The Scooter Libby Pardon

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Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney stands with adviser I. Lewis"Scooter Libby

Bush, whom Trump often derides in caustic terms, could not be convinced to pardon Libby.

In a statement explaining Trump's action, the White House noted that in 2015 one of the key witnesses against Libby recanted her testimony, among other factors.

During President George W. Bush's administration, Libby was convicted in 2007 of four felonies for lying to a grand jury during an FBI investigation about the work of Central Intelligence Agency officer, Valerie Plame Wilson.

Trump's ambiguous statement on the pardon adds fuel to the fire regarding speculation that the pardon means something deeper.

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"On the day the President wrongly attacks Comey for being a "leaker and liar" he considers pardoning a convicted leaker and liar, Scooter Libby", Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter. Libby was never charged with leaking Plame's name to the press. He is innocent, and he and his family have suffered for years because of his wrongful conviction. Trump has repeatedly called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt" and he and Russian Federation have both denied any wrongdoing. Mr. Libby, prosecutors said, lied about where he learned of her identity and what he discussed with reporters.

Sanders beat back questions that Trump's pardon was sending a message to those witnesses who might by cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

The special counsel responsible for the probe of Libby was appointed by then-Deputy Attorney-General, James Comey.

"I don't know Mr Libby", Mr Trump said in a statement issued by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Asked if a pardon was about Comey, Conway said no. "To his great credit, President Trump recognized this wrong and would not let it persist". She said the president called her midday Friday to deliver the news.

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Scooter Libby, VP Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was thrown to the jaws of the Washington Swamp by the George W. Bush administration for allegedly lying to federal investigators about the unmasking of Valerie Plame.

While Trump has had no relationship or expressed interest in Libby's case to date, conservatives have long regarded the prosecution as an example of a special counsel overstepping its original mandate.

Plame, appearing on MSNBC on Friday before the pardon was issued, said granting one would send a message "that you can commit crimes against national security and you will be pardoned". Rich Lowry, no Trump apologist, has a trenchant column in todays New York Post. "He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted". The case stemmed from an investigation into the leaking of the covert identity of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame, though Libby was not charged for the leak itself. Libby had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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