Trump pardons ex-Cheney aide Scooter Libby

President Donald Trump ...

Posted: Apr 14, 2018 9:28 AM
Updated: Apr 14, 2018 9:28 AM

President Donald Trump granted a pardon on Friday to Scooter Libby, the chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of perjury in 2007.

The move to pardon Libby -- who became embroiled in a special counsel investigation involving then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey -- comes at a resonant moment. Trump himself is wrapped up in a special counsel investigation that he's decried as a "witch hunt," and is fuming about a book Comey has written detailing his interactions with Trump when he was serving as FBI director.

In a statement, Trump conceded he has no personal relationship with Libby, whose case has been held up by conservatives as an example of a special counsel overstepping his bounds.

"I don't know Mr. Libby," Trump said in a statement released by the White House. "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 said in a statement he and his family are "immensely grateful to President Trump for his gracious decision to grant a pardon."

"For over a dozen years we have suffered under the weight of a terrible injustice," he wrote. "To his great credit, President Trump recognized this wrong and would not let it persist."

Libby's attorney, Bill Jeffress, told CNN on Friday afternoon that the former vice president's chief of staff's pardon was "well-deserved and overdue." The White House had not been in contact with Libby's primary trial lawyer, who learned about the potential pardon Thursday night from media reports. He then emailed Libby, whose reaction was not to celebrate to soon, Jeffress said.

"I had no reason until I heard last night to know that anything was imminent," Jeffress said on a phone call Friday. "I had my hopes up for quite awhile. We've been trying since the end of the Bush administration to get this done."

Libby had been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2007 in the investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. He was not accused of the leak itself.

Four months after Libby's conviction, President George W. Bush commuted the 30-month sentence but would not grant a pardon, despite requests from Cheney. Libby paid a $250,000 fine and completed his community service and probation following the conviction.

In a statement, Dick Cheney called Libby "one of the most capable, principled, and honorable men I have ever known. He is innocent, and he and his family have suffered for years because of his wrongful conviction. I am grateful today that President Trump righted this wrong by issuing a full pardon to Scooter, and I am thrilled for Scooter and his family."

A spokesman for Bush, Freddy Ford, said of the pardon, "President Bush is very pleased for Scooter and his family."

Libby was convicted in a case headed up by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who was named by Comey, then serving as a top Justice Department official. Comey was fired as FBI director by Trump last year.

Libby's allies have claimed he was the victim of an overzealous special counsel, and have said his statements reflected differences in memory between himself and other witnesses, not an intent to lie.

People loyal to Libby have recently come into Trump's inner circle, including former Bush administration official John Bolton, who now serves as Trump's national security adviser. Two lawyers associated with Libby, Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, recently considered joining Trump's legal team before declining because of potential conflicts.

"Many people think that Scooter Libby was a victim of a special counsel gone amuck," White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters at the White House on Friday ahead of the pardon.

In a tweet, Cheney's daughter, Liz, currently serving as a US representative from Wyoming, said Libby is "a good, honorable and innocent man who was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct and a miscarriage of justice."

In pardoning a former White House aide, Trump could be signaling to his own associates that they will be protected if they decline to participate with government investigators. Neither the White House nor Trump himself have ruled out pardons for campaign aides indicted in the Russia investigation, though have insisted that no pardons are currently being considered.

Trump has spent the past week enraged at the special counsel and the ever-growing web of associates who have become entangled in the investigation. His anger was reinforced by excerpts from Comey's book, which paint the President as unethical.

Speaking to Wolf Blitzer in 2007, Trump bemoaned Libby's predicament.

"I think he probably took a bullet for the administration, but so far the administration hasn't been so loyal to him," Trump told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I think he probably will, because otherwise he's going to see some horrible books written by Scooter Libby."

Trump used his pardon authority last year when he pardoned Joe Arpaio, a controversial sheriff in Arizona who had been convicted of criminal contempt related to his hard-line tactics going after undocumented immigrants.

In the first pardon, Trump did not follow his predecessors' practice of consulting with lawyers at the Justice Department before announcing his decision.

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. The White House is not required to consult with the office that typically handles most clemency petitions, but the majority of cases operate that way.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 556381

Reported Deaths: 7098
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1158471682
Ramsey47939856
Dakota42586422
Anoka38655415
Washington24993274
Stearns21052219
St. Louis16821298
Scott16013117
Wright14818127
Olmsted1276297
Sherburne1064880
Carver984945
Clay783490
Rice7649101
Blue Earth698640
Kandiyohi628181
Crow Wing618186
Chisago550650
Otter Tail543973
Benton532297
Mower451132
Goodhue444172
Douglas442870
Winona438649
Nobles400648
Morrison396059
McLeod395255
Isanti378259
Itasca373653
Beltrami372957
Polk366067
Steele364014
Becker356048
Lyon348648
Carlton329452
Freeborn328129
Pine312321
Nicollet307542
Brown294739
Mille Lacs282150
Le Sueur270822
Todd268830
Cass250426
Meeker237437
Waseca231421
Martin213429
Wabasha19953
Roseau197818
Renville172543
Hubbard172341
Dodge17193
Redwood166335
Houston162614
Cottonwood157021
Fillmore15179
Pennington151019
Chippewa146537
Wadena144621
Faribault144019
Sibley136410
Kanabec131721
Aitkin128736
Watonwan12569
Rock123019
Jackson117410
Yellow Medicine110819
Pipestone109926
Pope10306
Murray10269
Swift100018
Marshall85617
Stevens82210
Lake78419
Clearwater77814
Koochiching77313
Wilkin77012
Lac qui Parle73622
Big Stone5644
Lincoln5592
Grant5498
Norman5229
Mahnomen5088
Unassigned50378
Kittson46822
Red Lake3877
Traverse3605
Lake of the Woods3073
Cook1460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 358085

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56023604
Linn20310330
Scott19111234
Black Hawk15560306
Woodbury14906221
Johnson1405881
Dubuque13162202
Dallas1090196
Pottawattamie10763162
Story1031547
Warren555686
Clinton537790
Cerro Gordo522986
Webster508391
Sioux506673
Marshall477274
Muscatine460796
Des Moines441965
Wapello4254120
Buena Vista421940
Jasper407670
Plymouth397479
Lee368555
Marion354575
Jones293155
Henry286337
Bremer279360
Carroll279351
Crawford261840
Boone258833
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242343
Mahaska224850
Jackson218242
Kossuth213063
Clay211225
Tama206671
Delaware203039
Winneshiek194433
Page190421
Buchanan188831
Cedar184423
Fayette183041
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178149
Harrison176473
Clayton167155
Butler162534
Mills158720
Cherokee157138
Floyd155442
Lyon154841
Madison154119
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149151
Iowa145524
Hancock143734
Winnebago136131
Grundy135332
Cass134654
Calhoun133211
Jefferson131035
Emmet128740
Shelby128637
Sac127319
Louisa127249
Appanoose126647
Mitchell125341
Union124132
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112821
Palo Alto111022
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10050
Clarke98323
Keokuk94730
Monroe94128
Ida89733
Adair84532
Pocahontas83721
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7098
Taylor65312
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4939
Adams3284
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 25°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 19°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 28°
Austin
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 30°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 18°
Cooler for the next couple of days
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Bulls defeat Grizzlies in Fraser Cup Final

Image

Bruins continue fight for playoff bid

Image

Aaron's Evening Forecast (4/19/21)

Image

Sean's Weather 4/19

Image

Mayo Clinic Doctor creates art for patients

Image

Electric car show

Image

Walk a Block

Image

Cleaning up Chester Woods

Image

Little Thistle collecting donations

Image

Rochester United PKG

Community Events