Cheney “In Bush's Face” During Final Days: Report

Bush pushed back at Cheney on "Plamegate"

Former President Bush had to fend off Dick Cheney's relentless requests to pardon an ex-staffer during their final days in office together, an experience that may have strained the friendship between both men, according to a report.

The former veep wanted George W. Bush to pardon Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, whose perjury conviction resulted from an investigation into outed CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000 for lying about his role in "Plamegate." Bush later commuted Libby's jail sentence but declined a full pardon, which would allow Libby to practice law. 

"Our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth," Bush said at the time. "And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable." 

While most requests for pardons are in writing and go through the Justice Department, Cheney took his case directly to the president on multiple occasions, Time magazine reported. During Bush's final week in office, Cheney became obsessed with clearing Libby's name.

He wouldn't take no for an answer.

"Cheney really got in the president's face," a family source told Time, which also interviewed dozens of anonymous White House insiders. "He just wouldn't give it up." 

With the help of aide Fred Fielding to revisit the case, Bush determined that Libby was not sufficiently remorseful about lying in court.

Cheney "didn't take it well" when Bush said he would not yield to his trusted adviser's wishes, with only a week to go until a change in administrations.

On his second to last day as president, Bush told Cheney for the final time that he would stand by his previous decisions.

Bush has largely stayed out of national politics since leaving office. Yet Cheney's campaign continues.

He released this statement in response to Time's report:

"Scooter Libby is an innocent man who was the victim of a severe miscarriage of justice. He was not the source of the leak of Valerie Plame's name. Former Deputy Secretary of State, Rich Armitage, leaked the name and hid that fact from most of his colleagues, including the President. Mr. Libby is an honorable man and a faithful public servant who served the President, the Vice President and the nation with distinction for many years. He deserved a presidential pardon."

Contact Us