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      Since the Russian probe began, Trump has managed to squirm around with deflections, bullying, firings, obscene rants on Twitter, and now giving a pardon to Scooter Libby, which will change nothing for Libby, but puts up a barrier with which Trump hopes to protect himself from what might be found in the Mueller investigation. . . at least that is the opinion of Marcy Wheeler who has written an Op-Ed for the New York Times. It is her contention that very soon, Mueller will tell Congress that Trump is giving out pardons to undercut the investigation into what he has done.

      Mr. Trump’s pardon of Mr. Libby makes it crystal clear that he thinks even the crime of making the country less safe can be excused if done in the service of protecting the president.“There is a cloud over the White House as to what happened. Don’t you think the F.B.I., the grand jury, the American people are entitled to a straight answer?”

      With those words, uttered over a decade ago, Patrick Fitzgerald, a prosecutor appointed as special counsel to investigate whether the president and his closest aides had broken the rules of espionage for their own political gain, sealed the conviction of I. Lewis Libby Jr., known as Scooter, for obstructing his investigation into the White House.

      Even with that conviction, we never learned the real story about whether Vice President Dick Cheney had ordered Mr. Libby, his chief of staff, to leak the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson to the press in retaliation for a Times Op-Ed by her husband, Joseph Wilson, calling out the president’s lies. We never learned whether Mr. Cheney gave those orders with the approval of the president or on his own. That’s because President George W. Bush added to the obstruction by commuting Mr. Libby’s sentence, ensuring that nothing would happen to the firewall that protected his own White House. Mr. Libby wouldn’t go to prison, but neither would he lose his Fifth Amendment privilege, which could make it easy to compel further testimony about his bosses.

      I. Lewis Libby Jr., known as Scooter, center, in 2007 after being convicted of perjury. He had served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.CreditGerald Herbert/Associated Press

      On Friday another president with a special counsel investigation raging around him pardoned Mr. Libby. “I don’t know Mr. Libby,” President Trump said in the pardon announcement. “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.”

      The move was entirely symbolic. Since his conviction in 2007, Mr. Libby had regained the two main privileges a felony conviction had stripped from him: his right to vote and his law license. This pardon will change nothing in Mr. Libby’s life.

      Similarly, it will change nothing in Ms. Plame’s life. Her career working to prevent nuclear proliferation cannot be restored by presidential fiat.

      “What I lost was the ability to do my job, which I loved,” Ms. Wilson told me when asked about the pardon of Mr. Libby. “I developed expertise in making sure bad guys don’t get nuclear weapons. That’s what I’d be doing, and no one would know my name.”

      Nor will the pardon of Mr. Libby do anything for the people who risk their lives to cooperate with the C.I.A., who were put at risk by Ms. Wilson’s exposure.

      Mr. Trump’s action does nothing to change the past.

      But it might change the lives or convictions of people whom President Trump does know: his own personal firewall. By pardoning Mr. Libby, Mr. Trump sends a message to Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and any of his other close aides who are facing or may face potential prosecution pursuant to the investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel.

      Mr. Manafort was indicted in October for hiding that he was working for a Russian-backed Ukrainian party while lobbying in the United States; charges against him could put him away for the rest of his life. F.B.I. agents raided the home and offices of Mr. Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen this week; according to the Department of Justice, he is under criminal investigation by the Southern District of New York, and he may face charges of bank and wire fraud for paying hush money to prevent news of past sexual affairs from becoming public during the election. By pardoning Mr. Libby, Mr. Trump sends a message to those who might incriminate him in crimes related to conspiring with Russians to tamper with the election: The message is that he will rectify any sadness that protecting a president might cause.

      The thing is, Mr. Trump is unlikely to be able to use his pardon power to get out of his legal jam. That’s because several of his potential firewalls — Mr. Manafort, Mr. Cohen and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — could be charged at the state level for the financial crimes they’re suspected of. A federal pardon would simply move their prosecution beyond Mr. Trump’s control.

      And there are many more people who can incriminate the president, whereas in the investigation into Ms. Wilson’s exposure, Mr. Libby was one of the only people who could say whether the president had authorized the leak of a C.I.A. officer’s identity. Already, three key witnesses have agreed to cooperate with Mr. Mueller against the president, so it’s probably too late to start silencing witnesses.

      Finally, neither Mr. Trump nor his thoroughly outmatched legal team knows the full exposure he or potential witnesses face. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/opinion/trump-scooter-libby-pardon.html

      That makes it a lot harder to pull off what George Bush did — protect his firewall.

      Finally, Mr. Trump is running out of time. As NBC reported this week, Mr. Mueller is already preparing the first of two reports to Congress. This one will lay out the ways the president has already obstructed his investigation into election tampering. It will reportedly include the discussion of pardons with Mr. Manafort and Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn (who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in November). In other words, within weeks Mr. Mueller will inform Congress that President Trump has been offering pardons specifically to undercut the investigation into his actions.

      Mr. Trump’s pardon of Mr. Libby makes it crystal clear that he thinks even the crime of making the country less safe can be excused if done in the service of protecting the president. But it doesn’t mean the pardon will protect him.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/opinion/trump-scooter-libby-pardon.html

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          opie
          9 months ago

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          I’m sure you are right thatTrump pardoned Libby to help himself. And what noble principle is served by pardoning Libby? The principle that Bush and Cheney could invent lies about Saddam Husain buying yellowcake uranium in Niger to build atomic bombs in order to justify starting a war in Iraq, and Scooter Libby could punish Ambassador Joseph Wilson for disproving that lie by revealing that Wilson’s wife was a CIA agent and destroying her career? Pardoning Libby only reinforces the worst abuses of power we have seen in the past 25 years.

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              opie
              9 months ago

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              This is a good story and a reasonably good theory. However to move beyond the theory stage would require the reading of Donald Trump's mind to know with certainty why he picked now to pardon Scooter Libby. Maybe if some day Trump writes his book about his Presidential years he may tell us why now, and why Scooter.


              Let me give you an additional theory that I have not seen discussed here so far. Scooter's lawyer back in the day, as I understand the story, was Joe Digenova who has just recently joined Trump's legal team. In light of the fact that we now know that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald knew within a few days of starting his investigation that the person who revealed Ms. Plames name was a senior member of the State department, (who was never charged with anything) Fitzgerald still continued his investigation when he should have said....case closed ...we found the person we were looking for.


              It's entirely possible in addition to the self serving reasons that have already been listed, which are very logical to me in Trump's strange world, it is also possible Trump may just have thought after discussions with Joe Digenova that Libby had gotten a bad deal and this was his way to set things right. It's entirely possible to have multiple reasons for doing something...some good...some bad.


              It's also reasonable that he is sending the message that Special Prosecutors should look for issues to support or reject their original charter ...once that objective is reached it's time to call it a day. We will not know until Muller says it's over if he should have stopped sooner or we will all agree it was good that he continued because he went on to uncover some real wrongdoing.

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                  opie
                  9 months ago

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                  Mr mueller, having a great intellect, and being 100 steps ahead of the dolt president, has anticipated what The corrupt and duplicitous president will do to save his own large ass, has no doubt prepared for the day he could get fired, and for the day Trump will attempt to subvert the rule of law and pardon his cronies. For example the case against Cohen is in New York state where our moronic and corrupt president does not have pardon power.

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                      opie
                      9 months ago

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                      I found something interesting that I had forgotten about. John Ashcroft was forced to recuse himself from the Valerie Plame case and that left his Assistant AG who then appointed Patrick J. Fitzgerald as special counsel to investigate.

                      That Assistant AG was James Comey, what a coincidence. Looks like we can add pure spite to the above reasons.

                      https://t.co/ImUcSXHaRW

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                          czook
                          9 months ago

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                          Yes, indeed - this is a really good read. The dotard is just so easy to see through! S/S

                          Thanks for the sponsor and share on this post too czook - it helps to spread the word of what a fraud the little man with the orange face really is.

                          Has the Michael Cohen raid shown that neither Mueller nor other Democrats know or care about the Fourth Amendment?

                          Okay, let's go over this again:

                          Robert Mueller is a Republican.

                          The people who hired him for this investigation are Republican.

                          Robert Mueller forwarded a referral for this part of the investigation to a US Attorney, because it was apparently outside the scope of his own investigation. The US Attorney who approved the raid on Michael Cohen's office is Republican.

                          As to the Constitutional concerns, all the parties involved in the investigation are known to do things strictly by the book, so I guarantee there's no constitutional hanky-panky going on. These are not frivolous people playing games here. They are well experienced and quite competent to do the job they are doing. They are not going to jeopardize over a year's worth of work to make a rookie mistake.

                          Deny it all you want, but more and more people associated with this President and his presidency are circling the drain.

                          I liked this reply on Quora which is from Tim Lockwood.

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