Former ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife, former CIA agent Valerie Plame railed against President Trump Friday after he pardoned Lewis “Scooter” Libby—a onetime aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.
“You want to betray your country? That’s fine, because Trump will pardon you if it suits his venal political interest. He is a vile and despicable individual who is undermining the democracy of our country,” Wilson told MSNBC in an interview with host Katy Tur Friday.
Libby was convicted by a jury in 2007 of perjury, obstructing justice and making false statements to the FBI when he lied about leaking Plame’s identity.
Former CIA officer Valerie Plame
Plame was outed in retaliation against Wilson, who had challenged the Bush administration’s justification of the Iraq War—which killed more than 4,000 Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Defense casualty website.
Plame appeared on the same network Friday to say that the pardon was symbolic and had nothing to do with Libby as an individual.
“It’s not about me, it’s absolutely not about ‘Scooter’ Libby,” she said. “It’s about Donald Trump and his future,” Plame told MSNBC. “It’s very clear that this is a message he is sending that you can commit crimes against national security and you will be pardoned.”
She condemned the message as “very damaging to our democracy and the rule of law.”
Trump said he pardoned Libby. whom he doesn’t know, because “he has been treated unfairly”—claims Plame shredded as completely false.
“That is simply false. Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in a fair trial. President George W. Bush closely reviewed the facts in the case at the behest of Vice President Dick Cheney, who urged a pardon,” she said in a statement to the Daily News.
“President Bush declined to issue a pardon, stating ‘I respect the jury’s verdict.’ He added, ‘And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable.’ President’s Trump’s pardon is not based on the truth,” she said.
Wilson fumed after the pardon was announced, saying it excuses “the entire neo-conservative subversive movement that drove this county to a false war in 2003 and which still has ambition to drive this country to war in Iran.”
He said he thinks Trump “has given a blanket pardon essentially to this movement and he has invited them back into his administration to lead a charge back into war.”
“He has basically given his seal of approval on things he claims to have been against, i.e. the war on Iraq,” Wilson told Tur.
Trump, like Libby, faces a special counsel that is investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 United States election.
Wilson said the presidential pardon signals that “you can get away with anything.”
He added that Trump is “essentially developing a coalition of extremists.”