Trump pardons Cheney aide Scooter Libby

14 April, 2018, 22:12 | Author: Virgil Todd
  • Mary Altaffer  AP FILE

In a statement later, Plame said Trump's comments were not based on the truth, noting that a jury heard the evidence and convicted him, and even Bush refused to pardon him.

Trump said, "Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of [Libby's] life".

Libby was convicted in connection with the investigation into the leaking of the name of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame. When former federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to investigate that unlawful disclosure, he compounded his offense by lying to FBI agents working for the special counsel.

Given the nature of Libby's crimes, Trump came under fire from critics Friday after he took to Twitter to accuse former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James B. Comey of leaking classified information and lying to Congress. "I don't know Mr. Libby", Trump said in a statement released by the White House press secretary.

Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000, but his sentence was commuted by Bush.

I hoped that President Bush might pardon Libby.

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"I chose to go back and correct the record in my own book, which I did, and when Scooter Libby was given his law license back a year and a half ago, the judge specifically cited my testimony, the recantation of my testimony, as one of the factors in his decision". But then Trump -who falsely claims to have opposed the Iraq war - scarcely needed any such persuasion to issue the pardon, which plainly has little to do with this "liar and leaker" or his supposed virtues. Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the Libby pardon was Trump's way "of sending a message to those implicated in the Russian Federation investigation: You have my back and I'll have yours". The injustice was so abject that one juror wept as the verdict was read, and two stated they hoped Mr. Libby would be pardoned. Mr. Libby, also disbarred, was forced to wait more than a decade for justice to prevail.

Consultant Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat in the House Intelligence Committee, said the Libby pardon was Trump's way "of sending a message to those involved at the Russian Federation investigation: You've my spine and that I'll have yours". House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, "This pardon sends a troubling signal to the president's allies that obstructing justice will be rewarded".

Mr. Fitzgerald, who had the classified file of Ms. Plame's service, withheld her State Department cover from Ms. Miller-and from Mr. Libby's lawyers, who had requested Ms. Plame's employment history. In August 2017, in the aftermath of an intensified Mueller probe, the Charlottesville violence, and executive branch shake-ups including the departure of Steve Bannon, Trump abruptly pardoned Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio, a brutal xenophobe who was convicted of racial profiling and who held Latinos captive in torturous conditions.

"In light of these facts, the President believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon".

NPR political reporter Jessica Taylor contributed.

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