Trump Just Pardoned Scooter Libby

Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff had been convicted of obstruction of justice.

Scooter Libby in 2015. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

President Trump has officially pardoned Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney who had been convicted of obstruction of justice in a 2003 leak of a CIA operative’s identity. Libby was also convicted for lying before a grand jury and to federal investigators. 

“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” President Trump said in a statement Friday, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”

Not everyone agreed. “President Trump’s pardon of Scooter Libby makes clear his contempt for the rule of law,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) said in a statement. “This pardon sends a troubling signal to the President’s allies that obstructing justice will be rewarded…Neither the President nor his allies are above the law.” 

Trump has previously pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of contempt of court and faced up to six months in jail.

Some observers have speculated that Trump’s motives in pardoning Libby might be intertwined with the president’s current legal problems. The move, writes James Hohmann of the Washington Post, “is the latest signal to his associates that he has the power and inclination to reward those who stay loyal during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.