Sunday, June 18, 2006
When will Our Dear Embattled Leader pardon Scooter?
Will he pre-emptively strike or wait until no one is looking? These are questions being asked in a report in Newsday today. One grain of salt, the person quoted most often is noted Republican stooge, Joe DiGenova, wife of well known Republican apologist Victoria Toecheese.
Bush has powerful incentives to pardon Libby, however. They range from rewarding past loyalty to ending the awkward revelations emerging from pretrial motions, a flow that could worsen in his trial next year.This is probably a "trial balloon" to see how much resistence there is to the idea. That means that this is the time to make noise about Republican coddling of criminals. Throw their words back at them, it's good for them.
Libby was indicted for lying in Fitzgerald's probe into who in the administration leaked the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters in 2003, apparently to undercut her husband's attack on Bush's war-justifying claim that Iraq sought uranium in Niger.
By demanding sensitive, sometimes embarrassing materials, some say, Libby appears to be goading the White House into issuing a pardon. Libby's spokeswoman did not respond to questions about a pardon.
One attorney familiar with the Plame case said Bush might find that it is in his interest to pardon Libby sooner rather than later.
A pardon before the trial could could cut off the disclosures and spare Vice President Dick Cheney from testifying as Fitzgerald's witness about Libby, his former chief of staff.
But the timing of a pardon, the attorney suggested, likely would depend on the outcome of the midterm elections.
If Republicans retain control of Congress, Bush could act swiftly. But if Democrats win control of the House or Senate, Bush might wait, and use Libby's trial as an excuse not to cooperate with any congressional investigations into the leak.
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