Cheney, Libby and Rove

By Dan Froomkin
1:02 PM ET, 02/17/2009

Thomas M. DeFrank writes in the New York Daily News: "In the waning days of the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney launched a last-ditch campaign to persuade his boss to pardon Lewis (Scooter) Libby - and was furious when President George W. Bush wouldn't budge.

"Sources close to Cheney told the Daily News the former vice president repeatedly pressed Bush to pardon Libby, arguing his ex-chief of staff and longtime alter ego deserved a full exoneration - even though Bush had already kept Libby out of jail by commuting his 30-month prison sentence....

"Several sources confirmed Cheney refused to take no for an answer. 'He went to the mat and came back and back and back at Bush,' a Cheney defender said. 'He was still trying the day before Obama was sworn in.'

"After repeatedly telling Cheney his mind was made up, Bush became so exasperated with Cheney's persistence he told aides he didn't want to discuss the matter any further.

"The unsuccessful full-court press left Cheney bitter. 'He's furious with Bush,' a Cheney source told The News. 'He's really angry about it and decided he's going to say what he believes.'"

Stephen F. Hayes wrote last month in the Weekly Standard that, just one day after Cheney left office, the former vice president told him that Libby, "whom he described as a 'victim of a serious miscarriage of justice,' deserved a presidential pardon."

But Andy Barr writes for Politico that former Bush senior adviser Karl Rove disputed DeFrank's report: "'I know that he felt strongly about this,' Rove said during an interview on NBC's 'Today Show.' 'But I think the tabloids tend to get these things overblown. [Cheney and former President George W. Bush] are two very close men who have a long and enduring relationship that is good and positive.'"

Speaking of Rove, Marisa Taylor and Margaret Talev write for McClatchy Newspapers: "The Obama administration is asking for two more weeks to weigh in on whether former Bush White House officials must testify before Congress about the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.

"The request comes after an attorney for former Bush political adviser Karl Rove asked the White House to referee his clash with the House of Representatives over Bush's claim of executive privilege in the matter.

"House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., has issued a subpoena requiring Rove to appear next Monday to testify about the firings and other allegations that the Bush White House let politics interfere with the operations of the Justice Department.

"Michael Hertz, the acting assistant attorney general, said in a court brief released Monday that negotiations were ongoing.

"'The inauguration of a new president has altered the dynamics of this case and created new opportunities for compromise rather than litigation,' Hertz wrote in the brief dated Friday. 'At the same time, there is now an additional interested party — the former president — whose views should be considered.'"

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