Inside Bush and Cheney's Final Days

A TIME investigation reveals the dispute that split George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as they left the White House — and shows why the struggle over their legacy is just beginning

Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

Bush and Cheney, pictured in October 2001, planned the war on terrorism but broke over whether to pardon one of its key architects

Hours before they were to leave office after eight troubled years, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney had one final and painful piece of business to conclude. For over a month Cheney had been pleading, cajoling, even pestering Bush to pardon the Vice President's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. Libby had been convicted nearly two years earlier of obstructing an investigation into the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity by senior White House officials. The Libby pardon, aides reported, had become something of a crusade for Cheney, who seemed prepared to push his nine-year-old...

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