July 2nd, 2007
06:57 PM ET
4 years ago

Libby commutation: Washington responds

Washington was quick to react to the Libby commutation Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Following are reactions to President Bush's announcement Monday that he has commuted the sentence of former vice presidential chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby:

Melanie Sloan, legal counsel to Joe and Valerie Wilson
"First, President Bush said any person who leaked would no longer work in his administration. Nonetheless, Scooter Libby didn't leave office until he was indicted and Karl Rove works in the White House even today. More recently, the vice president ignored an executive order protecting classified information, claiming he isn't really part of the executive branch. Clearly, this is anadministration that believes leaking classified information for political ends is justified and that the law is what applies to other people."

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and presidential candidate
"This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an Administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law. This is exactly the kind of politics we must change so we can begin restoring the American people's faith in a government that puts the country's progress ahead of the bitter partisanship of recent years."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York
"As Independence Day nears, we are reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under the law. This commutation completely tramples on that principle."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada
"The President's decision to commute Mr. Libby's sentence is disgraceful. Libby's conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War. Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone. Judge Walton correctly determined that Libby deserved to be imprisoned for lying about a matter ofnational security. The Constitution gives President Bush the power to commute sentences, but history will judge him harshly for using that power to benefit his own Vice President's Chief of Staff who was convicted of such a serious violation of law."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California
"The President's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct, and is a betrayal of trust of the American people. The President said he would hold accountable anyone involved in the Valerie Plame leak case. By his action today, the President shows his word is not to be believed. He has abandoned all sense of fairness when it comes to justice, he has failed to uphold the rule of law, and he has failed to hold his Administration accountable."

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, presidential candidate
"Last week Vice President Cheney asserted that he was beyond the reach of the law. Today, President Bush demonstrated the lengths he would go to, ensuring that even aides to Dick Cheney are beyond the judgment of the law. It is time for the American people to be heard - I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law."

Former Sen. John Edwards, presidential candidate
"Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today. President Bush has just sent exactly the wrong signal to the country and the world. In George Bush's America, it is apparently okay to misuse intelligence for political gain, mislead prosecutors and lie to the FBI. George Bush and his cronies think they are above the law and the rest of us live with the consequences. The cause of equal justice in America took a serious blow today."

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, presidential candidate
"It's a sad day when the President commutes the sentence of a public official who deliberately and blatantly betrayed the public trust and obstructed an important federal investigation," said Governor Richardson. "This administration clearly believes its officials are above the law, from ignoring FISA laws when eavesdropping on US citizens, to the abuse of classified material, to ignoring the Geneva Conventions and international law with secret prisons and torturing prisoners.

There is a reason we have laws and why we expect our Presidents to obey them. Institutions have a collective wisdom greater than that of any one individual. The arrogance of this administration's disdain for the law and its belief it operates with impunity are breathtaking.

Will the President also commute the sentences of others who obstructed justice and lied to grand juries, or only those who act to protect President Bush and Vice President Cheney?"

Former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson, likely presidential candidate
I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the President's decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, presidential candidate
“Today's decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. This case arose from the Administration's politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies. Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House's efforts to quell dissent. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.”

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, presidential candidate
"After evaluating the facts, the President came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct."


Filed under: Scooter Libby
soundoff (1,240 Responses)
  1. greg

    i am a republican, and i don't like the democrats, but bush makes me ashamed to say im a republican. i want this man impeached. we can all agree that mr bush has decided that he alone is the final word of the law.

    yes the constitution gives him the right, but was not intended for guilty criminals.

    bush you really make me ashamed to be a republican. i supported you once, but now i think your a horrible person, the same as sherriff baca.

    July 2, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  2. EUGENE KERN N. PALM BEACH FL

    THE HORROR OF THIS ACT IS BEYOND RATIONAL THOUGHT....AS AN INDEPENDENT (* IHAVE VOTED FOR CANDIDATES FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE) I AM APPALLED BY THIS PRESIDENT AND THIS ACT. HE HAS NOT DONE THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED HIM ANY FAVORS.IT IS A SAD DAY FOR BOTH THE PRESIDENT AND OUR SYSTEM.

    July 2, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  3. Dan, Salisbury, NC

    Why are only democratic politicians represented in this posting? Sure both sides disagree, but CNN has gone out of their way to make this a partisan posting.

    July 2, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  4. Kevin, Birmingham, AL

    This administration has done more to damage this country through its cynical abuse of power than any terrorist cell. Irreparable damage to this country is not through external attacks but by undermining peoples belief in the ideals espoused by our forefathers. Mr. President you have managed to do more damage than any terrorist cell.

    July 2, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  5. Will, Los Angeles CA

    The fact thaqt Bush would do this is scummy enough. But the fact that he still believes he has enough political capital to get away with it in the eyes of the public is bayond my understanding. Perhaps he just doesn't care anymore?

    July 2, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. Glen Jameson, Denver, Colorado

    There is no doubt that the President's commutation of the sentence of a man who compromised the nation's security is despicable. Equally repulsive are the members of Congress who rightfully criticize the President while they advocate an immigration policy that solves and compromises national security on a much larger scale.

    July 2, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  7. hans blix

    The White House message is loud and clear. If you are a Bush supporter, then the constitution does not apply to you. Crime pays for Bush and his cohorts.

    July 2, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Tacita, DeKalb, IL

    And this, my friends, is a prime example of why I am sometimes ashamed to be an American. We hold up these ideals of how strong and fair our justice system is, and yet by knowing the right people, or by being famous (Libby and Paris Hilton, are prime examples) you can get off very nearly scott-free.

    Way to go, President Bush. I'm so pleased to have a president who can sleep well at night allowing executions to go forward without stay or reprieve, but can let someone free that at worst compromised our national security.

    July 2, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  9. Durron,Clawson,Mi

    Bush is a joke and a complete idiot.

    July 2, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  10. bob, atlanta ga

    Wow! Completely negative reactions from all commentators. Of course, you only asked Democrats.

    July 2, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  11. Marc, Lawrence, MA

    Welcome to the United Corporations of America- if you want to talk to "your" representative, who was carefully selected for you by the Corporations and their related interests, you need to hire a lobbyist, which you probably cannot afford.

    If you do not have enough money or do not know the right people, you are guilty and will do the time. Skoots new the right people in this case, and could break any law that was needed to get the job done of the UCA's president. Even our votes are being decided by the Supreme Court (2000) and by programmable electronic machines in Ohio (oddly enough in 2004).

    * Congress needs to moderate the actions of the Executive Branch.
    * We need TERM LIMITS in Congress.
    Corporations have no business in OUR government- ban all lobbyists from government contact
    * Impeach Bush and Cheney, and then
    * Vote all encumbants out of office! Time for a RESET.

    July 2, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  12. john collins richmond va

    How many more days until Bush is out of office?!

    July 2, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. Catherine, Webster NY

    Let's see - Paris Hilton gets 45 days in jail for violating parole resulting from driving violations. Scooter Libby, convicted of 2 counts of perjury to a grand jury, 1 count obstruction of justice, 1 count lying to the FBI? Not a single day. Only in America.

    July 2, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Gerald Edwards, Essex Junction, VT

    Where does it end? What abuse of power will it take for us and/or our elected representatives to finally rise up and throw these miscreants out of OUR White House? I was against impeachment before, thinking it a wasteful distraction after the ordeal with President Clinton, but I was totally wrong. We need to impeach and convict both Bush and Cheney; and literally put THEM in jail. And Karl Rove too while we're at it. We must remind ourselves and prove to future generations of Americans that power singularly vests from our Constitution and the collective will of "We The People", not from the unbridled hubris of 'leaders' run amuck. If we don't do it – who will?

    July 2, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  15. Bruce Hinkel, Grand Rapids,Michigan

    This administration continues to twist the law to serve it's needs, and will surely go down as the most corrupt and least friendly to personal rights and privacy. Unless, of course, you are Scooter Libby and the inevitable cavalcade of prosecutions to come-Mr Bush will personally insure their freedom.

    The full breadth of the constitutional crisis know as the Bush presidency will take a generation to correct.

    I am outraged.

    July 2, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  16. marc poelvoorde

    It's time to put impeachment on the table!

    July 2, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. Zeke, Port Jefferson, NY

    Even before today, this man would be remembered as one of the worst presidents ever. Today cemented that legacy. And to think we still have another year and a half of him! God help us all.

    July 2, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. J. Alan Shemelya; Orlando, FL

    We should not be surprised. President Bush, Dick Cheney have no respect for the rule of law, have lied, continue to lie and such behavior and actions have destroyed the integrity and moral character of this country. I find it ironic that their purpose in ascending to the White House was based on establishing a clearer sense of morality. How interesting that they have denegrated the very fiber of morality in this country – "our rules of law". We should not wait for history to judge this act and Administration. We should take to the streets in a civil manner to express our outrage.

    July 2, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. Don, Fairfax, VA

    Like each Democratic candidate wouldn't have done the same thing if it involved their party and they were in office.

    A history footnote to remember - President Bush commuted the sentence, he didn't pardon Libby.

    July 2, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. Dan, Essex, CT

    President Bush will commute and maybe one day pardon this conviction for a political ally and one of his own, but has he ever thought of pardoing the black male stuck in jail over an antiquated law pertaining to sexual intercourse between minors, even though he has won his appeal?!?!!?! COME ON!!!

    July 2, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  21. Darren, Bluffton, SC

    43rd President above the Law<b>
    Why do we still leave this blundering idiot named George Bush in office even though he has done more illegal/immoral things than any other president I can think of? What is happening to this country?
    It will probably take at least two years for the next president to clean up the mess that George created. I wish we could just remove George and Dick from office.
    He will be remembered for one thing…<b> “The Worst President in US History.”

    July 2, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. lolatlibs,shreveport,La

    what ever happened to sandy bergler?? give me a phreakin break libs.

    July 2, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  23. Jamie Bronstein, Las Cruces, NM

    I would say "it's a sad day for America," but we've had nothing but sad days since Bush was elected in 2000. He's been trampling on the Constitution since his first day in office. WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER.

    July 2, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  24. Julie Anne

    Libby was not convicted of leaking classified material. That was Armitage. Libby is convicted of lying, again, not leaking. We are getting misinformation from the left side of the aisle. Then, Sandy Berger comes to mind. He stole classified documents...stuffed in his trousers and destroyed. An actual crime. He plead guilty and got off. Mr. Libby ~ I'm happy for you and your family this evening!

    July 2, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. Brad, Carlisle PA

    Sorry, the perspective canidates and members of Congress can posture all they want. To me it it is just a bunch of peacocks strutting around with their featehrs out; all show.
    How can a Democrat feel they are in any postiton to critize the president. Since the recent elections the Dems have done nothing to further the goals the professed before the election. iraq, Congressional reform and a more open government..... all BS.
    They all need to be removed. Is it too late to start over because they are all corrupt, never represent the people that elected them and have only their interests as a priority.
    We have a president that is an ego-maniac and a congress to dumb to do anything about it.

    July 2, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
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