On Fox this evening, Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes argued that Bush will pardon Scooter Libby because “he didn’t really seriously impede the investigation,” and “he’s been a loyal and effective member of this administration.” Watch it.
In fact, Libby did “seriously impede the investigation.” Count 1 on the jury’s verdict ruled that Libby had obstructed the investigation, preventing special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald from conclusively determining why he disclosed undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity to reporters. As Fitzgerald previously explained: “What we have when someone charges obstruction of justice, the umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes. He’s trying to figure what happened and somebody blocked their view.”
Libby now faces up to 10 years in prison for the obstruction count alone.
While the White House did not offer much comment in response to the Libby indictment, press spokeswoman Dana Perino notably did not rule out a pardon. Perino claimed Bush “respected the jury’s verdict.” Respect can be shown by honoring the jury’s finding that Libby deserves punishment for impeding a serious national security investigation.
UPDATE: Newshounds notes that while Fox News’ conservatives have been spinning the Libby decision, the network’s purported “liberal” legal analyst Greta van Sustern has never mentioned the Libby trial.