The Daily Showdown
On Friday, apparently to capitalize on the high "ratings" from Hurricane Harvey, President Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. "To understand why both Democrats and many Republicans have condemned this pardon, you need to understand the man who Trump gave the pardon to," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show, and he ran through some lowlights of Arpaio's long career. Arpaio got famous as a hardline opponent of illegal immigration, he said, but "it turned out that he was really just anti-being a decent human being."
After running through some of the awful things Arpaio did over his 23 years as sheriff, and the hefty legal bills he foisted on Maricopa County taxpayers — for $142 million, Noah noted, "they could have just paid Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather to punch Arpaio in the face" — he noted that Trump and Arpaio's friendship dates back to their "birther" days, when they both promoted the conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S. "You know, for a guy who's not racist, Donald Trump sure has a lot of racist friends," Noah said. "He's like the straight guy at the gym that all the gay guys hit on — maybe they know something you don't."
But there are also several important reasons "why Trump's pardon is an even bigger deal than merely condoning Arpaio's illegal actions," Noah said. "Remember how the three branches of government are supposed to be equal? Well, convicting someone of contempt is the one and only way the judicial branch can put muscle behind its decisions. So when the president of the United States steps in and pardons someone's contempt conviction, he's essentially rendering the courts powerless." That may not be an accident, he added, suggesting that Trump wasted a pardon on Arpaio, who only faced six months in jail, to show his campaign aides that thanks to Trump's "different set of laws," they don't need to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, since Trump can just pardon them. You can hear his argument for why that's probable below. (Beware the occasional NSFW language.) Peter Weber