UPDATE | Trump pardons former Cheney aide Libby


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump issued a full pardon today to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Trump said he does not know Libby, 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," according to a statement issued by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders announcing the pardon.

Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice after the 2003 leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.

President George W. Bush later commuted Libby's 30-month prison sentence, but didn't issue a pardon despite intense pressure from Cheney. No one was ever charged for the leak.

Since then, the Libby case has been criticized by conservatives, who argue he was the victim of an overly zealous and politically motivated prosecution by a special counsel. Another twist is that the special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, was appointed by James Comey, deputy attorney general at the time. Comey later became head of the FBI, but was fired by Trump, and has since written a book highly critical of the president.

1:05 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to pardon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a person familiar with the president's decision.

The person said the announcement could come as early as today. The person, who wasn't authorized to discuss the decision ahead of its public announcement and demanded anonymity, said the pardon has been under consideration at the White House for months. The plans were first reported by ABC News.

Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice after the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame. President George W. Bush later commuted Libby's 30-month prison sentence, but didn't issue a pardon despite intense pressure from Cheney. No one was ever charged for the leak.

Since then, the Libby case has been criticized by conservatives, who argue he was the victim of an overly zealous and politically motivated prosecution by a special counsel.

Another twist is that the special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, was appointed by James Comey, deputy attorney general at the time. Comey later became head of the FBI, but was fired by Trump, and has since written a book highly critical of the president.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway today declined to confirm Trump's plans for a pardon.

Still, she said, "many people think that Scooter Libby was the victim of a special counsel gone amok." Asked if a pardon was about Comey, Conway said no.

Plame appeared on MSNBC this morning, saying a pardon would send a message "that you can commit crimes against national security and you will be pardoned."

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