Patterico's Pontifications

4/13/2018

President Trump Pardons Scooter Libby

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:34 am

[guest post by Dana]

Here is the statement from the White House:

Today, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) to I. “Scooter” Lewis Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, for convictions stemming from a 2007 trial. President George W. Bush commuted Mr. Libby’s sentence shortly after his conviction. Mr. Libby, nevertheless, paid a $250,000 fine, performed 400 hours of community service, and served two years of probation.

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 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.”

Before his conviction, Mr. Libby had rendered more than a decade of honorable service to the Nation as a public servant at the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the White House. His record since his conviction is similarly unblemished, and he continues to be held in high regard by his colleagues and peers.

In light of these facts, the President believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon. “I don’t know Mr. Libby,” said President Trump, “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.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Friday Round-Up Concerning President Trump

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

Limited time here, so a quick round-up of items in the news today concerning President Trump:

1) Predictably, President Trump lashed out at former FBI Director James Comey, in advance of his memoir’s release. Excerpts from Comey’s book are already online:

Untitled2

Untitled3

2) President Trump is considering (at this time) a pardon for Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff. It would follow his pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And it should be noted that, at this point in time there are reportedly no plans by the White House to pardon anyone snared in the Russia investigation.

Ed Morrissey considers the “why now” question:

…Trump no doubt sees a Libby pardon as a cost-free warning shot across Robert Mueller’s bow, a reminder that the president can start issuing pardons to anyone caught in a perjury trap, especially on tangential issues. It’s certainly going to give Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos some food for thought. Rick Gates would face a raft of state charges even if pardoned by Trump on the federal charges relating to his business dealings with Paul Manafort, so it probably won’t upset the incentives in place there. However, that case so far has nothing to do with Trump anyway.

Why now, though? The Washington Post suggests that it might have something to do with the influx of some new faces in the White House:

“Other Bush loyalists also expressed their frustration — including a number who are now in Trump’s orbit.

“Somebody’s going to have to ask President Bush why he went out of his way to say he respected the jury’s verdict,” John R. Bolton, Bush’s UN ambassador and Trump’s new national security adviser, said at the time. “If you think it was a miscarriage of justice, then you think it shouldn’t have gone to a jury to begin with.”

Alan Dershowitz, a vocal Trump defender on cable television, also pushed Libby’s appellate cause, calling his appeals “serious and substantial” and filing a brief in 2007 asking for Libby to be granted bail pending his appeal.

Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, the husband and wife attorney team Trump considered hiring earlier this year, are also vocal Libby backers.

When Libby got his law license back in 2016, DiGenova told the Daily Caller: “Comey and Fitzgerald tried to frame Scooter Libby, and they did, but then they didn’t get it done. And then of course that idiot George W. Bush didn’t give him a pardon he only commuted his sentence.”

It’s all… so interesting:

Untitled

3) Republican Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) opines in the Washington Post that everyone benefits from protecting Mueller – even Trump:

I believe in the rule of law, regardless of who occupies the White House or which party leads the Justice Department. That is why in August I introduced a bill to create a judicial-review process to prevent the removal of a special counsel without good cause.

Over the past several months, Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and I have been working with Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who introduced a similar bill, to reconcile the differences between the two proposals. This week, we introduced the compromise, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act .

Letting his investigation run its course is in the best interest of the country, and it is the only option to ensure that the American people have trust in the process. This is critically important because it means when the investigation concludes, our country can move forward together. Our bill will help ensure that happens.

Tillis explains how special-counsel legislation would actually protect the President:

First, if the president actually removes the special counsel without good cause, it would likely result in swift, bipartisan backlash and shake the country’s faith in the integrity of our legal system. Talking heads and pundits on television encouraging the president to make such a drastic and counterproductive move most certainly do not have his best interests at heart. The result would not be good for the American people, the Republican Party or the president.

Second, the constant headlines and rumors that Trump is considering or has considered removing Mueller — “fake news” or not — are a distraction from the president’s agenda and successful policy initiatives. While the president is understandably frustrated with the investigation, I don’t believe he would ultimately remove Mueller, and the White House and the president’s legal team have indicated that he does not intend to do so. This bill becoming law would remove that narrative from the conversation.

4) Finally, there is a newly launched non-profit group, Republicans for the Rule of Law, headed by Bill Kristol and involving other noted Republicans who want to make sure the investigation continues, and that Mueller not be fired:

Republicans for the Rule of Law is a coalition of Republicans who believe the Special Counsel’s investigation should be completed without political interference. We represent the majority of Republicans who believe Robert Mueller should not be fired.

Kristol himself said:

Republicans should not hesitate to defend the rule of law, nor should they equivocate in doing so. We hope to encourage more of them to get out of a defensive crouch, step up to the plate and swing the bat on behalf of the principles of our constitutional democracy.

Amusingly, the group bought a 30 second spot on Fox and Friends (reputed to be Trump’s favorite show) and ran an ad in the Washington D.C. area supporting the special counsel.

Have a great weekend.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1343 secs.