Jaw-dropping excerpt from Trump’s roundtable with county sheriffs

White House transcript:

SHERIFF AUBREY: … And the other thing is asset forfeiture. People want to say we’re taking money and without due process. That’s not true. We take money from dope dealers–

THE PRESIDENT: So you’re saying — okay, so you’re saying the asset-taking you used to do, and it had an impact, right? And you’re not allowed to do it now?

SHERIFF AUBREY: No, they have curtailed it a little bit. And I’m sure the folks are–

THE PRESIDENT: And that’s for legal reasons? Or just political reasons?

SHERIFF AUBREY: They make it political and they make it — they make up stories. All you’ve got to do–

THE PRESIDENT: I’d like to look into that, okay? There’s no reason for that. Dana, do you think there’s any reason for that? Are you aware of this?

MR. BOENTE: I am aware of that, Mr. President. And we have gotten a great deal of criticism for the asset forfeiture, which, as the sheriff said, frequently was taking narcotics proceeds and other proceeds of crime. But there has been a lot of pressure on the department to curtail some of that.

THE PRESIDENT: So what do you do? So in other words, they have a huge stash of drugs. So in the old days, you take it. Now we’re criticized if we take it. So who gets it? What happens to it? Tell them to keep it?

MR. BOENTE: Well, we have what is called equitable sharing, where we usually share it with the local police departments for whatever portion that they worked on the case. And it was a very successful program, very popular with the law enforcement community.

THE PRESIDENT: And now what happens?

MR. BOENTE: Well, now we’ve just been given — there’s been a lot of pressure not to forfeit, in some cases.

THE PRESIDENT: Who would want that pressure, other than, like, bad people, right? But who would want that pressure? You would think they’d want this stuff taken away.

SHERIFF AUBREY: You have to be careful how you speak, I guess. But a lot of pressure is coming out of — was coming out of Congress. I don’t know that that will continue now or not.

THE PRESIDENT: I think less so. I think Congress is going to get beat up really badly by the voters because they’ve let this happen. And I think badly. I think you’ll be back in shape. So, asset forfeiture, we’re going to go back on, okay?

SHERIFF AUBREY: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: I mean, how simple can anything be? You all agree with that, I assume, right?

PARTICIPANT: Absolutely, yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you even understand the other side of it?

PARTICIPANT: No.

THE PRESIDENT: It’s like some things–

PARTICIPANT: No sense.

THE PRESIDENT: Sort of like the Iran deal. Nobody even understands how a thing like that could have happened. It does nothing.

PARTICIPANT: You shouldn’t be allowed to profit from the illegal proceeds. So if you’re going to sell narcotics and sell illegal drugs in our country, you also cannot profit from that. And so we seize those profits.

THE PRESIDENT: So do we need any legislation or any executive orders for that, would you say, Dana — to put that back in business?

MR. BOENTE: I don’t think we need any executive orders. We just need kind of some encouragement to move in that direction.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Good. You’re in charge. (Laughter.) I love that answer, because it’s better than signing executive orders and then these people take it and they make it look so terrible — “oh, it’s so terrible.” I love it. You’re encouraged.

PARTICIPANT: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Asset forfeiture. You’re encouraged. Okay. Yes, sir.

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2 Responses to Jaw-dropping excerpt from Trump’s roundtable with county sheriffs

  1. Dan Draney says:

    Unfortunately, this is also an area where Jeff Sessions is on the wrong side. Obviously, DJT had never encountered the issue before (or pretended he hadn’t), so one might hope for improvement once the downside of seizing assets of people not charged with any crime is explained by someone not grabbing the money.

    • songwroter says:

      First Trump will need to figure out that asset forfeiture does not pertain to the disposition of seized drugs, which is what he seems to have concluded–in part because he kept interrupting. (As if ignorance of the topic isn’t horrifying enough.) And yes, that was the best argument against Sessions, and I’m not even sure it came up in the confirmation hearing. The other stuff was pretty much grandstanding BS.

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