Just what might justify pardoning Scooter Libby? I mean, if you are George W. Bush, what principles would you rely upon to rationalize the neutering of the judicial process? The jury was clear, the judge was clear, the case was clear…Scooter Libby intentionally and knowingly lied and obstructed an investigation, which is quite clearly a crime. The federal government payed a great deal of money to investigate the Plame Affair and jurors (grand, and otherwise) dedicated months of their lives to ascertaining the facts. The Justice system did its job and concluded that Scooter Libby deserves to do two and a half years in prison for the crimes that he committed. If you are going to wipe that away, you must have some theory about how, ultimately, this sentence is a miscarriage of justice.
Cheney has a theory on how Libby is getting screwed. He wrote it in his notes.
“Not going to protect one staffer [ed note: Karl Rove] (plus) sacrifice the guy [ed note: Scooter Libby] that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.”
We may never know exactly what Dick Cheney meant by ‘the incompetence of others’ but we do know that he thinks Scooter got a raw deal. And if Scooter got a raw deal it is because he was assigned to be the Fall Guy. It doesn’t change the fact that he committed crimes. But it does mean that his crimes protected other people that were the real culprits. If Scooter is getting a raw deal it is because someone else is the person (or persons) that really deserves to be going to prison.
But, again, how can George W. Bush apply this information to justify a pardon for Libby? If true justice requires that someone else do the time that Libby is being forced to do, then wouldn’t Bush have to turn that person (or persons) in to the authorities at the same time that he springs Libby free?
That would seem to be the minimum requirement for justifying a pardon for Libby. Otherwise he would just be letting everyone get away with crimes and there would be no whiff of justice anywhere.
But, even if there is one or more people that really should be going to jail before Scooter Libby, that still doesn’t justify letting Libby off the hook. He committed a series of crimes.
And, at least ostensibly, he committed those crimes and then lied about whether he committed them to the President. After all, the President promised to get to the bottom of the Plame leak and he wasn’t told the truth about what Libby and Rove and Armitage and Fleischer, etc. did. Right?
Doesn’t the President have every right to be angry with Libby for not only causing a major embarrassment for his administration, but for lying about it to the President when he set out to get to the bottom of it all?
Why would the President pardon a man that created such a mess and then misled him about what he had done?
How would the President justify letting a guy off the hook that had totally screwed him and even put his reelection in jeopardy?
Wouldn’t it look like the President was rewarding a man for obstructing justice?
No matter how you look at it, there is no way to justify pardoning Scooter Libby without it being an admission of guilt by the President.
Any innocent President would be furious with Libby and wouldn’t pardon him in a million years.
But Bush is not innocent. Libby lied for the President. And if Bush pardons Libby then we will know for certain that the President himself is the one that should be doing jail time for the crime that Libby covered up.
We shall see.