WASHINGTON — President Trump today pardoned former Vice President Dick Cheney’s onetime aide Scooter Libby, who was convicted during the Bush administration in leaks surrounding the unmasking of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.
During his time in the Bush administration, Libby, 67, was Cheney’s former assistant for national security affairs, Cheney’s former chief of staff, and assistant to President George W. Bush.
Before Bush won the presidency, Libby represented billionaire trader Marc Rich, who was pardoned on the last day President Clinton was in office.
Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in his grand jury testimony and making false statements to federal investigators, related to revealing Plame’s identity to New York Times reporter Judith Miller; Plame is the wife of Joe Wilson, an ambassador in the first Bush administration who was critical of Bush 43 for the Iraq war.
George W. Bush commuted Libby’s 30-month sentence in 2007; Libby was on probation for two years, paid a $250,000 fine, and performed 400 hours of community service. Libby was reinstated at the D.C. Bar in November 2016.
“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “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,” she added.
“In light of these facts, the president believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon.”
The White House included a quote from Trump: “I don’t know Mr. Libby, 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.”
Wilson told HuffPost that Libby’s pardon “suggests of course that Mr. Trump is willing to allow people to violate the essence of our defense structure, our national security, our intelligence apparatus and essentially get away with it.” He added that Trump is “a vile and despicable individual.”