On a day when former FBI Director James Comey and the snippets from his forthcoming book dominate the news, word is leaking out from the White House that President Donald Trump is thinking about issuing a pardon for someone who was, as Trump is now, in the crosshairs of a special investigation – Scooter Libby.
“Coincidence?” Kyle Swenson asks In his Morning Mix column for the Washington Post.
The Scooter Libby case involved James Comey and a vilified special prosecutor. Perhaps the talk of a pardon for Libby might also involve some calculated publicity?
Libby worked for then-Vice President Dick Cheney, and was accused of revealing the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to journalists, a felony.
“The special counsel investigation into who leaked the name actually never charged anybody,” Swenson says. “But during that investigation, that was handled by the FBI and a special prosecutor, Scooter Libby lied to FBI agents and investigators, and ended up getting charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.”
Cheney sought a pardon for Libby as then-President George W. Bush was leaving the White House. Instead of exonerating Libby, Bush commuted his jail sentence. Swenson says Bush’s unwillingness to pardon Libby drove a permanent wedge between the former president and vice president.
Swenson says Libby’s supporters, including brand-new National Security Advisor John Bolton, think of Libby’s prosecution as a “witch hunt” by the special prosecutor – much as Trump views the current investigation into his connections to Russian election meddling by Robert Mueller.
In the Libby case, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself, leaving the appointment of a special prosecutor to his deputy, James Comey.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.