Last Minute Pardons, Anyone?
Politico runs down the top 10 last-minute pardons to look for. High on the list of possibilities:
Status: Convicted in 2007 of obstruction of justice, false statements, and perjury in investigation into leak of identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. Sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, two years probation and $250,000 fine; prison sentence commuted by Bush before service. A Libby pardon has strong support among conservatives. “Scooter Libby was not guilty of the original crime trumpeted by the media and the Democrats for campaign purposes. He was not responsible for the leak…..It’s a travesty, it seems to me,” said Dick Carlson, a former Voice of America chief and ambassador.
Pros: Vice President Dick Cheney views Libby as loyal; disbarment and lack of employment could be seen as punishment; on leaving office, presidents Clinton and Bush (41) also pardoned senior officials
Cons: Could remind public of Bush’s failure to dismiss those accused of leaking Plame’s identity; risk of public outcry for leaving full pardon for final days of presidency when it could have been done sooner.
Politico Odds: 1 to 2
Status: A special prosecutor based in Connecticut, Nora Dannehy, has been assigned to review whether Gonzales misled Congress or otherwise interfered with inquiries into the firings of U.S. attorneys. He’s also being investigated for allegedly preparing false after the fact notes of 2004 congressional briefing about warrantless surveillance. Gonzales has denied wrongdoing, but lacks a solid job and could still run up big legal bills trying to ward off a prosecution.
Pros: Gonzales a longtime loyal Bush aide; arguably punished by lack of significant employment since resigning under pressure in 2007
Cons: Pardon could be seen as self-serving since it was Bush who reportedly asked Gonzales to memorialize 2004 Congressional meeting; will prompt charges of cronyism.
And, then, of course, one wonders if there will one day be a push to pardon the pardoner.Click here for reuse options!
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