We should have seen this coming.
More than a decade ago, I. Lewis Libby -- a.k.a. Scooter -- was convicted in federal court of lying to a grand jury and to the FBI and of obstructing justice. Libby had been chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and one of the leading architects of the US invasion of Iraq, which the Bush-Cheney administration sold to the public with false and hyperbolic claims regarding Saddam Hussein's (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction programs and his (nonexistent) alliance with Al Qaeda. President Donald Trump pardoned Libby on Friday.
There was no pressing reason for Trump to revive this matter. "I don't know Mr. Libby, but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly," the president said in a statement. That was hardly a rousing explanation. But there is this: Libby was prosecuted by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who had been appointed as special counsel in 2003 by a deputy attorney general named...James Comey. Whatever Trump's intent, the Libby pardon was a raised middle-finger to the fellow who has just compared Trump to a Mafia chieftain. It also sent a troubling signal that this president is not offended by those who stonewall the FBI and special counsels. Get the picture?