The U.S. National Archives / Flickr Chief of Staff I Lewis quot...
The U.S. National Archives / Flickr

ABC News is reporting:

President Donald Trump is poised to pardon Scooter J. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to sources familiar with the president’s thinking.

The president has already signed off on the pardon, which is something he has been considering for several months, sources told ABC News.

The move would mark another controversial pardon for Trump and could raise questions as an increasing number of the president’s political allies have landed themselves in legal jeopardy. The White House has repeatedly said that no pardons are currently on the table for people caught up in the Russia investigation.

Libby resigned in 2005 after a federal grand jury indicted him on five counts related to leaking the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent who operated covertly in organizations under non-official cover (NOC), which can be extremely perilous. He was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and one count of making false statement and sentenced to 30 months in prison. That part of the sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush. Libby was fined $250,000 and lost his license to practice law until he was reinstated in 2016. He had his right to vote restored in 2013.

Update: Ed Kilgore at NY Magazine writes:

Maybe the ascension of Cheney’s old ally John Bolton in the White House helped raise the profile of Libby’s cause. Or perhaps the fact that he went down for lying to Trump’s new institutional enemy, the FBI, is a factor. Libby might also be viewed by Trump as another victim of a special prosecutor–a special prosecutor, by the way, who was chosen by then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey. We don’t know just yet.

But we do know that this is Trump’s third pardon, and they do seem to fit a pattern. His first was for the famous nativist Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of defying a federal court order by continuing to racially profile Latinos. The second was for a sailor, Kristian Saucier, who was convicted of taking unauthorized photographs of a nuclear sub on which he served, and whose plight Trump often contrasted on the 2016 campaign trail to the kid-gloves treatment of Crooked Hillary Clinton’s alleged security breaches.

And now we have Scooter Libby, a third pardon beneficiary who is identified with the peculiar enthusiasms of the hard-core political right. It’s doubtful the pardon will win Trump many votes, but in the fever swamps of conservative opinion-leaders, it could pay off handsomely. And in the event Dick Cheney comes across any dirt about Trump, it’s a favor worth its weight in gold.

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