U.S. President Donald Trump is promising a pardon to people who break the law while building his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a new report from the Washington Post. But White House officials insistÂ Trump is just â€œjoking,â€ an increasingly common defence of the U.S. presidentâ€™s immoral behaviour.
Government officials are reportedly concerned that current plans for the wall, which includes an expedited timeline, might encourage illegal acts. The Trump regime isnâ€™t conducting properÂ environmental impact studies for the wall and the government has begun using eminent domain laws to simply take private land by claiming the border wall is a national security issue.
â€œDonâ€™t worry, Iâ€™ll pardon you,â€ President Trump said repeatedly in private meetings, according to the Washington Post.
Trump has long made the border wall a central feature of his presidency and often tells followers that 800km of border wall will be completed before the next presidential election, which takes place on November 3, 2020.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to build 720km of border by that time, according to Axios, but most of that will be replacing barriers that already exist. Just 180km will be new wall, provided they can accomplish it at all. There has not been a single mile of new wall built yet, despite President Trump insisting otherwise at his neo-fascist style rallies.
â€œBorder Patrol insists on compressed acquisition timelines, and we consent. Their goal is to get contracts awarded, not for us to get a quality contract with a thoroughly vetted contractor,â€ one unnamed official from the Trump regime told the Washington Post.
There are a number of big hurdles for President Trumpâ€™s wall, the most significant being a lack of funds. Congress refused to give Trump the money needed for his wall, but the president declared a national emergency to get what he wanted anyway. Trump is trying to take money from the military, and U.S. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper is expected to approve the diversion of roughly $US3.6 ($5) billion for the wall sometime in the next few weeks.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President Trump was allowed to divert $US2.5 ($4) billion from a counter-narcotics program to be used on the wall. Trump had originally said that Mexico would pay for the wall.
Trump has been intimately involved in the design of the wall, according to the Washington Post, demanding that it be painted matte black and contain large spikes on the top. The design is also very high, between 5.5 metres and 9.1 metres depending on the region, so that anyone who falls from the structure sustains serious injuries or dies.
A Mexican man died from a severe head injury after trying to scale a border fence in Arizona on June 30.
President Trump is also lobbying hard internally to make sure that Fisher Industries, sometimes referred to as the Fisher Sand and Gravel Company, gets a contract to help build the wall. The companyâ€™s CEO, Tommy Fisher, often appears on Fox News, the presidentâ€™s favourite TV network.
From the Washington Post:
Trump has recently urged the Army Corps to award a contract to a company he favours, North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, though the firm has not been selected. Fisher has been aggressively pushed by Trump ally Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who briefly held up the confirmation of a Trump budget office nominee last month in an attempt to put pressure on the Army Corps.
Cramer demanded to see the contracts awarded to Fisherâ€™s competitors, lashing out at the â€œarroganceâ€ of the Army Corps in emails to military officials after he was told the bidding process involved proprietary information that could not be shared. The CEO of Fisher Industries is a major backer of Cramer and has donated to his campaigns.
Cramer visited the El Paso area Tuesday to tour border facilities and view a span of privately funded border fencing Fisher built as a showcase for what it claims are superior construction techniques. Cramer posted videos of his tour to social media. He undertook the tour â€œto see the crisis at our border firsthand.â€
Tommy Fisherâ€™s brother Micheal Fischer was previously a co-owner of the business but pleaded guilty to nine counts of felony tax fraud in 2009. Micheal is no longer with the company.
The U.S. president has the power to pardon anyone and has already used it to pardon people like Dinesh Dâ€™Souza, a right wing commentator who pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance violations, Joe Arpaio, who was charged with contempt of court for illegal â€œimmigration round-ups,â€ and Conrad Black, a friend of President Trump who went to prison for fraud and obstruction of justice.
But Trumpâ€™s defenders will no doubt continue to insist that the president is only joking about the pardons, something that weâ€™ve seen countless times during his 2.5 years in office.
Back in August of 2017, President Trump encouraged police officers to treat suspects more violently. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has since resigned, insisted at the time that the president was just joking.
In February of 2018, President Trump said it was â€œtreasonâ€ for Democrats not to applaud for him more during the State of the Union speech. A White House spokesperson said he was just joking.
In April of 2018, President Trump said heâ€™d like a 16-year term, despite being constitutionally limited to 8 years. His defenders again said he was joking.
In June of 2018, Trump said of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, â€œHe speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.â€ Again, Trump said later that he was â€œkidding.â€
And more recently, President Trump looked up to the sky and said he was the â€œchosen oneâ€ who could deal with China.
After the media reported on this incident, President Trump took issue with the coverage, insisting that he doesnâ€™t have a messiah complex.
â€œLet me tell you, you know exactly what I meant,â€ Trump told reporters at the White House on Saturday. â€œIt was sarcasm. It was joking. We were all smiling. And the question like that is just fake news. Youâ€™re just a faker.â€
The video proves that he wasnâ€™t smiling or joking. But you knew that already. Thereâ€™s nothing new going on here because Trumpâ€™s always been corrupt as the day is long. But if nobody in power holds him accountable, this is just going to keep happening.
If Trumpâ€™s lackeys break the law, heâ€™s almost certainly going to pardon them. And thereâ€™s nothing we can do about it unless Nancy Pelosi stand up to him, something she still refuses to do.