President Donald Trump has pardoned former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby, who received a conviction of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice in 2007.
From The White House:
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.”
Libby received his conviction over the leak of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. He had a 30 month sentence, but President George W. Bush commuted it.
From NBC News:
Libby was convicted of one count of obstruction, two counts of perjury and one count of lying to the FBI about how he learned Plame’s identity and whom he told. Prosecutors said he learned about Plame from Cheney and others, discussed her name with reporters and, fearing prosecution, made up a story to make those discussions seem innocuous.
The trial revealed that top members of the Bush administration were eager to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence on Iraq.
The New York Times said that Libby insisted “that his conviction rested on an innocent difference in memories between him and several witnesses, not an intent to deceive investigators.” His version of the story conflicted with testimonies from eight other people and the jury convicted him.
Many conservatives believe that Libby’s conviction came as a result “of a special prosecutor run amok.” They may have a point, too. In September 2006, CNN reported that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said “that he was the source who first revealed” Plame’s identity to syndicated columnist Robert Novak in 2003:
Armitage told the CBS Evening News that he did so inadvertently.
“I feel terrible,” Armitage said. “Every day, I think, I let down the president. I let down the secretary of state. I let down my department, my family, and I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson.”
In a column published on July 14, 2003, Novak, citing two senior administration officials, noted that Plame was a CIA operative. The column was primarily about Plame’s husband, Joe Wilson, a former career diplomat and critic of the intelligence underlying the invasion of Iraq.
Novak has never revealed the original source of the information about Plame. However, he has confirmed that President Bush’s chief political strategist, Karl Rove, confirmed the information and was the second source cited in the column.
As his second term ended, “Bush mulled candidates for presidential pardons.” Cheney tried to persuade Bush to pardon Libby, but it never happened.
The commute of Libby’s sentence kept him out of prison, but the conviction remained and disbarred as a lawyer. The bar reinstated him in 2016.
But I noticed a coincidence and others picked it up as well. Former FBI Director James Comey’s book drops soon and the press has been hot on the trail. Trump even unleashed a few tweets about the former director this morning.
Yes, Comey had involvement in the Libby case. In 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the case, which meant responsibilities fell into the lap of the deputy attorney general. That man? James Comey.
Comey appointed one of his best friends, U.S. attorney from Chicago Patrick Fitzgerald, to serve as special counsel.
I don’t know. In my opinion, I think Bush should have commuted Libby. But to me it looks like Trump is doing this as another shot to Comey.DONATE
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