Cummings Issues Statement Condemning President Trump’s Pardon of Scooter Libby
Cummings Issues Statement
Condemning President Trump’s
Pardon of Scooter Libby
Calls for Oversight Committee to Obtain Dick Cheney’s Interview with
Special Counsel After Outing of Covert CIA Operative
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 13, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon Scooter Libby:
“I personally participated in the Oversight Committee’s investigation of Scooter Libby’s role in outing covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, and I vehemently disagree with President Trump’s decision to pardon him for this grave—and politically motivated—national security breach.
“Libby testified that Vice President Dick Cheney may have instructed him to leak this CIA operative’s identity to the press, but the Bush White House covered up these crimes by directing Attorney General Mukasey to withhold from our Committee Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s interview of Vice President Cheney—a decision that our Committee determined on a bipartisan basis was a ‘legally unprecedented and an inappropriate use of executive privilege.’
“Although the President has the power of the pardon, Congress has the power of oversight. If President Trump believes Scooter Libby should now be pardoned for his crimes, then our Committee should return to our previous investigation and take the appropriate steps to obtain Vice President Cheney’s interview, which has been withheld improperly from Congress for the past decade.
“Unfortunately, this pardon appears to be the President’s attempt to assure current and former aides that if they protect him now—as Libby protected Vice President Cheney—he will use the power of his office to shield them from criminal punishment.”
On December 15, 2008, the Oversight Committee approved a bipartisan report by Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Ranking Member Tom Davis finding that President George W. Bush made a “legally unprecedented and an inappropriate use of executive privilege” when he directed Attorney General Michael Mukasey to withhold Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s interview of Vice President Cheney from the Committee.
According to the report:
“The Committee staff’s review of the reports of the FBI interviews with White House staff and other developments raised questions about the involvement of Vice President Cheney in the disclosure of Ms. Plame Wilson’s name and place of employment and the White House response to this disclosure. For example, the review of Mr. Libby’s FBI interview showed that Mr. Libby stated that it was ‘possible’ that Vice President Cheney instructed him to disseminate information about Ambassador Wilson’s wife to the press.”