Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Judith Miller: Scooter Libby pardon is 'long overdue'

Saul Loeb  AFP via Getty Images Saul Loeb AFP via Getty Images
Eugene Bates | 14 April, 2018, 22:12

President Donald Trump Friday pardoned Scooter Libby, former Chief-of-Staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney, who was convicted of perjury in 2007.

The White House also said that Libby's past government service and his record since his conviction have been "similarly unblemished, and he continues to be held in high regard by his colleagues and peers".

Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) to I.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, was convicted of obstruction and lying to investigators.

Libby was found responsible in 2007 of lying and obstructing an investigation into who blew the cover of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame. Another twist is that the special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, was appointed by James Comey, deputy attorney general at the time.

Earlier on Friday, Trump took to Twitter to blast former FBI Director James Comey as a "leaker" and a "liar".

Trump released a statement through the White House that he did not personally know Libby but that the man had been treated unfairly. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, but former President George W. Bush commuted that sentence, stopping short of giving him a full-fledged pardon. The next year, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals unanimously reinstated Mr. Libby to the bar, reauthorizing him to practice law.

It's unclear whether Trump is sending a message or not to individuals involved in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. Mr. Libby, also disbarred, was forced to wait more than a decade for justice to prevail. "Mr. Trump has repeatedly complained that the special counsel investigation into possible cooperation between his campaign and Russian Federation in 2016 has gone too far and amounts to an unfair "witch hunt," The New York Times said. Trump did not care that the Arpaio pardon was condemned even by Republicans, for it showcased that he had more authority than the party itself.

Flynn, Manafort, Kushner and others now know that they don't have to worry about not answering truthfully special counsel Robert Mueller's questions because a Trump pardon will prevent them from spending any time in jail.

Ms Plame said a pardon would send a message "that you can commit crimes against national security and you will be pardoned". Last year, he pardoned Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff who campaigned for Trump, less than a month after he was convicted of criminal contempt in a case involving racial profiling. "I'm sure Libby's happy to have it, but the audience here is [former Trump campaign chairman] Paul Manafort, [Trump's personal lawyer] Michael Cohen, and a slew of other people who can incriminate Trump".

In summation to the jury, notes the Journal, Mr. Fitzgerald had called Ms. Millers testimony “critical.” Ms. Miller, the Journal adds, “says that the prosecutor twice told her lawyer that he would drop all charges against Mr. Libby if he offered evidence against Mr. Cheney.

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