Trump Pardons Scooter Libby

Update: In what some may see a swipe at former FBI Director Comey, The White House has just confirmed that President Trump has pardoned "Scooter" Lewis Libby.

Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding the Pardon of I. "Scooter" Lewis Libby

Today, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) to I. "Scooter Lewis Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, for convictions stemming from a 2007 trial. President George W. Bush commuted Mr. Libby's sentence shortly after his conviction. Mr. Libby, nevertheless, paid a $250,000 fine, performed 400 hours of community service, and served two years of probation.

In 2015, one of the key witnesses against Mr. Libby recanted her testimony, stating publicly that she believes the prosecutor withheld relevant information from her during interviews that would have altered significantly what she said. The next year, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals unanimously reinstated Mr. Libby to the bar, reauthorizing him to practice law. The Court agreed with the District of Columbia Disciplinary Counsel, who stated that Mr. Libby had presented "credible evidence" in support of his innocence, including evidence that a key prosecution witness had “changed her recollection of the events in question.”

Before his conviction, Mr. Libby had rendered more than a decade of honorable service to the Nation as a public servant at the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the White House. His record since his conviction is similarly unblemished, and he continues to be held in high regard by his colleagues and peers.

In light of these facts, the President believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon. "I don't know Mr. Libby," said President Trump, "but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life."

This action could well be a side jab at Comey, as he was the deputy attorney general who assigned Patrick J. Fitzgerald, a U.S. attorney from Chicago, as the special counsel.

No one was ever charged for outing Plame, but Libby was charged with federal obstruction of justice and perjury charges for lying to investigators.

And as Joe diGenova told the Daily Caller:

“Comey and Fitzgerald tried to frame Scooter Libby, and they did, but then they didn’t get it done. And then of course that idiot George W. Bush didn’t give him a pardon.”

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, National Security Advisor John Bolton has barely been working in the West Wing for a week, but already his influence is being strongly felt.

In addition to pushing out a handful of security advisors who had been brought in either by his predecessor, HR McMaster or former President Barack Obama, Bolton has apparently convinced President Trump to consider issuing a full pardon to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby - who famously took the fall for the Valerie Plame scandal following an investigation by a special prosecutor who many of Libby's allies have accused of overreaching (sound familiar?).

Libby was convicted on four felony counts in 2007 for perjury before a grand jury, lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice. George W Bush commuted Libby's 30-month prison sentence, but refused to offer a full pardon - a decision that strained Bush's relationship with his Vice President, Dick Cheney, per the New York Times.

Libby

Pardoning Libby has long been a priority for conservatives - particularly the neoconservatives like Bolton who helped push the War in Iraq on the American people. Though such a pardon would put Trump in a potentially awkward position: Absolving one of the chief architects of the War in Iraq.

Some of the president's critics have accused him of considering the Libby pardon to send a message to Manafort and other Trump associates who've been indicted by Mueller: If you stay loyal and refuse to turn on your boss, you will be protected.

Libby, who was not the first person to disclose Plame's identity to reporters, has long insisted that his conviction stemmed from an innocent discrepancy between his memory and the memories of other witnesses.

The Plame leak, which ultimately set in motion the events that would lead to Libby's conviction, was purportedly a response to Plame's husband, diplomat Joe Wilson, who had published an op-ed in the New York Times suggesting that Vice President Dick Cheney had ignored evidence that contradicted the administration's view that Saddam Hussein possessed a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Libby’s prosecution became a symbol of the polarizing politics of the Iraq war during the Bush administration. Ms. Wilson’s husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, was a former diplomat who wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times in 2003 implying that Mr. Cheney ignored evidence that argued against the conclusion that Iraq was actively seeking to build nuclear weapons.

To undercut Mr. Wilson’s criticism, administration officials told reporters that he had been sent on a fact-finding mission to Niger because his wife worked for the C.I.A., not at the behest of Mr. Cheney. But federal law bars the disclosure of the identities of C.I.A. officials in certain circumstances and the leak prompted a special prosecutor investigation.

Charged with lying to investigators about his interactions with journalists, Mr. Libby insisted he simply remembered events differently. But his version of events clashed with the testimony of eight other people, including fellow administration officials, and a jury convicted him. Mr. Bush decided that the prison sentence was “excessive,” but he said he would not substitute his judgment for that of the jury when it came to the question of Mr. Libby’s guilt.

Libby's defenders have argued that the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, overstepped by prosecuting Libby, who was not the first administration official to reveal Wilson's true identity to a reporter.

Mr. Libby’s advocates argued that Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, went too far because he had already discovered that the first administration official to disclose Ms. Wilson’s identity to a journalist was Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state in Mr. Bush’s first term, who was not charged. They also argued that Ms. Wilson was not undercover at the time and her employment was well known. Ms. Wilson has denied that she recommended her husband for the mission to Niger and said her career as a C.I.A. official was “over in an instant” once her identity was leaked.

While Libby served no jail time, New York Times reporter Judith Miller ultimately served nearly three months in prison for refusing to give up Libby's identity to investigators.

The case tested the limits of journalistic independence. Judith Miller, then a reporter for The Times, went to prison for 85 days rather than disclose that Mr. Libby had discussed Ms. Wilson with her. She was freed after Mr. Libby released her from any promise of confidentiality.

The issue became a major point of contention between Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney in the last days of the administration in late 2008 and early 2009. Mr. Cheney repeatedly pressed Mr. Bush to go beyond his commutation and issue a full pardon, bringing it up so often that the president grew irritated by the matter.

Contrary to the popular perception, President Trump has actually been very judicious with the use of his pardon power. As the NYT points out, Trump has issues only two pardons and commuted one sentence in nearly 15 months in office. That's roughly in line with his predecessors, Barack Obama, Bush and Bill Clinton.

Comments

exi1ed0ne Klassenfeind Fri, 04/13/2018 - 12:38 Permalink

In a game with no upside, I'll vote for disruption every time.  At some point the disruption will go so far sideways eventually this motherfucker will burn down so we can start over.  So far this cycle has been beyond my wildest imaginings.  If he drains the swamp - win.  If he does nothing but be Trump and causes half of the country to lose their minds - entertaining win.  

In reply to by Klassenfeind

Itdoesntmatter exi1ed0ne Fri, 04/13/2018 - 14:06 Permalink

you know what's wrong with your thesis?  That when the fucker burns down, it won't hurt the rich, the fuckin dickheads in power republican or democrat.  It will hurt joe six pack, living in the city or the suburbs, and create gangs of wolves in the forest with guns....people seriously need to grow up...Government is fucked, but this administration is fucking bizarro.

In reply to by exi1ed0ne

exi1ed0ne Itdoesntmatter Fri, 04/13/2018 - 15:16 Permalink

When I said burn down, I did't mean some cozy little ringfenced blaze that the insulated can sip champaigne and laugh at the proles rolling in the dirt.  I ment a conflaguration that takes it all.  The powerstructure that has been permanently in place since WW1 needs to go at all costs.  Borders need to be redrawn, people need to rediscover their strength, and the institutions that are holding humanity back through fear and dependancy need to be ground in the dust.

There are no minorly uncomfortable, but ultimately superficial, changes that will fix things.  This may be a failure of imagination on my part, but I doubt it.

In reply to by Itdoesntmatter

LittleGreenMan Klassenfeind Fri, 04/13/2018 - 13:53 Permalink

Give him time.  How long would it take you to dismantle this F'ing mess?  And if you actually want to put people in Orange Jumpsuits, rather than just kicking them out, that takes even more time.

A recent statement by Trump:

“From the day I took the oath of office, I’ve been fighting to drain the swamp. And sometimes, it may not look like it, but, believe me, we are draining the swamp.”

I've waited a long time for a president who is possibly NOT a puppet of the Deep State, and how the F do you know what it would actually take to move the needle against an organization that has been developed over decades if not centuries?

My fingers are still crossed, and I'm not bailing on him until I'm 1000% sure he's not really on our side.

In reply to by Klassenfeind

nevertheless Klassenfeind Fri, 04/13/2018 - 14:49 Permalink

Right on the money, though I believe most of the strongest Chump supporters on line are indeed Zionist hasbara paid trolls. It is a fact that thousands of paid trolls police the internet to push Zionist memes, such as Chump is an "American firster"...

 

Trump is a product of Jew York city, the most anti America city in America. Yet that fat turd has been sold to us as a "patriot". Chump often says the right things, giving his controlled opposition media, food to feed the masses. Because Chump SAYS he wants to get out of Syria, that is all the media needs to run with this lie, ignoring the fact that the military buildup has been going on, secretly behind the scenes, even as Chump was pushing that lie. But the media does not look at what Chump does, just at what he says...Chump wants to befriend Russia, while he puts a Zionist trash bag like Nikki Haily into the UN, a total Russiaphobe.

 

This is all for show, but I will admit it is hard to guess these monsters real goal with Trump, but with all the energy they are expending painting him as a patriot, it is going to be something big. 

In reply to by Klassenfeind

swmnguy J S Bach Fri, 04/13/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

Shrewd move by Trump.  He's doing the laundry for Bolton and the rest of the Cheney troglodytes.  Trump needs some ruthless allies so he's trying to buy them, which is all he can do.

This is also a signal to Cohen, that if Cohen keeps sheltering Trump by stonewalling Mueller, Trump will bail himself out by pardoning Cohen.  Mueller and New York State now have all the evidence there is of what Cohen has done for Trump over the past decade, and just from what is already in the open, it's going to be bad and dirty.  Cohen wasn't just paying off hookers to keep quiet, not that he did that competently either.  Mueller and New York State will now have the money trails.  Trump hasn't been able to get money from legitimate sources since his Plaza Hotel debacle, and absolutely not since his resorts and casinos businesses bankrupted in 2008-2009.  Yet he's not out of money.

I'm guessing Mueller and Felix Sater have had a number of conversations as well.

Trump's in full chew-your-leg-off-to-get-out-of-the-trap mode now.  To manipulate him, all anyone'll have to do is suggest a certain course of action will help hold off Mueller.  If I ran into Trump, I'd tell how having Cohen give me a million bucks or the Ambassadorship to Tahiti would convince Mueller to drop everything.  

And the recent Cohen revelations start to explain why nobody in the GOP primaries, and none of Hillary's team ever made much of Trump's tawdry connections and unseemly financial associations.  I'm betting everybody in a position to know was being paid off, and threatened with lawsuits and worse by this mean-acting Barry Zuckercorn.  If Mueller were to flip Cohen, that's the ballgame.  Trump's trying to buy Cohen's continued collaboration with the only real currency Trump has left.

In reply to by J S Bach

Brazen Heist Rex Andrus Fri, 04/13/2018 - 12:09 Permalink

Pardoning this scum sucking Jew who revealed the identity of Valerie Plame who questioned the Niger yellowcake Neocunt narratives to justify the illegal war in Iraq so the Rothschild oil empire can enrich itself even more and bring Iraq under the umbrella of Erertz Israel is yet more evidence of the Zionist infestation of the US political circus, and Trumpy is their kosher goy toy.

In reply to by Rex Andrus