To Pardon OR Not To Pardon, That is the Answer

Steve Benen at Crooks and Liars had this up today:

On the issue of whether Bush will pardon Scooter Libby, the NYT reported:

A former senior administration official with his own ties to the case said Mr. Libby had failed to meet the general standard for a pardon by not showing contrition or serving any time. This official also noted that Mr. Libby had also been found guilty of lying to investigators, the same offense that led to the impeachment of Mr. Clinton.

The former official, who requested anonymity to speak frankly about the president, said: “It would show a deep disregard for the rule of law if he was to do it right now, when there has been no remorse shown by a convicted felon and no time has been served. How’s this going to fit in his long-term legacy?”

As Steve M. responded, “Yeah — apart from this, his record on the rule of law is perfect! And his legacy is rock-solid! Why on earth would he want to spoil them by doing something so out of character?"

Generally I would agree with Steve M., but the only thing we have on record concerning pardons from Bush is something I caught in March from Newsweek:

Scooter's Pardon Problem - Bush By the Book

No (scape)goats in this book. But according to Isikoff and Hosenball at Newsweek this is what the fall guy can expect:

Scooter Libby’s Pardon Problem :

"Those regulations, which are discussed on the Justice Department Web site at www.usdoj.gov/pardon, would seem to make a Libby pardon a nonstarter in George W. Bush’s White House. They “require a petitioner to wait a period of at least five years after conviction or release from confinement (whichever is later) before filing a pardon application,” according to the Justice Web site.


“You know, I get asked about pardons on a lot of different cases. And there’s a procedure in place,” he said at first. When Bush added that he has been telling members of Congress who have contacted him about the matter to “look at the facts in the case,” Cavuto followed up: “So what are you saying?”

“I’m saying … there is a process in any case for a president to make a pardon decisions. In other words, there is a series of steps that are followed, so that the pardon process is, you know, a rational process,” the president answered."

Get ready for prison now, Scooter...
You have plenty of time before sentencing to get your affairs in order NOW, so there should be no reasons to delay your entering the system as soon as the sentence is pronounced.

As a side note on this:
How strained must the relationship between bush and cheney be, when cheney has to make his plea for a pardon on the national news? Since when do Republicans take their "inner business dirty dealings" public like that? They usually do that stuff behind closed doors.
I would say that things do look particularly bad for Libby, and certainly for his band of merry traitors that don't want to chance Scooter flipping them to avoid prison. I have to start thinking about the possibility that MAYBE bush had nothing to do with the leaking, and as long as there is no pardon that line of reasoning might make sense. The reality is that as soon as bush does give a pardon to Scooter (if he does?), or anyone else that Scooter may flip, it is pretty much an admission of bushies' own guilt.

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.

Yes, we shall. Unfortunately, we may have to wait for the dying days of this presidency to get the answer, as to the extent of bush's involvement in the leak.

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