President Trump Pardons Scooter Libby

Mary Altaffer  AP FILE

Now back to President Trump's pardon of a Bush administration official. Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and daughter of the former vice president, said Libby was the victim of a "miscarriage of justice", and she thanked Trump for "righting a bad wrong".

What's interesting about the pardoning of Libby, who Trump playfully dissociates himself from in the White House statement, nearly to underline that the pardon was not about justice or Libby at all, is both the association and the timing.

In announcing his decision, President Trump said that he did not know Libby, but that "for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly". "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", he said.

Excerpts of Comey's new book due out Tuesday, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership", slam Trump, calling him "unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values". 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 new sentence still required Libby to complete a two-year probation, pay $250,000 fine, and perform 400 hours of community service.

"It's not about me, it's absolutely not about "Scooter" Libby," she said.

The president has regularly blasted the whole Russian Federation investigation as invasive and "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" As Arthur Herman wrote in Commentary, an overzealous special prosecutor framed Libby, a dedicated public servant (and a friend of this writer). That's because several of his potential firewalls - Mr. Manafort, Mr. Cohen and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner - could be charged at the state level for the financial crimes they're suspected of.

The president signed off on clemency for Scooter Libby on Friday, following months of consideration.

Not long after, Joe Wilson's wife, an undercover Central Intelligence Agency operative named Valerie Plame, had her name leaked to the press - completely blowing her cover (and thus basically her entire career) and potentially putting her and her sources in danger. Rather, it's been mostly about alleged false statements, just as it was with Libby. A federal pardon would simply move their prosecution beyond Mr. Trump's control.

Plame appeared on the same network Friday to say the pardon was symbolic and had nothing to do with Libby as an individual.

Speaking to Wolf Blitzer in 2007, Trump bemoaned Libby's predicament. What's more, it reminds us as well how the slightest miscue in testimony - i.e., "lying to the FBI" - can put even the most honorable men behind bars.

Lewis Libby, Jr., also known as Scooter Libby.

Mr Trump knows the attorneys and had sought to add them to his legal team defending him in the Russian investigation, but it was determined Mr diGenova and Mr Toensing had conflicts of interest that would prevent them from joining.

Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said earlier Friday that there was no current petition seeking a pardon on file with the DOJ's Office of Pardon Attorney.

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