Trump pardons Cheney aide 'treated unfairly' by special counsel

14 April, 2018, 22:15 | Author: Alyssa Little
  • Mary Altaffer  AP FILE

Lewis "Scooter" Libby is a former top aide in the George W. Bush administration, serving as chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney. The pardon wasn't about Libby, and it was in Trump's interest not to disguise this reality. "I don't know Mr. Libby", Trump admitted in a statement accompanying the pardon, "but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly".

Former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson condemned Trump for pardoning Lewis "Scooter" Libby Friday. He was convicted on multiple counts for lying to the FBI and obstructing justice during a special prosecutor investigation into leaks that had blown the identity of an undercover Central Intelligence Agency agent.

The chief federal prosecutor in Libby's case was Patrick Fitzgerald, then the US attorney from the Northern District of IL. He served as FBI Director from 2013-2017 when he was sacked by Trump.

"Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life", he said.

In a statement explaining Trump's action, the White House noted that in 2015, one of the key witnesses against Libby had recanted her testimony, among other factors.

I hoped that President Bush might pardon Libby. He had already been reinstated to the bar by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

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.

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The judge heard from a brand new attorney for Trump Hendon, that said the president needed "an attention&rdquo". Monday, and court will reconvene at 2 p.m. -with Cohen himself seated at the counsel's table.

Fitzgerald denied that Libby's prosecution was unjust. According to CNN, Libby's attorney Bill Jeffress said he first learned of the potential pardon that evening not through legal channels but through a rush of murmurs within the media.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted the pardon was not meant to send a message to the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, saying, "One thing has nothing to do with the other". Some argued that, as Hamilton put it, “the supposition of the connivance of the Chief Magistrate ought not to be entirely excluded.” In the end, though, they chose to give, even for treason, the pardon power to the president alone. "It's very clear that this is a message he is sending that you can commit crimes against national security and you will be pardoned". Some speculate that this pardon is an attempt by the Trump administration to discredit Comey and his investigational direction.

Trump has rarely used his presidential power to pardon, but last August granted clemency to Joe Arpaio, a controversial Arizona sheriff who had been a longtime Trump ally and campaign-trail companion.

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 light of these facts, the President believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon". Trump has repeatedly called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt" and he and Russian Federation have both denied any wrongdoing.

NPR political reporter Jessica Taylor contributed.


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