** FILE **Former White House aide I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, right, is escorted to a waiting vehicle with his attorney, Theodore Well, left, outside federal Court in Washington, Thursday, June 14, 2007. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Anonymous sources within the Trump administration are anonymously reporting that President Trump has signed off on a pardon of Scooter Libby. Put on your raincoats and grab an umbrella because the air is going to be full of skull fragments, brain matter, and bodily fluids as heads explode across the nation’s newsrooms.
Libby, you’ll recall, was Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and was caught up in another investigation by another special prosecutor who saw his job as hanging scalps from the lodgepole rather than seeking justice or acting with proportionality. Libby was swept up in an investigation that never should have happened, to wit, that of a “leak” of the “identity” of a “covert” CIA analyst working in Washington, DC, who also happened to be a progressive activist who was married to another progressive activist. The real leaker, Colin Powell’s deputy, Richard Armitage, was never charged. Libby was convicted of his memory conflicting with the memories of others. President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence to keep him from serving prison time, but, in a singular act of gutlessness, refused to pardon him.
This is how the New York Times frames the issue.
Mr. Libby, who goes by Scooter, was convicted of four felonies in 2007 for perjury before a grand jury, lying to F.B.I. investigators and obstruction of justice during an investigation into the disclosure of the work of Valerie Plame Wilson, a C.I.A. officer. President George W. Bush commuted Mr. Libby’s 30-month prison sentence but refused to grant him a full pardon despite the strenuous requests of Mr. Cheney, a decision that soured the relationship between the two men.
A pardon of Mr. Libby would paradoxically put Mr. Trump in the position of absolving one of the chief architects of the Iraq war, which Mr. Trump has denounced as a catastrophic miscalculation. It would also mean he was forgiving a former official who was convicted in a case involving leaks despite Mr. Trump’s repeated inveighing against those who disclose information to reporters.
So hypocrisy. Just to be clear, not agreeing with someone’s professional and political decisions is no reason to see them unjustly convicted. And the case “involved” a single leak, the source of that leak was known almost immediately and was never charged with a crime because no crime had been committed.
Probably two things. First, John Bolton, who has long agitated for a pardon is now National Security Adviser. He now has access to the Oval Office. Second, Trump has long expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment of Mike Flynn and he’s known to be furious that Michael Cohen’s residence and office were raided by the FBI. My speculation is that Scooter Libby’s pardon is a foreshadowing of what is coming in the next few weeks.
If Trump pardons Libby, will be acting in case where special counsel Fitzgerald did not venture beyond core case, as Mueller has, but stretched out probe for years, even though he knew culprit at start. https://t.co/QOFnwpxuGG
— Byron York (@ByronYork) April 13, 2018