President Donald Trump issued out a pardon for former President George W. Bush administration official Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Many people are speculating the president’s actions are meant to send a message to others involved in the ongoing Russia collusion investigation.
Libby, who served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, was charged and found guilty of lying to the FBI and obstructing justice more than a decade ago. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, but Bush commuted that sentence, stopping short of giving him a full-fledged pardon.
Some people question whether Trump really cared about Libby’s situation or whether he was trying to send a broader message to those involved in a current investigation regarding Russia meddling in our nation’s elections. That investigation has shifted focus toward Trump, his campaign in 2016, and current administration officials.
Trump’s ambiguous statement on the pardon adds fuel to the fire regarding speculation that the pardon means something deeper.
“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” Trump said, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly.”
Further ponderings have been considered due to comments from Kellyanne Conway, who serves as Trump’s White House counsel.
“You know, many people think that Scooter Libby was the victim of a special counsel gone amok,” Conway said earlier in the week.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) tweeted out his concerns on social media.
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
It’s unclear whether Trump is sending a message or not to individuals involved in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. But it certainly appears like he is.
If Trump is willing to pardon an individual who has lied to investigators and obstructed justice in the past, it’s very likely that he’ll be more than willing to do so for others, especially since the president has already demonstrated he likes to pardon others for political, rather than practical, reasons. The pardon on Friday could be received by individuals being questioned by Mueller not to cooperate — and if they don’t, that they’ll be let off the hook by Trump for their loyalty.