President Trump allegedly asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions if it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against Arpaio, The Washington Post reported.
The president was advised that it would be inappropriate for the government to drop a federal case, the Post reported.
“We knew the president wanted to do this for some time now and had worked to prepare for whenever the moment may come,” one White House official told The Post.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the report, saying “It’s only natural the president would have a discussion with administration lawyers about legal matters. This case would be no different.”
Trump's decision to pardon Arpaio sparked criticism from members in Congress. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took to Twitter and wrote ".@POTUS's pardon of Joe Arpaio, who illegally profiled Latinos, undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law."
House speaker Paul Ryan disagreed with the President's decision, his spokesman said Saturday.
"The Speaker does not agree with this decision," spokesman Doug Andres said in a statement Saturday. "Law enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon."
Schumer called Trump's decision "The definition of racism and bigotry."
Joe Arpaio ignored the courts and the rule of law in order to systematically target Latinos in AZ. The definition of racism and bigotry.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 26, 2017