Booker on Trump reportedly floating pardon for border official: 'That should shake every American'

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) hammered President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE for reportedly telling the head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that he would pardon him if he were jailed for violating immigration law. 

“That should shake every American. We basically have a president telling people to break the law and that he will pardon you,” Booker, one of more than a dozen Democrats running for president, told MSNBC host Joy Reid.

“And again, we’re sitting in Newark where kids are going to prison for things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing and nobody’s pardoning them,” he said, referring to smoking marijuana. 


CNN first reported Friday that Trump made the remark to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan during a visit to the border at Calexico, Calif. McAleenan is now Trump’s pick to serve as acting Homeland Security Secretary following Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenHillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Sen. Kennedy slams acting DHS secretary for lack of coronavirus answers The ‘accidental director’ on the front line of the fight for election security MORE’s resignation.

Trump reportedly told McAleenan he ”would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying U.S. entry to migrants,” according to two anonymous officials briefed on the conversation. 

“At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesman said in a statement to The Hill. “Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.” 

It was reported earlier this week that during his trip to Calexico, Trump also urged CBP agents to block migrants from entering the U.S., which would break federal immigration laws and court orders.

Trump has doubled down on his hard-line immigration tendencies in recent weeks, threatening to close the border with Mexico, cutting off funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and overseeing a purge at the Department of Homeland Security.

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