WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a person familiar with the president’s decision.
The person said the announcement could come as early as Friday. The person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the decision ahead of its public announcement and demanded anonymity, said the pardon has been under consideration at the White House for months.
The move would mark the third pardon by Trump. He granted one last year for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was awaiting sentencing for contempt of court. Trump also has pardoned a U.S. Navy sailor, who was convicted after taking photos of classified portions of a submarine.
Libby, who served as Cheney’s chief of staff, was convicted in 2007 of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to FBI investigators. The case stemmed from a probe into the leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, though no one was charged for the leak.
The Libby case has been criticized by conservatives, who argue he was the victim of an overly zealous and politically motivated prosecution by a special counsel.
Some of those criticisms mirror Trump’s own attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, possible coordination with Trump associates and potential obstruction of justice by the president. Trump has called that probe a “witch hunt.”
President George W. Bush had previously commuted Libby’s prison sentence. Bush wrote in his 2010 memoir that Cheney lashed out at him in private for not granting Libby a full pardon.