Pres. Trump will not pardon ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio during Phoenix visit

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Many people were wondering if Pres. Trump would pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio during the president's Phoenix visit Tuesday.

But it looks like that won't happen, at least right now.

A presidential staffer confirms that "no action will be taken on that front at any time today." 

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Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked on Air Force One en route to Arizona about the potential pardon.

She replied that no news would be made today on whether or not President Trump plans to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"I can tell you that there will be no discussion of that today at any point and no action will be taken on that front at any time today," Sanders said.

Arpaio says he wasn't disappointed to hear that a pardon wouldn't be issued Tuesday.

He says he wasn't expecting a pardon so soon.

President Trump has, in the past, signaled that an executive pardon could soon be on the way for the embattled former sheriff, but he may end up using the authority he has touted as his "complete power" without involving the Justice Department.

[READ MORE: Report: Trump seriously considering a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio]

CNN has learned that although the President told Fox News last week that he's "seriously considering" a pardon for Arpaio, the Trump White House has not, thus far, consulted with the Justice Department office that typically handles clemency petitions, according to a source familiar with the process.

Under the Constitution, the President enjoys broad power to pardon any federal offense on his own and is not required to go through DOJ.

But the prospect of Trump using his first presidential pardon on a political ally -- who has been in the crosshairs of repeated claims of racial profiling and discrimination for years -- has proved controversial since Trump floated the idea last week.

Arpaio, who touted himself as "America's toughest sheriff" and served the poster child for hardline immigration policies until his defeat last year, recently was convicted by a federal judge for ignoring a court order that he stop detaining people on the mere suspicion that they were undocumented immigrants. He now faces up to six months in prison and is expected to be sentenced on October 5.

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He told The New York Times in an interview over the weekend that he has not spoken to the President since around Thanksgiving, but was "honored by the potential pardon" and would accept it if offered.

[RELATED: Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he isn't seeking Trump's pardon]

[RELATED: Arpaio says he wasn't invited to Trump rally in Phoenix?]

In the typical clemency case, an applicant submits a petition to the Office of the Pardon Attorney at DOJ roughly five years after being sentenced, that office reviews the case and prepares a recommendation to the Deputy Attorney General, and then the DAG makes a recommendation to the president.

That process has not happened in Arpaio's case.

But an early commutation of a sentence without DOJ involvement in a high-profile case wouldn't be entirely without precedent.

In 2007, President George W. Bush commuted the sentence of former White House aide Scooter Libby without consulting the Justice Department.

Civil rights groups already have sounded an alarm about a potential pardon.

[RELATED: As Trump considers Arpaio pardon, critics call out president]

"Rather than taking action to unite our nation and heal the wounds he has opened, President Trump is considering using the power of his office to sow hate and division," said Vanita Gupta, former head of DOJ's civil rights division under President Barack Obama and who now leads the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

"If President Trump uses his power to pardon a discredited law enforcement official who persistently engaged in illegal racial profiling of the Latino community, it will not be a dog whistle to the so-called 'alt right' and white supremacists, but a bull horn," Gupta said.

[RELATED: Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorses Donald Trump for president]

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