Libby pardon watch

Clarice Feldman
Byron York notes the silence of Cheney and Bush on the possibility of a Libby pardon and concludes:
“There are pardons that the president may choose to make that mean something other than the typical forgiveness kind of pardon, which contemplates that you acknowledge guilt and express remorse and be contrite,” says Margaret Colgate Love, who was the pardon attorney in the Justice Department for much of the 1990s. “A pardon like this would be like the Iran-Contra pardons, which said, to me, ‘These guys didn’t do anything wrong.’“

The Iran-Contra pardons, to which Love referred, came on Christmas Eve, 1992, when George H. W. Bush, then just a few weeks from leaving office, pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, former top CIA official Clair George, and four others involved in the Iran-Contra affair. Bush made clear that he was trying to right a political wrong. “The prosecutions of the individuals I am pardoning represent what I believe is a profoundly troubling development in the political and legal climate of our country: the criminalization of policy differences,” the president wrote in an impassioned pardon statement. “These differences should be addressed in the political arena, without the Damocles sword of criminality hanging over the heads of some of the combatants.”

The question now, for Libby and his supporters, is whether George W. Bush will follow his father’s example. Even though words are few, emotions are quite intense. “If it doesn’t happen, I’m afraid the president’s legacy on this will be one that is pretty ugly,” says the first Libby ally quoted in this story. “This guy took a bullet for the White House, in an absolutely outrageous, unfounded prosecution by an out-of-control prosecutor. For the president not to recognize that fact, and not to pardon Scooter Libby at this point, would be viewed as disgraceful.”
Byron York notes the silence of Cheney and Bush on the possibility of a Libby pardon and concludes:
“There are pardons that the president may choose to make that mean something other than the typical forgiveness kind of pardon, which contemplates that you acknowledge guilt and express remorse and be contrite,” says Margaret Colgate Love, who was the pardon attorney in the Justice Department for much of the 1990s. “A pardon like this would be like the Iran-Contra pardons, which said, to me, ‘These guys didn’t do anything wrong.’“

The Iran-Contra pardons, to which Love referred, came on Christmas Eve, 1992, when George H. W. Bush, then just a few weeks from leaving office, pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, former top CIA official Clair George, and four others involved in the Iran-Contra affair. Bush made clear that he was trying to right a political wrong. “The prosecutions of the individuals I am pardoning represent what I believe is a profoundly troubling development in the political and legal climate of our country: the criminalization of policy differences,” the president wrote in an impassioned pardon statement. “These differences should be addressed in the political arena, without the Damocles sword of criminality hanging over the heads of some of the combatants.”

The question now, for Libby and his supporters, is whether George W. Bush will follow his father’s example. Even though words are few, emotions are quite intense. “If it doesn’t happen, I’m afraid the president’s legacy on this will be one that is pretty ugly,” says the first Libby ally quoted in this story. “This guy took a bullet for the White House, in an absolutely outrageous, unfounded prosecution by an out-of-control prosecutor. For the president not to recognize that fact, and not to pardon Scooter Libby at this point, would be viewed as disgraceful.”