BREAKING NEWS DA: Red Bluff man arrested on suspicion of murder will not face charges Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Multi-state double murder investigation lands 3 in Butte County Jail Full Story

5 reasons that perfectly explain why Donald Trump pardoned Scooter Libby

On Friday, President ...

Posted: Apr 14, 2018 10:01 AM
Updated: Apr 14, 2018 10:01 AM

On Friday, President Donald Trump pardoned Scooter Libby.

At first glance, it was a very odd move.

After all, Trump conceded in issuing the pardon that he didn't know Libby at all. And even George W. Bush, who worked closely with Libby when the latter served as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, refused to pardon Libby, who had been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2007 for his role in the leaking of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Bush commuted Libby's sentence, resisting the pardon push led by Cheney among others. (Bush's unwillingness to pardon Libby led to a break in the relationship between the outgoing president and his second-in-command.)

Other than acknowledging he didn't know Libby, Trump offered only this comment about the pardon: "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."

So, what gives? Why Libby? And as importantly, why now?

Here are a few ideas to explain Trump's motivations in all of this:

1. He wants to send a message about out-of-control special prosecutors

Libby was charged and convicted as the result of a probe by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Libby allies argued that Fitzgerald was far too aggressive and ventured too far afield in his pursuit of Libby.

A special counsel who is overstepping? Sound familiar?

Just in case you missed the message, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is here to help. "Many people think that Scooter Libby was a victim of a special counsel gone amok," said Conway in a Friday interview with Fox News.

In pardoning Libby, Trump can send a very clear message about how he feels about special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. (As if anyone living on planet Earth hadn't received that message before.) He can also send a more subtle message about his willingness to step into the breach for those who he believes have been unfairly persecuted by a special prosecutor.

2. He is friends with Libby's lawyers

Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, the husband-wife legal team, have an association with Libby. And they were expected to join Trump's legal team last month before unnamed "conflicts" ended that plan. We all know that Trump is big one helping his friends and punishing his enemies. Which brings me to...

3. Comey appointed Fitzgerald as special counsel

After Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself in the Plame investigation, a newly installed deputy Attorney General named James Comey was put in charge of the probe. (The similarities between that probe and the Mueller probe are absolutely uncanny.) Comey picked Fitzgerald to run the investigation. And that appointment, eventually, led to Libby's conviction. How could Trump pass up a chance to stick it in the eye of Comey? Answer: He couldn't.

4. Trump has never liked the Bushes

Speaking of sticking it in peoples' eyes, the Libby pardon also functions as a middle finger to the Bush clan. As I noted above, George W. Bush refused to pardon Libby -- a move that enraged Cheney. Then consider that Trump has had a very dicey relationship with the Bush family -- most notably his one-time 2016 primary opponent Jeb Bush and former President George H.W. Bush. To Trump, the Bush clan is everything he hates about politics -- and elites more generally. A family who acts like they are "to the manor born," who discount street fighters like Trump and who turn their noses up at him. Now that he's in charge, why not strike back against all those people who dismissed him? Trump is in charge now -- and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.

5. Trump is no fan of the Intelligence community

The idea of a White House operative being unfairly maligned by the intelligence community fits squarely into Trump's suspicion of a deep-state operation looking to hurt people they don't agree with ideologically. In that way, the Libby case was tailor-made for Trump, as it played into his preconceived notions of the problem within the ranks of the nation's top intelligence agencies. In pardoning Libby, Trump believes he proved his point about the mixed motives of some within the intelligence community.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 893364

Reported Deaths: 17256
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2940656956
Riverside653861279
San Bernardino615501070
Orange578481434
San Diego53498866
Kern33630415
Fresno30328430
Sacramento24957480
Santa Clara23679385
Alameda23001456
San Joaquin21473488
Contra Costa18342240
Stanislaus17455395
Tulare17365282
Ventura14050160
Imperial12668336
San Francisco12000138
Monterey1122586
San Mateo10961157
Santa Barbara9688119
Merced9415154
Sonoma9099134
Kings818683
Solano724974
Marin7038128
Madera494574
San Luis Obispo409232
Placer405257
Yolo311958
Butte304151
Santa Cruz274425
Napa191815
Shasta183930
Sutter183012
San Benito141915
El Dorado13064
Yuba128810
Mendocino111821
Tehama8248
Lassen7641
Lake67815
Glenn6493
Nevada6018
Humboldt5619
Colusa5496
Calaveras33917
Amador31316
Tuolumne2584
Inyo22015
Siskiyou1870
Mono1762
Del Norte1751
Mariposa782
Plumas630
Modoc280
Trinity250
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 79°
Oroville
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 78°
Paradise
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 79°
Chester
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 59°
Red Bluff
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 81°
Willows
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 79°
Winds will not be as strong today, but the Red Flag Warning for high fire danger will continue through 5pm. Pleasant conditions are ahead for your Saturday, but then a more substantial wind event will bring extreme fire danger back into our forecast from Sunday through Monday.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events