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. Lisa Smith, Atlanta, Georgia

    Disgusting. Bush is, again, above the law. Equal justice does not exist in this regime.

    July 3, 2007 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  2. Paul Geisler Lawrence, KS

    It is so sad to see the very principles of our federal government squandered by the very leaders that were elected to uphold them. I am outraged that Bush would exempt Libby from the consequences of his actions, but it only signifies to me that Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the corrupt current Administration are behind the outing of Valeria Plame, and therefore are willing to share in the shame and criticism that Bush's current action, and soon to be outright pardon, will certainly evoke from the American people. What a travesty of justice!!!

    July 3, 2007 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  3. Kanesh, Jaffna Sri Lanka

    It could be that Libby knows more and may be black mailing both the Vice President and the President of the USA.

    July 3, 2007 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  4. Andrew Grabby

    Welcome to the United States of Haliburton. After todays Action by the President is there any doubt as to what really happened on election day 6 years ago? The American People have been majorly Ripped off, Cant We the people put these crooks behind bars for treason? Oh I forget..The Atty General is in their pockets too.What a bunch of crooked losers.

    July 3, 2007 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  5. Bill, Goshen, Virginia

    This clearly demonstrates the openly criminal motives of the President and his cohorts. The security and continuity of government in the USA is being put in eminent danger by the selfish and malicous actions of the present administration.

    July 3, 2007 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  6. SERGE CRESPY

    "SCOOTER'S" COMMUTED SENTENCE WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A "FULL PARDON", ONE AND ONE HALF YEAR FROM NOW .....

    July 3, 2007 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  7. JP Malvern,PA

    Yet again the republician party feels its above the law and its citizens. President Bush and his entire crew of goonies should be put on trial by the international courts for war crimes and put on trial in the United States for the murding of thousands of US troops and for obstruction of Justice on many many issues.
    This man is acting no better then those this country hates. Bush said the terrorist hate us for our freedom well I have a question for AWOL Bush What freedom you have taken everyone away basically and put restrictions on the rest. It is a true mockery of or Justice System and for what this country use to stand for.

    July 3, 2007 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  8. Carter, Thousand Oaks, CA

    Lying cretins, the lot of them. How they could virtually lynch Clinton for what he did and then cakewalk through the endless list of disgraceful misdeeds that deeply hurt our country says something about our collective apathy that is truly disturbing.

    July 3, 2007 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  9. Samuel A Brown, Roseville, CA

    I agree with Mr Earl from Florida. Until both Dems and Reps address, first, corporate lobbying and the corruption of money flows and money laundering to the political parties and second, the unfettered, political gerrymandering of congressional districts, 90% of Americans may as well remain bent over and hope lubricant is administered before penetration continues.

    July 3, 2007 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  10. Martin Wilson, Baghdad, Iraq

    I find it intriguing that CNN captured the comments of eight non-supporters and only two supporters, resulting in a not-so-subtle 80% disapproval, 20% approval interview record regarding the President's decision. Hardly representative. Of course the Dems aren't going to agree: They're still hung up on the 2000 election outcome. I believe this continued behavior is now recognized as a condition classified as a clinically-diagnosed mental condition. Interesting ...

    July 3, 2007 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  11. Michael minorgan, montreal, Canada

    I'm a Canadian, but everyday I see how your president (small"p") holds your country up to shame and ridicule and I am completely amazed at his complete disregard for the laws of the land. I can't believe you put up with him and why in God's name did you ever re-elect this lier AND DECEIVER????
    Surely the impeachment of President Clinton pales in comparison to what should happen to George W. It will take decades to repair the distrust and shame he has brought upon your country world wide.

    July 3, 2007 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  12. Geoffrey Ruch

    Judgement day is now upon us. So good luck Scooter, George, Dick, Condi, etc., etc., etc., incl. dems like Hillary!, Corporate-imperialist-colonialist "Americans". I kid you not. If you've got some prayers, now might be a good time to start sayin em. Geoffrey

    July 3, 2007 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  13. C J Vickers, Sammamish, WA

    The commutation of Federal Prisoner No. 28301-016 prison time strongly suggests that "The Commuter" fears what the Scooter would say once he put on his bright orange uniform.

    Imagine that, a bushman chickenhawk in federal uniform. Can't have that. Reserve his number for Carl Rove or the Veep Creep for he was a willing apparatchik and send to Quantanamo or Iraq.

    July 3, 2007 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  14. Zunaid, JHB,Gauteng

    If this is the justice in America, i wonder what the justice would be like in Iraq,Afganistan and Guantanamo.America, your leaders are a reflection of you.

    July 3, 2007 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  15. SHERRY EUREKA, CA

    IF THE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO LET OFF SCOOTER LIBBY FOR WHAT HE DID AND ALL THAT IT MEANT. MR. BUSH SHOULD LET THE BOARDER GUARDS OUT OF PRISON FOR DOING THEIR JOBS AND DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY FROM IT'S ENEMIES. MR. BUSH IS GIVING HIS POLITICAL FRIENDS A FREE PASS TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT. BUT THE BOARDER GUARDS DOING THEIR JOBS WITH THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE GO TO PRISON FOR PROTECTING US ALL. THAT IS WRONG IN SO MANY WAYS. MR. BUSH SHOULD REMOVE THE SENTENCE FOR THE BOARDER GUARDS FROM THEIR RECORDS AND GIVE THEM THEIR BACK PAY FOR THE TIME THEY WERE IN PRISON AT THE SAME TIME HE RELEASES THEM FROM PRISON. ALSO THE MAN THEY CAUGHT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUT IN PRISON NOT SENT HOME TO DO IT AGAIN AND AFTER TESTIFING AGAINST THE BOARDER GUARDS. THE JUDGES WHO DID THIS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO PRACTICE AGAIN. THEIR JUDGEMENT IS PREVERTED.

    July 3, 2007 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  16. Beck, Denton, TX

    Perhaps now it will finally be possible for Mr. Kucinich's articles of impeachment against Cheney to gain some traction. Why is everybody so afraid to hold these creeps accountable? None of the other Dems felt it was politically prudent to stand with Kucinich, and this ought to remind us of why our party gets no respect.

    July 3, 2007 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  17. Scott, Boston, MA

    This action just undermines any efforts the administration has taken to try and cement the gaping hole in the public's trust. Seeing that the 4th of July is tomorrow, in what form will the revolution take place this time around?

    July 3, 2007 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  18. John, Fernandina Beach, Florida

    Especially as a lifelong republican, I find it deeply disturbing that this administration has decided that the last line of the pledge of allegiance is no longer correct and must be changed to “and justice for some.” The American Justice system was allowed to run its course only to trumped at the last moment. It is a sad day when those duly convicted are not held accountable. What other special interests will ask for the pardon of their partisans—Al Qaeda?

    July 3, 2007 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  19. Kirk Koskey, Denver, Colorado

    The thing that bothers me is that, in the poll on this site, 80% on Americans that participated in the poll thought that Bush was wrong to pardon Libby and most of Americans think that most of Bush's policies are wrong...but no one actually does anything about it. We just complain about it and let him continuously get away with it. One of the things I really admire about the citizens in Europe and South America is that when the government abuses their privilege, the people take to the streets! Us Americans are so comfy and lazy in our nice houses and with our steady jobs, that no one seems to really be bothered enough to get up and take our country back! This country was founded "by the people, for the people" so it's up to us to make sure it stays that way. There are things that are more important that your salary and your comfort.

    July 3, 2007 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  20. Schumi, Chicago, Il

    I think the only people we can blame are the people who voted for Bush and put this man into office not only once, but voted again and put him into office twice. Why is anyone so shocked at this? Bush has made no apologies for anything he or his administration has done, why should he start now?

    July 3, 2007 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  21. mary cohen paris france

    I am appalled by this decision. Who are we Americans right now, but a people disconnected from the most simple abstracts of right and wrong, not to mention disconnected from the basic fundamental ideals expressed in our constitution. I long to hear some leadership and dialogue coming from all the different classes and sections of our society.

    There is a leadership vacuum in the US. I long to hear thoughtful voices debating issues long marginalized by I don't know what.....business interests, media and neo-conservative alliances, fear, post 9/11 confusion.

    I feel a singular pain for my country and what we were to become. Our ideals of liberty and justice were a source of pride; now they are simply hollow and I feel nothing but shame.

    July 3, 2007 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  22. Alex Waelt, La Jolla, CA

    The emperor and decider did it again. What is next?

    July 3, 2007 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  23. Scott, Tempe Arizona

    Shameful- This is a big deal because the Libby was convicted by 12 members of a jury for obstructing justice in a probe about the deceitful behavior of OUR government leading to an unjust war. While I may have been against the war from the beginning many of my fellow Americans were duped into supporting this war. What makes this act so egregious by President Bush is that he pardoned someone who was convicted for covering up the administrations lies! That is an awful, heinous crime. My only hope is that this bloodies and bruises the Republicans so bad that it takes them YEARS to recover!

    Good Day!

    July 3, 2007 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  24. Mike, tampa, florida

    Equal justice? Land of the free? This is a complete outrage and makes a mockery out of what our country was founded upon. Here's yet another example why our country is in trouble!

    July 3, 2007 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  25. Roger Hartsell Jerome, Mi.

    I noticed Ms. Clinton was a little upset. One thing people should keep in mind is that at least an associate of Bush that screwed up went to trial. As I remember one of Ms. Clinton's that screwed up strangly turned up dead. Because of her husband being President the investigation mysteriously got dropped.

    July 3, 2007 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
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