It seems that Trump has only used, or threatened to use, his pardoning power to stir controversy. After granting a misguided pardon to former Maricopa County sheriff and notorious racist Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt charges, Trump today set his sights on yet another divisive figure, issuing a pardon for then-Vice President and fugitive war criminal Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, Scooter Libby.
“Libby was convicted in 2007 of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice in the investigation into the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, a former covert CIA operative. Then-President George Bush commuted Libby’s 30-month sentence, sparing him prison time, but didn’t pardon him,” ABC News reported.
At the risk of normalizing Trump’s glaring disdain for our democratic ideals and the rule of law, the House Intelligence Committee’s Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) called him out in no uncertain terms.
On the day the President wrongly attacks Comey for being a “leaker and liar” he considers pardoning a convicted leaker and liar, Scooter Libby. This is the President’s way of sending a message to those implicated in the Russia investigation: You have my back and I‘ll have yours.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 13, 2018
Schiff points out that Trump’s pardon is proof of his proclivity to pardon political allies to (almost blatantly) obstruct justice. Given the slew of arrests that have occurred thus far in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe, today’s actions may be viewed as a less-than-subtle message to those already implicated in the probe.
The White House, for its part, has claimed that no pardons are on the table “at this time” for people caught up in the Russia investigation. However, the claim directly contradicts a report in the The New York Times alleging that John Dowd, Trump’s former lawyer, discussed with him last year the possibility of pardoning two former associates who have been caught up in Mueller’s probe.
Schiff’s tweet mirrors that of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Trump is clearly trying to send a message with his pardon of Scooter Libby – he has no issue with rewarding those who lie under oath. But it does not change the facts: neither @POTUS or his allies are above the law.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) April 13, 2018
It seems our “law and order” president is very selective about when he wants to uphold those tenets. Fortunately, his recklessness has become his own worst enemy.