Politics

Seth Moulton criticizes Trump pardon and Starbucks arrests in Philadelphia

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press/File

Representative Seth Moulton stepped into the fray of another national controversy Saturday, inserting himself into the controversy after two black men were arrested at a Starbucks shop in Philadelphia.

“A white man in America can be convicted of obstructing justice and get a Presidential pardon,” the Salem Democrat wrote on Twitter. “But if you’re black, you get arrested for meeting your friend at a coffee shop.”

Moulton was referring to President Trump’s pardon on Friday of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice in 2007. Libby, an aide to then-Vice President Dick Cheney, was under investigation for leaking the identity of a covert CIA officer.

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Libby’s prison term was commuted by President George W. Bush in 2007, but he didn’t receive a full pardon.

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Police said the men were arrested Thursday after they refused multiple requests to leave the store. The men said they were waiting there to meet a friend.

Starbucks issued an apology Saturday, saying it was “disappointed this [incident] led to an arrest.”

The men were taken into custody and later released “because of a lack of evidence,” the Philadelphia district attorney’s office said.

Sean Smyth can be reached at sean.smyth@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @smythsays.