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Democrats looked upon Donald Trump’s recent pardon of Scooter Libby with complete disdain.  We howled.  We screamed. We complained.  We used the pardon as an example of Trump’s dishonesty.  All of the reactions occurred almost immediately without regard for some basic facts.  Once the facts are known, maybe we howl without legitimate cause.

Scooter Libby was serving as Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff during the last Bush Administration. A few months after the invasion of Iraq, a reporter, Bob Novak revealed the name of a covert CIA employee. This revelation came after the employee’s husband wrote a scathing article about one of the Bush Administrations main rationale’s for going to war, namely that Saddam Hussein was trying to acquire nuclear material.  At that time, many individuals believed that the Bush Administration or someone within it, was trying to retaliate after the negative article.

Scooter Libby eventually admitted that he had been one of the individuals who “outed” the CIA officer.  However, he lied about his source.   He lied to the FBI.  (Sound familiar?)   A Special Counsel investigation was involved in the process.  It took three years for the outcome.  Scooter Libby, a Columbia Law School graduate, was convicted of making false statements in a federal investigation, perjury, and obstruction of justice.  Libby was sentenced to prison.  However, President Bush commuted his sentence.  The guilty verdicts were not removed from his record.   The fact that he was not pardoned by President Bush, caused a chilling effect on the relationship between Vice President Cheney and President Bush.  Cheney, for the most part had his wings clipped within the Administration and his power and sway over President Bush was reduced markedly.

Democrats were overjoyed with the verdicts but not happy with the commutation of sentence.  Interestingly enough, Democrats howled when President Clinton was impeached for lying to the FBI.  These same Democrats basically lost their minds when a Republican did the same basic thing.  There is no greater evidence of the tribalism that has invaded our political discourse.

The story gets more convoluted as you are about to see.  On the last day of his Presidency, President Clinton pardoned a man named Marc Rich, a very rich oil trader who was a fugitive of justice.  His crimes included income tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, and trading with an enemy of the United States, (Iran) while it held American hostages.

Rich fled the United States and took refuge in Switzerland where there was no extradition treaty.  The thing that makes this pardon look even worse than it seems is that the normal process for determining pardons within the Administration was never followed.  According to the New York Times, the pardon was “a shocking abuse of federal power.”  Republicans became absolutely unhinged about the pardon.

There was an investigation into whether or not Rich’s ex-wife was donating large sums to the Clinton Presidential Library. We would do well to understand the reality of the political discourse regarding pardons.

  1. A Democrat President, Bill Clinton pardoned a fugitive from justice without using normal protocols.
  2. A Republican President, Donald Trump pardoned Scooter Libby without using normal protocols.
  3. Democrats bark at the moon about the Libby pardon.
  4. Republicans bark at the moon about the Rich pardon.

Political amnesia by both tribal communities results in incoherent arguments, screeching, howling, and barking at the moon. None of those actions change the facts involved.  Before howling, both tribes would be better served if the FACTS and the TRUTH about the situation was known.

Here is the most interesting part of the story.  Guess who the lawyer was that represented Marc Rich in his bid for a pardon?




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