- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Congressional Democrats fired off a letter Tuesday demanding the House hold hearings on President Trump’s decision last week to pardon former Bush White House figure I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, saying Mr. Trump is abusing his powers.

All of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee called on Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, to convene hearings.

The Democrats said Mr. Trump circumvented the usual pardon process at the Justice Department in granting clemency to Mr. Libby, who was convicted of obstruction of justice for attempting to thwart an investigation into who leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Mr. Trump also avoided the Justice Department process last year when he issued his first pardon to Joe Arpaio, a political ally and former sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona. Mr. Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt of court.

The Democrats said Mr. Libby’s pardon could be seen as a signal to those snared in the ongoing special counsel probe into the 2016 campaign to keep quiet and brave legal consequences, with the promise of a presidential pardon in the future.

“President Trump’s statements and actions suggest that he has a disturbing view of the pardon power. He seems to believe that he may wield it as a tool to protect those willing to flout the rule of law in the face of a criminal investigation or legal proceeding,” the Democrats said in their letter.

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