BubbaTyrone / Flickr Scooter Libby 116...
BubbaTyrone / Flickr

Donald Trump just pardoned Scooter Libby, something that even George W. Bush would not do, and the reason he did so has little if anything to do with the merits of Libby’s case. Trump knows he’s descending rapidly in flames where Trump Russia is concerned so he pardoned Libby in an effort to send a message to the likes of Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and now Michael Cohen as well, that obstruction of justice is not such a big deal and, in the words of Senator Tim Kaine, on twitter, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

Mother Jones:

There was no pressing reason for Trump to revive this matter. “I don’t know Mr. Libby, but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly,” the president said in a statement. That was hardly a rousing explanation. But there is this: Libby was prosecuted by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who had been appointed as special counsel in 2003 by a deputy attorney general named…James Comey. Whatever Trump’s intent, the Libby pardon was a raised middle-finger to the fellow who has just compared Trump to a Mafia chieftain. It also sent a troubling signal that this president is not offended by those who stonewall the FBI and special counsels. Get the picture?

Libby has long been a martyr for neocons and conservatives who have claimed he was the innocent victim of a political prosecution. (What a coincidence.) But his case was serious, for the main issue was whether he could get away with lying to federal investigators in order to protect his boss, the vice president. This episode is highly relevant today.


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