

Many on social media had blasted the church for not taking people in.

“The Twitter critics don’t determine who we are or what we do,” Iloff said in response to the scathing social media’s opinions. “We’re going to act as we should act. They have nothing to do with our mission.”

The church also disputed the backlash.

“We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need,” according to a statement from Lakewood Church.

At least several hundred people can be housed on the second floor of the church, Iloff said.

The area around the church flooded on Monday, Iloff said, and at least three people had come that day to the church for help before they were taken to the George Brown Convention Center.

Houston officials continue to field calls from flood-stranded Texans. Thousands have been rescued since Harvey made landfall on Friday, many are still waiting to picked up.

Nine people have died as a result of the catastrophic storm.

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NAACP issues its first statewide travel advisory, for Missouri – Trending Stuff

NAACP issues its first statewide travel advisory, for Missouri – Trending Stuff

(CNN)The NAACP is sending a powerful message to people of color traveling through Missouri: Go at your own risk.

The organization is circulating a travel advisory after the state passed a law that Missouri’s NAACP conference says allows for legal discrimination. The warning cites several discriminatory incidents in Missouri, included as examples of “looming danger” from the state.

The NAACP claims this is the first travel advisory ever issued from the organization, at the state or national level. The Missouri conference published the advisory in June, and it had been recognized in the NAACP’s annual conference last week.

“Individuals traveling in the state are advised to travel with extreme CAUTION,” the advisory warns. “Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri.”
The advisory was issued after Senate Bill 43 — making it more difficult for employees to prove their protected class, such as race or sex, directly led to unlawful discrimination — passed through the Missouri Legislature in June. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed it into law soon after.

Greitens and other supporters of the bill have said it puts Missouri’s standards for lawsuits in line with other states.

But that’s not how the NAACP sees it. The Missouri NAACP State Conference called the legislation a “Jim Crow Bill.”

“This does not follow the morals of Missouri,” Conference President Rod Chapel Jr. told CNN. “I hate to see Missouri get dragged down deep past the notion of treating people with dignity.”

There are other instances of discrimination in the country that might have elicited an advisory before this, several of which are listed in the warning. One of them are racist incidents reported in the University of Missouri that prompted protests throughout campus in 2015, as well as the state attorney general’s annual report that found black drivers were stopped by police at a rate 75% higher than white drivers.

Chapel said he met with Greitens about the Senate bill many times. After the bill passed, he said they had a “fair and frank discussion” about what the legislation would do. At a meeting, Chapel said he attracted faith leaders to speak with the governor about morality and theology.

“Ultimately, none of that worked,” Chapel said.

Neither the governor’s office nor the Missouri Division of Tourism responded to multiple requests for comment.

What does it mean?

The advisory doesn’t tell people to not go to Missouri. Instead, the NAACP wants minority travelers to know about what it says are risks.

“People should tell their relatives if they have to travel through the state, they need to be aware,” Chapel said. “They should have bail money, you never know.”

In the advisory, the NAACP urges individuals to “warn your families, co-workers and anyone visiting Missouri to beware of the safety concerns with travel in Missouri.” These concerns could include unnecessary search and seizures and arrest that is potential.

Traditionally, travel advisories are released ahead of severe weather or political disruptions. The State Department publishes international travel warnings and alerts for countries with continuing violence, frequent terrorist attacks or increased health risks, to name a few.
The ACLU has issued travel advisories similar to the NAACP’s previously: one for Arizona in 2010, and one in Texas earlier this season. The two advisories were circulated after state legislation.

What will it take for the advisory to be lifted?

After SB43 passed through the Legislature, the first travel advisory was supposed to continue until August 28, when the bill would potentially go into effect.

That changed when Greitens signed it into law.

“We see this travel advisory remaining in effect for the foreseeable future,” Chapel said.

He wishes to see several changes in the country prior to the advisory is lifted, starting with the repeal of the law that prompted the advisory in the first place.

Chapel also said there must be a plan in place on how the state is going to address people of color being stopped by police at a disproportionate rate. He wants to see a change in Missouri prosecutors handle hate crimes.

“We need to have some basic ground rules for how human beings treat each other,” Chapel said.

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Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio – Trending Stuff

Trump pardons former Sheriff Joe Arpaio – Trending Stuff

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio on Friday, sparing the controversial former Arizona sheriff a prison sentence after he was convicted of criminal contempt linked to his hard-line tactics going after undocumented immigrants.

The movement drew outcry from civil rights groups, which accuse Arpaio of violating the Constitution in his crackdown on illegal immigration.

During last year’s presidential campaign, Arpaio was a vocal proponent of Trump’s candidacy, and used his national notoriety to advocate for Trump’s similarly aggressive stance on border security and deportations.

In a brief statement released late Friday evening, the White House praised Arpaio’s career.

“Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the announcement read. “Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is (a) worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”

“Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department! ,” he posted.

Arpaio continued: “I am humbled and incredibly grateful to President Trump. I look fwd to putting this chapter behind me and helping to #MAGA”

He said in a Fox News interview Friday that he would hold a news conference early next week to discuss the pardon.

Trump did not consult Justice Department

The pardon is the first of Trump’s presidency, though he did not follow his predecessors’ practice of consulting with lawyers at the Justice Department before announcing his decision.

“This is the President’s pardon,” a source with knowledge of the decision said.

Under the Constitution, Trump is permitted wide leeway in issuing pardons. There are no requirements for consultation within the administration before a decision is announced.

“The President exercised his legal authority and we respect his decision,” said Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman.

Trump hinted at his decision earlier this week during a raucous campaign rally in Phoenix.

“So was Sheriff Joe was convicted for doing his job?” Trump queried his supporters. “I’ll make a prediction. I think he is going to be just fine, OK.”

Trump tweeted Friday night about his decision: “I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a complete Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!”

Groups criticize decision

Arpaio, who was sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, until last year, was found guilty of criminal contempt last month for disregarding a court order in a racial-profiling case. His sentencing had been scheduled for October 5.
“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,” US District Judge Susan Bolton wrote in a July 31 order finding him guilty.

However, civil rights groups and others pushed back against the possibility of Arpaio’s pardon, and slammed the decision on Friday.

“Once again, the president has acted in support of illegal, failed immigration enforcement practices that target people of color and have been struck down by the courts,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a statement. “His pardon of Arpaio is a presidential endorsement of racism.”

“Joe Arpaio illegally targeted and terrorized Latino families. He was voted by our community . Donald Trump can not change that,” wrote Greg Stanton, the Democratic mayor of Phoenix, which sits in Maricopa County.

Arizona Sen. John McCain said in a statement on the pardon that “nobody is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their devotion to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold.”

“Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in breach of a judge’s orders,” McCain said. “The President has the authority to create this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”

Arizona’s other Republican senator, Jeff Flake, wrote on Twitter that he would have “preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.”

Trump has openly feuded with Flake over the past week.

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, whom Trump fired in January after she refused to defend his controversial Muslim travel ban, also slammed the pardon.

“With his pardon pencil, POTUS reveals his own contempt for our Constitution, our courts, and our founding principles of justice and equality,” Yates wrote on Twitter.

Former sheriff had questioned Obama birth record

Arpaio, who has called himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” was an early Trump supporter. Like Trump, he helped fuel unfounded allegations that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He used frequent appearances on television to establish a national platform for his views on immigration, which relied on tough enforcement measures and racial profiling.

He became known for his treatment of those he held in an outdoor jail known as “Tent City,” where he made people wear pink panties and work in chain gangs.

Trump’s pardon of Arpaio is the earliest a president has pardoned somebody in his first term since George H.W. Bush pardoned nine individuals on August 14, 1989.

Bill Clinton waited almost two years before issuing a pardon. George W. Bush and Barack Obama both waited about a year.

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The email Hillary Clinton’s pastor sent her the day after the election – Trending Stuff

The email Hillary Clinton’s pastor sent her the day after the election – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Since this piece was published, CNN has learned that the Rev. Bill Shillady’s email to Hillary Clinton, collected in a new book, copies portions of a blog post written by another pastor. For more on that story see here:

It is Friday, but Sunday is coming. This isn’t the devotional I had expected to write. This isn’t the devotional this day, you want to receive. While Good Friday may be the starkest representation of a Friday that we have, life is full of a lot of Fridays.

For the disciples and Christ’s followers in the first century, Good Friday represented the day that everything fell apart. All was lost. The momentum and expect of a man claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah who was supposed to change everything, had been implemented.

Even though Jesus told his followers three days after the temple would be restored, they had no idea of what that Sunday would be. They betrayed, denied, mourned, fled and hid. They did just about everything BUT feel great about Friday and their own circumstances.

For us, Friday is the phone call from the doctor that the cancer is back. It is the news that you’ve lost your job. It is a friend’s betrayal, the loss of someone dear. Friday is all hope is lost and the day that it all falls apart. All of us have Fridays. But, as the saying goes, “Sunday’s coming!”

Today, you are experiencing a Friday. Your Friday is exactly what happened in the last few weeks and last night at the loss. However, Sunday is coming!

Jesus finished the excruciating task of giving up his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. It was his faith and belief in his heavenly Father, that gave him peace and the grace to submit to Friday. While death had apparently won, Jesus knew. When he said, “It is finished,” it wasn’t meant to be a statement of concession. It was a declaration that a day was on the way.

Friday is finished. Sunday is coming. Death is going to be shattered. Hope is going to be restored. But we must live through the darkness and seeming hopelessness of Friday.

You know one of my favorite expressions is “God doesn’t close one door without opening another, but it can be hell in the hallway.” My sister Hillary. You, our state is undergoing a Friday. Our hope is that Sunday is coming. However, it may be hell for some time.

Categories CNN