During a discussion on Fox News' America's Newsroom about President Donald Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who was convicted of contempt of court, Fox News contributor Byron York inaccurately compared Arpaio's pardon with former President Barack Obama's decision to commute the sentence of ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks. Obama commuted Manning's sentence, leaving her conviction in place but cutting time off of her prison sentence, which critics argued was excessively long. At the time, White House officials also made clear that the commutation was not an endorsement of leaking or of WikiLeaks. Trump, however, fully pardoned Arpaio, who was found guilty of violating a court order to halt policing practices that constituted racial profiling of Latinos. In his tweet announcing the pardon, Trump called Arpaio an “American patriot.” From the August 28 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
BYRON YORK: Well, a couple of things. Everybody who is pardoned has broken the law. That's part of pardons, and pardons are not usually seen as an endorsement of the behavior of the person. President Obama pardoned Oscar López Rivera, an FALN terrorist who was linked to bombings that killed Americans. President Obama was not endorsing --
ERIC SHAWN (CO-HOST): And Chelsea Manning, who some consider a traitor --
YORK: He pardoned Chelsea manning, and I don't believe president Obama was endorsing espionage in that case. And I don't think this has anything to do with the Russia investigation. Although, I will say on the issue of the president being above the law, you hear this a lot but if having unreviewable power to pardon anybody for any reason is not being above the law, I don't know what is. And that's just an aspect of the presidency that all presidents have actually used.