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. JANICE

    Mr.Bush you have betrayed our
    Country by not listening to its people. The decision to commute Libby is the last straw. I will feel great relief when you are no longer President of the United States.

    July 3, 2007 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  2. Roy Johnson Cape Coral, Fla.

    Bush and his boys should be tared and feathered and run out of town on a rail!!!!!!!!!

    July 3, 2007 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  3. Danny, Cologne Germany

    Libby ought to serve his time in prison. President Bush brings shame and dishonour to us with the commutation of Libby's sentence. That said, the hypocrisy of the Democrats (of which I am one) is breathtaking. When President Clinton perjured himself, they rushed to his defence, making all manner of excuses and using any justification to hand. Whether it's a dalliance with an intern or revealing a CIA field agent's name, perjury is perjury.

    July 3, 2007 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  4. Anthony, Huntsville tx

    I believe that the President has made the wrong decision to commute Scooter Libby sentence to just nothing at all after he lied and betrayed the public trust in the legal system. What kind of system is this President and his follower are running. Scooter Libby should go directly to prison he is no different from anyone and he should take the Vice President and President along with him. This is just another slap in the face by this administration to cover up the truth.

    July 3, 2007 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  5. Jerry Lopez Tucson, AZ

    It is appalling to see that the great Republic is being run like a Kingdom where the elite have no need to fear consequences that the regular people must face.

    July 3, 2007 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  6. Ron Paine Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    G.W.Bush "Slaps The Faces" of All Americans again! And he does it just two days before the Fourth of July!

    July 3, 2007 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  7. Kenneth Quackenbush, Vicksburg, Mississippi

    Somehow I really do not think that had I had done what Libby had done, I really doubt that I would be walking like Mr. Libby, I would be wearing a prison uniform, with no hope of even an eventual parole. I must be nice to have friends in HIGH PLACES! How much blood did are on Mr. Libby's hands that will never was OFF.

    July 3, 2007 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  8. Fred A. Mariano Manchester, NJ

    This is a travesty! Obviously, George Bush is continuing to do the wrong things. I am a Republican but I found disagreeing with him more and more. His words cannot be believed anymore and anybody who does, they better use their thinking caps for George Bush evidently has none.

    July 3, 2007 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  9. Mike, Corpus Christi Texas

    It's very interesting how quick Guiliani and Fred Thompson were to come forawrd and support Bush on the 'commuting' of Libby. So far, the other GOP candidates haven't said a word.

    I think it's pretty safe to say at this point and time, that GWB will have a "0" legacy in the annals of history.

    As to his presidential library, which he likes to boast about, it hard to imagine anything positive at all, that could be on diplay for viewing by the American people. Wonder how many will be waiting in line?

    July 3, 2007 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  10. Vince, Heidelberg Germany

    Vince Foster Murdered – No Punishment
    FBI Files magically appear in Hillary's hands – No Punishment

    Sandy Burger – Steals classified documents to protect Clinton – Probation and a fine

    Talking about a CIA non-covert agent – Two years and a fine, plus must serve time while appealing the decision. So, who's getting screwed here? Bush was right to commute the sentence.

    List of Clinton Pardons: http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pardonchartlst.htm

    July 3, 2007 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  11. Derrick (Atlanta, GA)

    When one thinks logically about this, it is easy to understand and "be okay" with Libby's sentence being commuted. In reality, he took the fall to take the heat away from people like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Anyone that thinks this wasn't prearranged is deluding themselves.

    July 3, 2007 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  12. Edward, Richmond Virginia

    If you have friends in high places justice does not matter. Thank you Mr Pres. for helping your friend in need. can you help me with my child support, I have to pay next week.

    July 3, 2007 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  13. joe kopf,hilton head, sc

    I think the libby thing is a disgrace to the American people..What do our children think? yes, you can lie and obstrut justice and get a pardon .

    Bush has continued to overstep his bounds and is a disgrace to America..no one trust him but his cronies..

    is it not time to consider impeachment before is does some more stupid things?

    July 3, 2007 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  14. Eric Carter, Myrtle Beach, SC

    Martha Stewart was not tried for any underlying crime of Insider trading, yet she was tried, convicted and jailed for lying to the FBI. Why should Scooter get better treatment than Martha?

    July 3, 2007 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  15. Fernando, Parker CO.

    How are we as citizens suppose to trust the system when we convict a citizen in court, and remember he is a citizen. And then have the President spit on our constitution and release this convicted felon this makes me sick.

    July 3, 2007 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  16. Dee Healy Meriden Connecticut

    I will not vote for any Republican in the upcoming presidential elections in protest of this administration's blatant "in your face" and discraceful act of keeping a felon out of jail where doing so has benefited themselves. A bit of a conflict of interest don't you think??? The least he could have done was follow recommended guidelines for commutation, so the appearance of his actions did not appear so evil.

    July 3, 2007 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  17. Jittery Joe

    This was just a witch hunt. Glad Bush pulled Scooter off the burning stake.

    - He did not leak her name.
    - Plame was not a covert Op
    - She was part of the story (and thus her name and role was newsworthy, because she was involved in sending her husband on the trip, and he claimed he was sent on behalf of the Vice President's office.

    So… nothing to see here... This non story should hopefully finally go away.

    July 3, 2007 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  18. Jim Hassinger, Glendale, CA

    Both Bush and Cheney should resign in disgrace. It will take a generation to recover from this train wreck of an administration. Time to start now. Nancy, are you listening? Impeach them both and turn them over to the War Crimes Tribunal.

    Remember? Bush was going to "restore honor" to the White House. Ha, yeah, after he leaves on helicopter to do time in the federal pen.

    July 3, 2007 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  19. Steve Setzer Mt. Dora, FL

    It seems obvious that this President has come to the conclusion history is unlikely to remember him for the good he's done for our country, which has been miniscual, so he's conducting himself in a manor that will satisfy his conservative base and no one else. His commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence completely contradicts his earlier statements that supported tough action against all those involved with leaking the name of the CIA operative. He has no credibility remaining with the American people, whatsoever, after this stunt.

    July 3, 2007 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  20. Chris Bardstown Ky

    This just proves what a joke our government is. This is just another example that proves that Bush believes that he and his administation is above the law.

    July 3, 2007 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  21. Mike McNamara, Basel Switzerland

    Really objective cross-section of Washington you've gotten to respond there CNN (as usual). Only liberal partisan blow-hards who continue to perpetuate the absurd myth that the administration somehow "outted" Plame to get even with her ridiculous husband. Their (and CNN's) silence on the matter of Sandy Burger was (and still is) deafening.

    July 3, 2007 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  22. Rich Nordmann

    It's another blow to democracy courtesy of W. It just goes to prove you can get away with anything as long as you don't disagree with the administration. It's disgraceful, it's like Hitler pardoning Mengele.

    July 3, 2007 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  23. Joe, San Francisco, CA

    Ask yourself why Mr. Libby lied to the Grand Jury. Who and what was he protecting?

    This is bigger than Bush and his administration. Follow the comments of the Republican candidates about this commutation and see how they disagree with the values of the American people.

    July 3, 2007 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  24. Lester, Newport News, VA

    As an american citizen, I am appalled at the decision to commute the prison sentence of Scooter Libby. The rationale used by the President that "the sentence was too harsh" even though it was well within federal sentencing guidelines, is another indication of this administration's policy of placing itself above the rule of law.
    It sickens me that someone, who had a part in revealing classified information is not going to receive the same punishment that "ordinary" citizens would have received for committing the same offense. Regardless of his contributiions to society, he should be treated like all others, and not like a pampered child. All this has done is solidified my belief that those in Washington operate above the law and to benefit themselves, and not for the benefit of the people who elected them.

    July 3, 2007 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  25. Sean Gaffney, Mt. Zion, IL

    Apparently the CNN journalist that wrote this story was only able to find three Republicans that would give a quote - putting their quotes at the bottom of the story was also a nice touch. It would be nice if CNN at least went through the motions of being fair to both sides. I don't recall quite so much concern when President "I can eat a donut bigger than my head!" Clinton pardoned terrorists and tax evaders for political purposes.

    July 3, 2007 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
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