Trump hints a possible pardon for Arpaio, ex-sheriff responds

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FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. (Source: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. (Source: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
During his rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday night, Trump said he didn't want to pardon Arpaio because he didn't want "to cause any controversy." (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) During his rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday night, Trump said he didn't want to pardon Arpaio because he didn't want "to cause any controversy." (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

President Donald Trump added more fuel to the fire surrounding a possible pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

During his rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday night, Trump said he didn't want to pardon Arpaio because he didn't want "to cause any controversy."

Trump said he was found guilty of criminal contempt for "just doing his job."

He added, "I think he's going to be just fine."

[RAW VIDEO: Trump: Sheriff Joe 'is gonna be just fine']

Arpaio told 3TV/CBS 5 on the phone that he was very humbled by the comments.

"With all the tensions that's [sic] going on, what they are trying to do to him, I felt good on his comments," Arpaio said.

[VIDEO: President Donald Trump's visit to Arizona]

He said he had no idea that Trump was going to say those comments and didn't say if he will reach out to the White House.

When asked what will happen next, Arpaio said, "Let nature take its course."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio]

Earlier on Tuesday, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee said there wouldn't be a pardon for Arpaio on Tuesday.

About three weeks ago, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for defying a judge's order to stop his immigration sweeps. He faces up to six months in prison and is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 5.

[READ MORE: GUILTY: Judge rules in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's criminal contempt case]

Trump told Fox News earlier this month he was "seriously considering" pardoning Arpaio.

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

Immigrant rights activists and others say a pardon would amount to supporting racism.

Minutes after Trump made the comments about Arpaio, protesters started chanting, "Lock Joe up!"

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

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