July 2nd, 2007
06:57 PM ET
3 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. B. Matthes. Peoria, AZ

    The cronyism and favoritism in the White House must stop. On June 22nd, 2007, the United States Supreme Court made a decision (Rita v. United States, No. 06-5754) that upheld the sentencing of Victor Rita who was sentenced to thirty three months in jail for committing perjury while under oath before a federal grand jury and lying to federal agents. This decision by the Supreme Court seriously undermined “Scooter” Libby’s chance at reducing his own sentence. In little more then one week from the USSC decision, Libby’s prison sentence has now been commuted by our President.

    This decision reeks of favoritism and seems to follow in line with President Bush’s apparent viewpoint that he, and his administration, are above the law. Libby was convicted of wrongdoing by a jury of his peers, he was sentenced within the guidelines of the law, and the Supreme Court ruled that, under similar conditions, the sentence was fair, just, and legal.

    We must put a stop to the President’s obvious abuse of his power. We must stop allowing the President to circumvent the laws of this country. We must show the President that he and his administration are required to adhere to the very same laws that I and every other American adhere to, and that failure to adhere to those laws results in fair, just consequences. Not just for the Victor Rita’s in this country, but for every single American citizen.

    July 2, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  2. Paul Kleinstuber

    President Bush was totally within his constitutional right to commute Libby's jail time.It's a sad day when the Democrat leaders continue to show their strong dislike for the President and total disrespect for his office.
    Paul Kleinstuber

    July 2, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  3. Waxahachie, Texas

    I'm sorry our Congress is so afraid of Bush and Cheney they won't impeach them.

    July 2, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  4. John Samaras, Valdosta, Georgia

    Anyone who is willing to look at the entire case with an open mind will see that it all boils down to nothing more than what Libby said vs. what Tim Russert said. He said, he said, whoopedee doo. Libby's "crime", if there really ever was one, was committed as part of the investigation process. But it was never established that any violation of national security had in fact occurred. How can you obstruct justice when no crime was committed in the first place?

    The investigative process itself was fundamentally flawed by the one-sided politics and political ambitions of the prosecutor. Even CNN seems hell-bent on giving only the Democrat's negative reactions to the President's pardon of Libby. President Bush seems to be the only one capable of doing the right thing. Are we to believe that no one supports the President? I, for one, applaud the President's action.

    July 2, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. Carl B Lafoon

    I think it is time for the American people to remind Busch and Chaney that they represent the American People. They are accountable to us and they are failing.
    I wish I could IMPACT what my Government is doing, it is an embarassment.

    July 2, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  6. Steve Wagner, WI

    Has anyone ever considered the Impeachment Option?? Just add this one to the list.

    July 2, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  7. jeremy, asheville north carolina

    should we be suprised?

    July 2, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  8. Matthew Prickett Cisco, Texas

    What a sad day, when the United States president sets a criminal free.
    Bush should open the prison doors and set all criminals free.
    This is a slap in the face to all honest American citizens.
    What kind of message is he sending young Americans, that its ok to lie, and be a traitor if you are a Republican?
    Hopefully this will be a wake up call to the people of this great country and every one will demand an impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

    July 2, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  9. Jennifer Mitchell, SD

    Congratulations George W.!!! President Carter only missed on one important issue when declaring you the worst. You clearly are the worst 2-term president this country has ever seen.

    July 2, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  10. Bill, Morgantown, WV

    Once and for all time, President Bush has proven that he cares little about our Constitution, our Laws and our Nation.

    Today, President Bush flipped America the Bird.

    If President Bush's actions of today do not prove to you how morally corrupt he is, then nothing will.

    I even question President Bush's faith. As a faithful Christian, I do not believe that President Bush's actions of today demonstrate Christian or Moral values.

    Instead, it demonstrates clearly that he only values greed, corruption and self-preservation.

    At this point, I believe that President Bush will lead this Nation into the darkest depths of depravity and corruption unparalleled in US history unless we challenge this Administration in EVERYTHING it attempts to do. EVERYTHING, this Administration proposes, does and says must be suspect and must be challenged.

    We are lead by a morally bankrupt leader. We the People must now lead this Nation ourselves or we are doomed to follow the dark path this President has set upon.

    Bill, Morgantown, WV

    July 2, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  11. Don Mazursky, Atlanta, Georgia

    The nation was appalled two weeks ago when a sheriff let Paris Hilton out of jail early with home arrest instead of serving her full sentence for a traffic violation. By comparison, the American people should be outraged at, and truly ashamed of, the conduct of our current President who so easily thumbs his nose at the laws to which the rest of must respect or pay the consequences. I feel like we're actually living in a real life version of "Little Bush".

    July 2, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  12. Patt J, Atlanta, GA

    What does it take to IMPEACH the President. All it took was a lie about personal business (that should have been handled between a man and his wife) to IMPEACH Bill Clinton. How many people have to die and how many more criminals will it take to run the White House.

    July 2, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  13. Bill, Bella Vista, CA

    Can Pelosi please put impeachment back on the table? At least it will forestall Bush pardoning Cheney and the whole raft of others. Just like dear old dad pardoning Weinberger before he could testify. Runs in the family.

    July 2, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. Shelly, Carbondale IL

    I am sickened. the concepts of democracy and justice are laughable at this time in our country. It is indeed a dark day.

    July 2, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  15. Violet Cauthon

    The only surprise in the Scooter Libby saga is that commutation came so quickly. Do you suppose Rove and Cheney think we "little people" will forget by election 2008? This little person won't.

    Violet Cauthon
    Las Cruces, NM

    July 2, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. Joe . Sacramento, Califonria

    I take it in the CNN world, nobody but Democratic candidates for president have opinions on the Libby Pardon. Libby Skates, quite a headline, for a man who is on probation for two years and has to pay a quarter million dollar fine. It's not surprising that CNN could find a single republican or conservative to comment on the pardon. Keep up the biased work. We're all noticing.

    July 2, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  17. Donald

    The executive branch of the government was not supposed to be able to have the kind of power that geoege bush is throwing around. It is time for the democrats to do something besides talk, Whatever it takes to hold the bush administation accountable should be done. Time to grow a spine democrats.

    July 2, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  18. Lori Cardille Pittsburgh Pa.

    Dont' you think this is a big story CNN? Shame on you. Isaiah Washington is on Larry King instead of this incredible news about Bush commuting Libbys sentence!!!!
    CNN used to be such a wonderful network. You are losing a very loyal audience member. Why don't you put Thom Hartman on to educate you and the public about what's really going on. Listen to him on AIR AMERICA, you may learn something.
    As for our dictators Bush and Cheney? I think it's time to IMPEACH!!!! WAKE UP AMERICA! WAKE UP CNN!

    July 2, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  19. Bob Brewer....Carbondale Illinois

    Once again President Bush has put himself and his administration above the law. Where are all the people now that impeached President Clinton for an affair.....

    July 2, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  20. Oscar ,Carrollton Texas

    These two crooks (Bush,Cheney)have just made our Justice System obsolete.
    They waisted the time of a jury and said "We do not care what your decision is. We are above the law and are letting this bird out of the cage."
    Now we know why Jury Duty is a waste of time.

    July 2, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  21. Jeffrey K. Graf

    Why all Democrats? I'm a registered Democrat and wonder why you only got quotes from one side of the issue.

    I'm not sure that I would have pardoned him; but you still should have feedback from the other side of the aisle.

    July 2, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  22. Nick Gonzalez, Antioch, Ca.

    The Cheney, coverup is now complete.
    Republicans kmow they can commit crimes and not have to pay for them.

    July 2, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  23. Ed Noel, Chicago, Illinois

    As Independence Day nears the President shows his utter comtempt for the rule of law. This man lied in a federal investigation. He was prosecuted by a Republican-appointed prosecutor (who truely belives in the law), indicted by a grand jury of his peers, convicted by a trial jury of his peers on not one, but four counts and now the president gives him a get out of jail free pass because the sentence, which strictly follows federal sentencing guidelines, is "excessive". Yet when the Pope asked him to commute the sentence of Karla Fay Tucker while he was Gov. of Texas, he wouldn't "overrule" a jury.

    Then they have the nerve to compare this to Clinton's pardon of Susan McDougal. Let's remember Susan McDougal spent months in prison first and was released not by the president but buy a federal judge following the rule of law. Her husband served time in prison, as did another Clinton administration appointee, Web Hubbel. This isn't even close. I too urge all Americans who truly love their country (and what it used to stand for) more than their party to flood the White House with telegrams, emails and phone calls denouncing this abuse of power.

    July 2, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. Paul D. Pietroski Richmond CA

    Where is Hillary?

    July 2, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  25. Lauren, Kaysville, UT

    This entire trial was pathetic. I'm glad Bush made this decision. He should have never been convicted.

    July 2, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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