5 reasons that perfectly explain why Donald Trump pardoned Scooter Libby

On Friday, President ...

Posted: Apr 14, 2018 1:01 PM
Updated: Apr 14, 2018 1:01 PM

On Friday, President Donald Trump pardoned Scooter Libby.

At first glance, it was a very odd move.

After all, Trump conceded in issuing the pardon that he didn't know Libby at all. And even George W. Bush, who worked closely with Libby when the latter served as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, refused to pardon Libby, who had been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2007 for his role in the leaking of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Bush commuted Libby's sentence, resisting the pardon push led by Cheney among others. (Bush's unwillingness to pardon Libby led to a break in the relationship between the outgoing president and his second-in-command.)

Other than acknowledging he didn't know Libby, Trump offered only this comment about the pardon: "For years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life."

So, what gives? Why Libby? And as importantly, why now?

Here are a few ideas to explain Trump's motivations in all of this:

1. He wants to send a message about out-of-control special prosecutors

Libby was charged and convicted as the result of a probe by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Libby allies argued that Fitzgerald was far too aggressive and ventured too far afield in his pursuit of Libby.

A special counsel who is overstepping? Sound familiar?

Just in case you missed the message, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is here to help. "Many people think that Scooter Libby was a victim of a special counsel gone amok," said Conway in a Friday interview with Fox News.

In pardoning Libby, Trump can send a very clear message about how he feels about special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. (As if anyone living on planet Earth hadn't received that message before.) He can also send a more subtle message about his willingness to step into the breach for those who he believes have been unfairly persecuted by a special prosecutor.

2. He is friends with Libby's lawyers

Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, the husband-wife legal team, have an association with Libby. And they were expected to join Trump's legal team last month before unnamed "conflicts" ended that plan. We all know that Trump is big one helping his friends and punishing his enemies. Which brings me to...

3. Comey appointed Fitzgerald as special counsel

After Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself in the Plame investigation, a newly installed deputy Attorney General named James Comey was put in charge of the probe. (The similarities between that probe and the Mueller probe are absolutely uncanny.) Comey picked Fitzgerald to run the investigation. And that appointment, eventually, led to Libby's conviction. How could Trump pass up a chance to stick it in the eye of Comey? Answer: He couldn't.

4. Trump has never liked the Bushes

Speaking of sticking it in peoples' eyes, the Libby pardon also functions as a middle finger to the Bush clan. As I noted above, George W. Bush refused to pardon Libby -- a move that enraged Cheney. Then consider that Trump has had a very dicey relationship with the Bush family -- most notably his one-time 2016 primary opponent Jeb Bush and former President George H.W. Bush. To Trump, the Bush clan is everything he hates about politics -- and elites more generally. A family who acts like they are "to the manor born," who discount street fighters like Trump and who turn their noses up at him. Now that he's in charge, why not strike back against all those people who dismissed him? Trump is in charge now -- and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.

5. Trump is no fan of the Intelligence community

The idea of a White House operative being unfairly maligned by the intelligence community fits squarely into Trump's suspicion of a deep-state operation looking to hurt people they don't agree with ideologically. In that way, the Libby case was tailor-made for Trump, as it played into his preconceived notions of the problem within the ranks of the nation's top intelligence agencies. In pardoning Libby, Trump believes he proved his point about the mixed motives of some within the intelligence community.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 24°
Angola
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 24°
Huntington
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 27°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 24°
Lima
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 26°
More Clouds than Sun Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events