Dick Cheney's Quest For A Pardon For Scooter Libby

Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 | Posted by Chico Brisbane | Labels: , , , ,

Former Vice President Dick Cheney's disregard for the rule of law played out right up until the final monents of his term in office.

His relentless efforts to convince Bush to pardon Scooter Libby are certainly cause for speculation. Yet Cheney more than most should have known that the moment President Bush commuted Libby's sentance, there would be no pardon.

For President Bush to commute Libby's sentance upon conviction and then grant a last minute pardon on his final day in office would nullify the jury verdict leaving Libby fully restored from the crime and the punishment. Bush was not going to risk his already uncertain legacy by leaning that far into the strike zone for Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, or anyone else for that matter.

Under the Constitution, the President has the authority to grant a pardon for federal offenses, including those obtained in the United States District Courts, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and military courts-martial.

Under the Department's rules governing petitions for executive clemency, there is a minimum waiting period of five years after completion of sentence before anyone convicted of a federal offense becomes eligible to apply for a presidential pardon. The waiting period begins on the date of the petitioner's release from confinement. Alternatively, if the conviction resulted in probation or a fine, but no term of imprisonment, the waiting period begins on the date of sentencing.

A waiver of any portion of the waiting period can be, but are rarely granted and then only in the most exceptional circumstances. The last time that such a broad presidential pardon had been granted was by Gerald Ford to protect Richard Nixon from even being charged with a crime in the Watergate scandal that lead to his sudden resignation.

Nevertheless, Cheney still mounted an effort with a level tenacity that would lead one to believe that Libby was protecting Cheney from crimes far greater then lying to the grand jury.

"Scooter Libby is an innocent man who was the victim of a severe miscarriage of justice," Cheney says.

Cheney says that Libby deserved a pardon and then has strong words for Richard Armitage,
the man who actually leaked Valerie Plame's name to Bod Novak. Armitage, Cheney says, "leaked the name and hid that fact from the prisident."

Cheney adds: "Mr. Libby is an honorable man and a faithful public servant who served the President, the Vice President and the nation with distinction for many years. He deserved a presidential pardon."

President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a 30-month prison term in the CIA leak investigation, calling the sentence too harsh.

The president announced his decision hours after a federal appeals panel ruled that Libby could not delay his prison term, meaning Libby was likely to have to report to jail soon.

The president has broad discretion to exercise presidential power to pardon convicted felons. In this case, the president did not pardon Libby; rather, he waived his prison term.

Regardless of Dick Cheney's claim about Scooter Libby being an honorable man and a faithful public servant, that fact remains that Libby lied under oath to protect someone other than himself. The odds that being anyone other than Dick Cheney are astronomical at best. However, I also believe that it will not be too long before the lid is blown off the darkest days of the Bush Administration.