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.
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At the risk of normalizing his glaring disdain for our democratic ideals and the rule of law, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called him out in no uncertain terms.
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
Pelosi takes note of the fact that Libby was convicted of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice, both central themes in Mueller’s investigation. Trump may very well be using his pardon powers to signal his disdain for those charges in particular as they relate to the ongoing investigation against him.
The pardon is further problematic given Trump’s proclivity to pardon political allies given the slew of arrests that have occurred thus far in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing 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.
It seems our “law and order” president is very selective about when he wants to uphold those tenets. Kudos to Rep. Pelosi for calling out his hypocrisy.