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DC Daily: Trump pardons Arpaio; Mnuchin: debt ceiling will be raised

Posted: 7:47 AM, Aug 26, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-26 14:47:17Z

Here's what's happening in the world of politics Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017.

Trump pardons Sheriff Joe Arpaio

-- Making good on a hinted at promise in a Phoenix rally, President Donald Trump pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio late Friday, saying the pardon was "well deserved."

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!" Trump tweeted late Friday.

Arpaio quickly responded to the news - also on Twitter - to thank the president.

"Thank you [Trump] for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!" Arpaio wrote.

Trump's decision has garnered backlash from civil rights groups, who accuse Arpaio of violating the Constitution in his crackdown on illegal immigration.

Arpaio, a vocal supporter of Trump during his 2016 campaign, was convicted of criminal contempt regarding his hard-line tactics on undocumented immigrants. He was set to be sentenced in October, before the pardon was issued.

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Trump signs disaster declaration for Texas

-- As Hurricane Harvey barrelled down on Texas' coastline late Friday, federal aid was granted by President Trump.

The once-Category 4 storm was downgraded to a Category 1 storm, but still posing a threat to all those in its path with winds up to 90 miles per hour.

Trump's declaration will allow Texas to take advantage of federal dollars in response to the damage left behind by the storm.

The president is monitoring the situation from Camp David Saturday. 

"Closely monitoring #HurricaneHarvey from Camp David. We are leaving nothing to chance. City, state, and federal govs. working great together!" Trump tweeted.

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Treasury Secretary: '100 percent confident' debt ceiling will be raised

-- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he is "100 percent confident" the government will raise the federal debt ceiling.

The assurance came a day after President Trump criticized Congress on Twitter for not accomplishing the task already.

"The government intends to pay its debts and the debt ceiling will be raised," Mnuchin said, according to CNN. If the government were to default on its legal obligations, markets and the economy could suffer.

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Gorka gone from White House

-- White House counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka is no longer working for the Trump Administration.

The former Fox News correspondent left the White House, but why is unclear. Initial reports indicated that he resigned, while a later report from the White House said he did not resign, but was no longer with the administration, according to CNN.

Gorka's leave is the latest in high-profile departures from the Trump Administration after former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon stepped down last week.

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Bannon: We will never turn on Trump

-- Former White House strategist Steve Bannon vowed in an interview he would not turn on his former boss.

"We will never turn on him," Bannon said in an interview with The Economist published Friday. "But we are never going to let him take a decision that hurts him."

Bannon rejoined the far-right website, Breitbart, the same day after he was forced out of his role in the White House.

"I am an ideologue, that's why I am out," Bannon said in The Economist. "I can rally the base, have his back. The harder he pushes, the more we will be there for him."

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