Trump Pardons Former Cheney Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby

President Donald Trump pardoned Scooter Libby, who served as former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, on Friday.

Libby was convicted in 2007 of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice in an investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the leaking of CIA official Valerie Plame’s name to the press.

Then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey named Fitzgerald to probe the matter.

The White House statement announcing the pardon read, in part, “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 statement continued, “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.’”

“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” Trump said of his decision, “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’s convictions were on so-called process crimes stemming from the investigation itself. No one was ever charged with leaking the name, according to Politico.

Former President George W. Bush commuted Libby’s sentence shortly after the conviction, so no jail time was served; however, the 43rd president chose not to issue a pardon. Libby did pay a $250,000 fine and served two years of probation.

Karl Rove, who served as a senior aide in the Bush White House, made the case on Friday that pardoning Libby was the right thing to do.

“The day that Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed special prosecutor by James Comey, Fitzgerald knew that Valerie Plame’s name hadn’t been leaked to Robert Novak, the columnist, not by Scooter Libby and not by Karl Rove, but instead by Richard Armitage, under secretary of state,” Rove told Fox News.

Further, when Armitage leaked Plame’s name to Novak, there had been no violation of the law, because she was no longer a covert employee of the CIA, the Bush administration official said.

“Yet Fitzgerald persisted for years trying to get somebody’s pelt nailed to his wall — mine and Scooter’s and he got Scooter,” Rove stated.

Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer then asked Rove whether he thought Trump was trying to send a message about special prosecutors by pardoning Libby. Rove replied the president may be.

On Friday, Trump took some shots at Comey, tweeting he is a “proven LEAKER & LIAR.”

Further, the president wrote that the former FBI director leaked “CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted.”

Trump concluded, “It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”

Last August, the president pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of one count of misdemeanor contempt of court.

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