In the afternoon press briefing, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders provided an official statement, differing slightly from the written statement from the president, regarding the reason for Libby’s pardon:
“Before his conviction, Mr. Libby had rendered more than a decade of honorable service to the Nation as a public servant at the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the White House. His record since his conviction is similarly unblemished, and he continues to be held in high regard by his colleagues and peers. In light of these facts, the President believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon.”
The president’s focus on what he has heard from those close to him and their interpretation of fairness versus what is spelled out in the rule of law or the constitution concerns his critics.
@potus you listen to the wrong people if you heard that going to prison for lying to a Grand jury and obstructing justice is UNFAIR!
— Alive (@decemberjazz) April 13, 2018
Many people have said…and it’s a great beautiful thing…the best ever…I have been treated unfairly by those I have used my best words on…beautiful words…because they…I’ve heard this many times…and they are very unfair…Obama knows…we are the greatest…believe me.
— MaryH (@WomenSpoke4Me) April 13, 2018
hey @realDonaldTrump, our mandatory minimums are unfair.
now that you’ve heard they’re unfair, you should get to work on those pardons.
— chelsea adelaine hassler (@chelseaadelaine) April 13, 2018
Trump made no bones about not being an avid reader before his election and since assuming the presidency, he received flack for requiring briefings that were written to be done briefly and orally.
This tendency to rely solely on what he hears becomes problematic when action is taken or promises are made based on the retelling or rumor versus what is actually on the written page.
Such was the case with the Nunes Memo hype and eventual disappointment giving the administration a bit of a black eye with the public. The rumors far exceeded the actual content of a memo the administration had access to, but by all accounts failed to actually read.