On Feb. 7, President Donald Trump sat down with county sheriffs from around the country for a listening session at the White House. During their time together, Trump called upon one Texas sheriff to ruin the career of a Texas state senator.
“On asset forfeiture, we’ve got a state senator in Texas that was talking about introducing legislation to require conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money,” Rockwall County, Texas, Sheriff Harold Eavenson told Trump, notes Politico.
"Civil forfeiture allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime," the American Civil Liberties Union writes.
The controversial policing tactic had come under some pressure to reform during the Obama administration from the Justice Department, but saw little headway.
"The federal government is still accepting property for forfeiture that is seized by state and local police on the side of the highway with no federal agent in sight or in some cases probably no federal agent within a hundred miles," Rob Johnson of the Institute for Justice told NPR in May 2016.
Yet, proponents of asset forfeiture see it as a vital tool in combating large criminal organizations.
“On asset forfeiture, we’ve got a state senator in Texas that was talking about introducing legislation to require conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money,” Eavenson continued during his White House meeting with Trump, notes Politico.
“Can you believe that?" Trump countered.
“And I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed,” Eavenson continued.
“Who is the state senator?" Trump asked. "Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.”
"I don’t know the sheriff," Democratic Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa of Texas told the Texas Tribune after hearing of the exchange between Eavanson and Trump. "I never met the sheriff. Any person who wants to discuss any piece of legislation with me can come in and talk to me."