Connect with us

Politics

Trump plans to pardon ‘Scooter’ Libby, former Cheney aide

Published

on

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

President Donald Trump plans to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted in 2007 of lying to the FBI and obstructing a CIA leak investigation, an administration official confirmed to NBC News.

ABC News reported earlier Thursday evening that Trump is poised to pardon Libby, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison but who had his sentence commuted by President George W. Bush. The conviction remained on his record.

 Former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, walks from federal court after the verdict in his case was read in federal court on March 6, 2007 in Washington. Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images file

Libby was convicted of one count of obstruction, two counts of perjury and one count of lying to the FBI about how he learned Plame’s identity and whom he told. Prosecutors said he learned about Plame from Cheney and others, discussed her name with reporters in 2003 and, fearing prosecution, made up a story to make those discussions seem innocuous.

The trial revealed that top members of the Bush administration were eager to discredit Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence on Iraq, the Associated Press reported at the time.

When Bush commuted Libby’s 2 ½-year prison sentence, the then-president noted in a statement that “neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation.”

Bush said at the time that the district court rejected advice from the probation office which recommended a lighter sentence, and said in a statement: “I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.”

Bush said then that the commutation “leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby,” that “the reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged,” and that “the consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.”

Trump in August pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order not to detain suspected undocumented immigrants.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said at the time that while Trump had the power to pardon Arpaio “doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called the pardon of Arpaio “an “explicit embrace of the racist policing practices that leave communities fearful.”

The White House said at the time that Arpaio was 85 years old and “after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”

In addition to pardoning Arpaio, Trump in December commuted the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, an Iowa kosher meatpacking executive who had been sentenced to 27 years in prison for money laundering.

The White House said in a statement then that “Mr. Rubashkin has now served more than 8 years of that sentence, which many have called excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes,” noted that his conviction remains, and said that the commutation decision was based on “on expressions of support from Members of Congress and a broad cross-section of the legal community.”

In March, Trump pardoned Kristian Saucier, a Navy submariner sentenced in August 2016 to 12 months in prison after taking photos inside the engine room on the USS Alexandria, a nuclear attack submarine. The pictures taken of the vessel’s propulsion system were classified “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the time that Saucier served out his year-long sentence, “has been recognized by his fellow service members for his dedication, skill and patriotic spirit” and that “the sentencing judge found that Mr. Saucier’s offense stands in contrast to his commendable military service.”

Source link

Politics

EU summit CANCELLED amid Covid panic as President Charles Michel forced to self-isolate

Published

on

EUROPEAN Council President Charles Michel has abandoned a leadership summit in Brussels after he was forced into quarantine.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Sen. Romney signals he’ll support a vote on Trump’s Supreme Court pick

Published

on

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Tuesday that he supports holding a Senate confirmation vote for the Supreme Court nominee that President Donald Trump plans to announce this weekend.

Romney’s occasional criticism of the Trump administration made him a possible vote against proceeding with the nomination, though it was clear Monday night that Republican leaders had locked up enough votes to move forward. So far only two Republican senators have said it is too close to the presidential election to consider a court nomination, not enough to block it.

Romney expressed no concerns about the timing of the vote.

“The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Accordingly, I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” Romney said in a statement.

Trump said Tuesday that he plans to announce his Supreme Court nominee on Saturday.

Trump had said he’s waiting to make the announcement until after services for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week. On Friday, Ginsburg will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, the first woman to do so, and a formal ceremony is expected to take place that morning.

Democrats oppose holding a Senate confirmation vote before the election, but have few avenues to block or slow the process. All eyes had been on Romney, a frequent Trump critic who voted to convict the president during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, as someone who could join Democrats to block the confirmation vote.

Romney’s announcement comes after Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of the most vulnerable GOP senators facing re-election, said Monday that he will back a hearing for Trump’s nominee.

This means that Republicans probably have enough votes to hold a confirmation vote on the eventual nominee. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Collins, who’s up for re-election in a tight race, said that they oppose holding a confirmation vote before the election.

Republicans can afford three defections in order to confirm the nominee, assuming all Democrats oppose the pick.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who will oversee the confirmation hearing in committee, said there would likely be a vote before the election and expects the hearings to last as long as they have previously, which can be up to three days.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol about his decision, Romney said that it made sense in 2016 for Senate Republicans not to hold a confirmation vote on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland because different parties controlled the White House and Senate. Romney, however, said that when the president and Senate majority are from the same party, they have the right to proceed with a Supreme Court confirmation vote.

“The decision to proceed now with President Trump’s nominee is also consistent with history. I came down on the side of the institution and precedent as I’ve studied it. And, and made the decision on that basis,” Romney said.

Asked about qualifications in a nominee, Romney said that he wants someone who is a “strict constructionist” in which they look at the law itself and the Constitution “as opposed to sort of looking into the sky and pulling out ideas that they think may be more appropriate than either the law or the Constitution.”

“I recognize that we may have a court which has more of a conservative bent than it’s had over the last few decades. But my liberal friends have over many decades gotten very used to the idea of having a liberal court. And that’s not written in the stars,” he said.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said that he’s optimistic that the GOP-controlled Senate will ultimately confirm the nominee.

“I fully believe that we’ll have the votes that there will be there, and whether it’s before the election or shortly after, I’m confident that this person will get confirmed and be the next justice on the Supreme Court,” he said.



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Boris Johnson offers coronavirus lifeline as UK's elderly will NOT be forced to shield

Published

on

BORIS JOHNSON has confirmed that people who were originally told to shield during the coronavirus pandemic will not be asked to do so again unless they live in an area that is under local lockdown.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending