‘I Never Said It Was a Joke’: CNN Panel Clashes Over Report on Trump Offering Pardon to DHS Official


A panel on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time got a little heated Friday night while discussing President Donald Trump reportedly telling then-U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan that he would pardon him if he was jailed for blocking asylum seekers.

Jim Schultz, a former White House lawyer, maintained this was something Trump said off the cuff and, most importantly, it was something he did not follow through on.

Host Chris Cuomo pushed backed on Schultz’s position, insisting Trump’s own people object to the policies he is trying to implement.

“Just hear me out about it? You know, what did we hear about him with [Secretary] Nielson,” Cuomo asked. “‘I’m going to close the border.’ ‘Don’t do that. It’s not only problematic in terms of process, it’s legally problematic.’ ‘I’m going to do it anyway.’ ‘I want to do separation of kids more than ever.’ ‘You signed an executive order saying that is over. We don’t do that anymore and then a judge enjoined us.’ ‘I want to do it anyway,’…That’s what he keeps doing, Jimmy.”

“It’s political saber-rattling, is what it is,” Schultz replied. “It’s political saber rattling. We can argue all day whether it’s the right tone or whether it’s the right thing to say, but the bottom line is that’s not tyrannical or it’s not violating the Constitution. What he is doing is political saber-rattling to get folks to the table to try to deal with this issue.”

CNN analyst Asha Rangappa said if it were the case, it does not make anyone feel any better.

“He does not respect the law and Jim, I don’t see how as a lawyer, as a member of this profession that you can dismiss this as being an off the cuff or a joke. If you’re a heart surgeon, you know what, you don’t joke about cutting the wrong artery during surgery,”  Rangappa said.

“I never said joke, I never said it was a joke. Do you know what’s a joke? The fact that Congress hasn’t come to the table with anything of any use as it relates to immigration,” Schultz shot back as the debate continued on.

Watch above, via CNN.

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Julio has previously written for Independent Journal Review. He is currently a Military/Veterans Contributor for Townhall.com and serving in the Marine Corps Reserves.