We were happy to learn that President Trump has pardoned I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. As we see it, as he did in the case of Sholom Rubashkin, the president saw palpable injustice and acted – he was not distracted by the notion that a conviction might fit in with an arguable, if strained, application of the law.
Libby was convicted of lying to a grand jury and to the FBI, and for obstruction of justice over his description of his discussions with journalists in the course of a four-year investigation into the leaking of the identity of a CIA operative. He was never charged with leaking the information but was targeted by the then special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald who suspected Mr. Cheney might be the leaker and wanted to “turn” Mr. Libby. But Cheney turned out not to be the leaker and so the hapless Libby had nothing to trade, even if he was inclined to cooperate.
In fact, early on, Fitzgerald learned that the real leaker was a former admiral Richard Armitage, but that did not deter him from pursuing Libby with a vengeance. It also turned out that a New York Times reporter who was the key witness against Libby recanted her testimony. Further, Libby’s FBI interrogators said that they were of the belief that Libby didn’t intentionally misrepresent anything to them.
We would hope that even his most vociferous critics will acknowledge the sense of fairness President Trump displayed in the Scooter Libby matter.