President Trump reportedly promised the head of Customs and Border Protection that he would pardon him if he were sent to jail for violating immigration law.
Trump made the remark during his visit to the border at Calexico, California, a week ago, CNN’s Jake Tapper reported Friday.
According to the bombshell report, the president told border agents “to block asylum seekers from entering the US contrary to US law, the President also told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that if he were sent to jail as a result of blocking those migrants from entering the US, the President would grant him a pardon,” a senior administration officials told CNN.
Two officials briefed on the exchange say the President told McAleenan, since named the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, that he “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying US entry to migrants,” as one of the officials paraphrased.
In response to the alarming report, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted: “Dear @realDonaldTrump: Dude, you can’t tell a federal employees to violate the law and then say you will issue a pardon. That’s the kind of stuff that can get you impeached. Also, why are you trying to eliminate pre-existing conditions health care coverage?”
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Dude, you can't tell a federal employees to violate the law and then say you will issue a pardon. That's the kind of stuff that can get you impeached.
Also, why are you trying to eliminate pre-existing conditions health care coverage? https://t.co/DXbesW0xUm
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 12, 2019
It was reported earlier this week that during the visit to the border, Trump told CBP agents to block migrants from entering the U.S., a violation of federal laws and court orders.
Sources told CNN on Monday that Trump told agents that if a judge ordered them to let migrants in, they should say: “Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.”
A Homeland Security spokesman told CNN: “At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”