Washington (United States) (AFP) – US President Donald Trump plans to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former chief of staff to former vice president Dick Cheney, who was convicted of perjury in connection with leaking a CIA officer’s identity, reports said.
ABC News said Trump had already signed off on the pardon which he had been considering for months. CNN also carried the report, citing a White House official.
It would mark another controversial pardon by the president, who has previously reportedly contemplated pardons for former aides now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegations of collusion with the Trump campaign.
Last year, Trump pardoned Arizona ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of violating a court order to halt traffic patrols targeting suspected unauthorized immigrants.
Libby was handed a 30-month prison sentence for perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators in 2007.
His sentence was commuted by former president George W Bush, who declined however to issue a pardon — reportedly sparking a rift between him and Cheney.
The affair dates back to July 2003 when the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of a diplomat who had accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the threat posed by Iraq, was leaked to the press.
Libby was not accused of blowing Plame’s cover, but of lying during the subsequent inquiry.
Bush critics claim Libby was part of a White House effort to punish Plame’s husband, former US ambassador Joseph Wilson, whom the CIA sent to Niger in February 2002 to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium for nuclear bombs.