Things took a curious turn on CNN as the usual slate of political pundits discussed President Trump’s decision to pardon the controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Without any evidence to back it up, Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign aide and supporter, insinuated that a federal judge and the U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama colluded to go after Arpaio criminally.
The comment from Caputo came after CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin pointed out that it was a federal judge who initiated the contempt charge not the Justice Department. U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow recommended to prosecutors that they bring contempt charges. Snow found that Arpaio willfully violated his order which prohibited Arpaio’s department from unconstitutionally stopping drivers just because they suspected they were in the country illegally. Judge Snow also found that Arpaio failed to properly keep records like he was supposed to.
“If you think that the judge and the Justice Deparment weren’t communicating than you are a little naive on that part too,” Caputo insisted about why the charges against Arpaio were brought.
That quickly drew the attention of CNN host John Berman who asked Caputo if he just made the allegation that the DOJ and a federal judge colluded without any evidence. Caputo seemed to stumble a bit.
“No, that’s not what I’ve done. What I’m saying here is the judge is an Obama appointee, the Justice Department who brought this down on Arpaio was very .. ,” Caputo said trailing off.
Actually Caputo is wrong on that point too. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow, who initiated the charges, is a George W. Bush appointee. Judge Susan Bolton, who found Arpaio guilty during a trial, is also not an Obama appointee (she was appointed by Bill Clinton)
“Listen, this is all about illegal immigration and specifically illegally immigration. It is a partisan very visceral debate.. with people entrenched on both sides. Arpaio became kind of the vision of all that,” Caputo said.