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The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Ellen Nakashima report, citing three sources familiar with the situation, that before Sheriff Joe Arpaio's case went to court earlier this year, President Trump asked Attorney General Sessions whether it would be possible for the federal government to drop the charges.

Sessions said that would be inappropriate, per the report, so Trump "decided to let the case go to trial, and if Arpaio was convicted, he could grant clemency."

The quotes: One Trump associate said the president was "gung-ho about it," while a White House official said, "We knew the president wanted to do this for some time now and had worked to prepare for whenever the moment may come."

The case: Contempt charges for declining to stop profiling people he suspected of being illegal immigrants.

One take, from CNN's Andrew Kaczynski: "POTUS decided he'd pardon Arpaio before case even went to trial. Imagine what will happen with Flynn."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.