In this week’s Weekly Standard, editor Bill Kristol writes that Bush must pardon Libby immediately. “If the president does intend to pardon Libby, there is no reason to wait,” he writes.
Asked to comment further on his editorial, Kristol claimed this morning that pardoning Libby would remove the “cloud hanging over his White House and over the war.” He added that if Bush waits, “Fitzgerald will keep repeating that there’s a cloud over the White House, and Bush will be passive, and it will demoralize his supporters.” Watch it:
The reason a cloud exists over the White House is because it has failed to confront questions about the involvement of Bush, Cheney, Rove, and other key figures. As Juan Williams noted, if Bush were to pardon Libby, he would only exacerbate the cloud that exists.
“It would be more than a cloud,” Williams said. “It would be a veil at that point, because people would say there is no accountability in this administration for their actions and they excuse their friends.”
WALLACE: The special prosecutor said in his closing statement that there’s a cloud over the vice presidency, a cloud over the White House. If this appeal drags on with motions, and Fitzgerald responding to motions, and we have a year of back and forth, every time something like that is in the press, that will be there, and it’s unresponded to.
The president has taken the position that well, he can’t deal with this. There’s a trial going on. So someone has been convicted, I think unfortunately and unfairly, but nonetheless. Fitzgerald will keep repeating that there’s a cloud over the White House, and Bush will be passive, and it will demoralize his supporters.
He needs to pardon Libby now. I think that would actually reinvigorate his supporters and show that he’s willing to fight to defend his people and defend the war that he led us into.
I mean, it’s going to be hanging out there. Not to pardon him and to go into a defensive crouch, which is where the White House is now, is to leave that cloud hanging over his White House and over the war.
And even if things get better in Iraq, as I suspect they are thanks to the surge, there will be a sense of illegitimacy in the president’s effort to make the case for the war at the beginning and to respond to critics of the war like Joe Wilson, which his White House did entirely legitimately.
WILLIAMS: But don’t you think — I mean, look. The cloud exists. And if he were to pardon, he would exacerbate all those tensions. In fact, I think he would — it would be more than a cloud.
It would be a veil at that point, because people would say there is no accountability in this administration for their actions and they excuse their friends.