I’ve been seeing this around the web tonight, the argument that Bush commuted Libby’s sentence rather than opting for the full pardon in order to shield himself and Darth Cheney from further scrutiny. I believe this is probably the closest to the truth we’re going to get in this matter.
Well, George did it. Made sure that Scooter wouldn’t flip rather than do jail time. He commuted Libby’s sentence, guaranteeing not only that Libby wouldn’t talk, but retaining Libby’s right to invoke the Fifth.
This amounts to nothing less than obstruction of justice.
Is it “obstruction of justice” to shield those who could end up testifying against you?
Most likely yes.
TPM Reader PT notes what many others have also flagged …
I haven’t seen this noted but I think the reason for the commutation is that a pardon would mean that Libby was no longer exposed to criminal sanctions and thus had no Fifth Amendment privilege. As it stands he has a fine and probation at stake during the pendency of the appeal which insulates him (and Bush and Cheney) from having to answer questions before Congress.