President Trump announced on Friday afternoon an unexpected full pardon for Scooter Libby — handing a big favor to one of his most vocal defenders.
That’s because the attorney who represents Scooter Libby is Victoria Toensing, wife of Joe diGenova. diGenova regularly appears on Fox News and rails against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign.
But while diGenova may not be directly working for Trump, he continues to do his bidding on the president’s favorite cable news channel.
On Wednesday, diGenova appeared on an edition of Hannity that was promoted by President Trump on Twitter. During a panel discussion, diGenova went as far as to say that “what Bob Mueller is doing and has done is destroying the Department of Justice, and for Jeff Sessions to sit there like a bump on a log and do nothing about it is disgraceful.”
Trump — who is currently trying to deal with Mueller’s investigation without the help of a White House communications director — has increasingly outsourced his messaging to Fox News.
On Thursday, CBS reporter Jacquelin Alemany said a source told her that Trump had called them the day before and asked them to appear on TV to attack Mueller.
A source tells me that Trump called yesterday and asked source to go on TV to call for Trump to fire Mueller. https://t.co/BI9GU4vx9L
— Jacqueline Alemany (@JaxAlemany) April 12, 2018
In a statement announcing the Libby pardon, Trump seemed to acknowledge his decision was based on hearsay and advice others gave him.
“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” Trump is quoted as saying, “but for many years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad potion of his life.”
Trump, of course, also believes he’s being treated unfairly by law enforcement. After his personal attorney was raided by FBI on Monday, Trump complained to reporters that he’s a victim of “a total witch hunt.” But to date, he’s been more restrained in his criticisms of the special counsel and top DOJ officials than diGenova is on Fox News.
The timing of the Trump’s sudden concern about Libby — who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, and who was convicted in 2007 of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice as part of the Bush administration’s effort to discredit CIA agent Valerie Plame — is notable, given that Mueller is currently investigating Trump and his campaign for obstruction of justice.
Trump’s decision to pardon Libby may be a signal to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison because of charges brought against him by Mueller, but who is still not cooperating with the investigation.