Trump Just Pardoned Scooter Libby

Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff had been convicted of obstruction of justice.

Scooter Libby in 2015. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Trump has officially pardoned Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney who had been convicted of obstruction of justice in a 2003 leak of a CIA operative’s identity. Libby was also convicted for lying before a grand jury and to federal investigators. 

“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” President Trump said in a statement Friday, “but 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.”

Not everyone agreed. “President Trump’s pardon of Scooter Libby makes clear his contempt for the rule of law,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) said in a statement. “This pardon sends a troubling signal to the President’s allies that obstructing justice will be rewarded…Neither the President nor his allies are above the law.” 

Trump has previously pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of contempt of court and faced up to six months in jail.

Some observers have speculated that Trump’s motives in pardoning Libby might be intertwined with the president’s current legal problems. The move, writes James Hohmann of the Washington Post, “is the latest signal to his associates that he has the power and inclination to reward those who stay loyal during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest