July 3rd, 2007
12:43 PM ET
7 years ago

Bush: Full Libby pardon possible

Bush said Tuesday he hasn't ruled out pardoning Libby.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush said Tuesday he wouldn't rule in or out a full pardon for former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, after having commuted his 30-month prison sentence Monday.

The president's comments came as he left the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he had been visiting military personnel wounded in the Iraq war.

White House spokesman Tony Snow also discussed the possibility of a pardon in the daily White House briefing.

"There is always a possibility or there's an avenue open for anybody to petition for consideration of a pardon," Snow told reporters. "As far as we know, that's not been done, and we don't know if it's contemplated by Scooter Libby or his defense team."

"The reason I will say I'm not going to close the door on a pardon is simply this: that Scooter Libby may petition for one. But the president has done what he thinks is appropriate to resolve this case," Snow said.

The tumultuous briefing, punctuated by pointed questions from reporters and repeated explanations by Snow, came a day after the president's announcement sparked an uproar by critics claiming the move was another example of the Bush administration believing that it is above the law.

Snow said the president respected the jury's verdict, which found Libby guilty in March of of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators in the case surrounding the leak of a CIA agent's identity, but he felt that the 30-month prison sentence was "excessive."

The spokesman reminded reporters that Libby still must pay a $250,000 fine and will be on probation for two years.

"So this is hardly a slap on the wrist, in terms of penalty," he said. "It is a very severe penalty."

Snow said politics played no part in the president's decision, which he made after "long consideration."

"The president spent weeks and weeks consulting with senior members of this White House about the proper way to proceed," the spokesman explained.

"And they looked at a whole lot of options and they spent a lot of time talking through the options and doing some very detailed legal analysis."

Snow would not comment on whether Vice President Dick Cheney, Libby's former boss, had weighed in on the decision.

Filed under: Scooter Libby
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Larry Gates, Portal, AZ

    Whereisthtruth said, “The problem is that we really don’t know what happened; the hate politics has clouded the case so much we don’t know what to believe anymore.”

    According to the prosecutor and the jury, it wasn’t hate politics that clouded the truth; it was Scooter Libby.

    July 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. marla, Sarasota, Florida

    This is just another chapter in a corrupt administration. I have been sickened at about everything Bush and his buddies have done. I know things were much better with Clinton.I never voted to have the incredible liar we have in office now.Bush and Cheney never have made a sacrifice for this country and have used their connections to disgrace not only themselves but our nation. I am not surprised at his actions toward Libby. I cannot wait for all of them to go away. With all the lies they have told it would not surprise me if they bought themselves into office. It is too bad that Cheney and Bush were not brought to task for their involvement in all their cover ups.

    July 3, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Joe Wilson was sent over by Valerie Plame to investigate yellow cake being bought and not only does she not admit that she sent him, much of what he said was later proven wrong.

    The actual leaker is NO friend of Bush, so why are they not screaming for his head?

    For you many uninformed haters, she was outed by an actual Bush and war HATER 2 weeks before Wilsons story was published.

    This part of the story should be investigated.

    July 3, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    I think Democracy has hit an all time low in this country. The people who complain about the administration are hushed up and seen as “political terrorists”…..and the people who lie about crimes are given a “get out of jail free card”. I think President Jimmy Carter was correct(before he was “persuaded” into changing his mind): Bush is the worst president in the history of the United States. Thank you America, for showing the world how stupid we can be by re-electing this intellectual midget! How long before Bush and Cheney are impeached? Ah…who am I kidding? Who would enforce it? Our incompetent Justice Dept.? Our flip-flop Congress? The Republican Supreme Court? Looks like this has been a long, thought out plan, and America has fallen into the trap of having the very few control the public. Good job, America!

    July 3, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. R Whitfield Beulah Co

    Grant, Hoover, Nixon, Bush; beyond a doubt the Bush cabal is the most corrupt and inept that has ever in the history of our nation!

    July 3, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. kit , los angeles, california

    Sick of the lies and altered Rove realilty?
    Bush will do down in the history books as the very WORST president ever. No one can match his lack of interest, willingness to be Cheney's puppet and send thousands of American kids to die for oil.

    July 3, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. BilL W, Coatesville, PA

    "I have called the White House to express my disgust with what appears to be obstruction of justice and keep getting a busy signal. Is that an indication that the same thing is happening as occurred with the immigration bill??"

    If you notice, most of the stories in the ticker have a few comments, maybe as many as 30. The Libby story had over 1200 comments last time I looked, and it is still rising. That should be some indication that people noticed – and the vast majority are not happy.

    July 3, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I don't understand all this fuss about a compassionate conservative who acts like one, except of course, for the in-our-face contempt for the rule of law by the Cheney Gang and its Shrub.

    July 3, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Look at the facts TOM. Quit defending a convicted criminal.

    Libby was made to take the fall. We all know that. Your neo-con sources are misguided and attempt to skew the facts.

    He was convicted by a jury. Though this whole story is a moot point. The bottomline is that he worked for Dick Cheney.

    Sort of like blaming a few MP's in Iraq for sponsoring the Abu Gharib torture policy.

    Or trying to blame Spirew Agnew for Nixon's Watergate scandal.

    July 3, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. mt, BR, LA

    I'm sick of hearing some people still claim Libby did nothing wrong. Our justice system is far from perfect. In fact, given all the money and power behind Libby's defense, I was shocked that the jury convicted him. I wasn't there, but the evidence must have been pretty damned compelling for 12 people to unanimously agree that he lied and obstructed justice. Those people who keep saying Libby did nothing wrong are part of the problem. They too are undermining our justice system.

    If this happened to anyone other than a Bush administration insider, do you really believe Bush would have commuted the sentence??? Of course not. He even refused to commute the death sentence of a woman in Texas after Pope John Paul personally asked for a commutation.

    Stop trying to justify Bush's action by comparing it to things Clinton did. Two wrongs don't make a right!

    This action disgusted me. And we talk about the importance of the rule of law. How can we expect anyone to take us seriously?

    July 3, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. IMPEACHtheSONofA Beachball

    It seems as if the Bush Admin. has done it again. Asked the American People to beleive their lying lips over our lying eye's. This is another previldged Paris Hilton type of justice. If you have money you can get your rich friends to change the laws. This is what started the first civil war. Everyone hold on because this govt', this country will be fightin another civil war with in a few years. People will raise up against this unjustice system that the republicans have established within the last almost 7 years. WOW I know many criminals that would love to have their pot convictions commuted. It's time to save ourselves and our country IMPEACH BUSH and CHENEY ! ! Make Nancy the first women President ASAP. . . ! ! !

    July 3, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    Why did't President Bush pardon Border Patrol Agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean. They are in prison for protecting the United States of America from people coming into this country illegally and smuggling drugs. Instead, he commutes the sentence of a traitor to the United States.

    The President is anti-American, pro big business, following a fascist ideolgy, therefore, he is committing acts of treason against the United States.

    July 3, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Ken, Buffalo, New York

    For all those people outraged over the President commuting the prison sentence for Libby, where were you 8 years ago when Clinton was pardoning fugitives that donated to his library, and terrorists that would contribute to his wife's senate election? The President acted repsponsibly in this matter, and to feel such outrage seems a little over the top...

    July 3, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. G. Miller, State College, PA

    I am appalled that the American citizenry is not storming the White House in light of the accumulated affronts to the Constitution that this corrupt and immoral administration has made. Mr. Libby obstructed justice in a case that involved our national security–the release of confidential CIA information. Mr. Bush took him off the hook, further abetting the obstruction of justice by ensuring Libby;'s silence and making it almost impossible to get to the bottom of the Bush administration's responsibility in this matter.

    Let's not suffer comparison's to Bill Clinton. His sins were personal. Bush's sins are constitutional: lying us into an unnecessary and unwinnable war, lying to Congress and the American people, endorsing what amounts to torture, a secretiveness that takes away from the voting public its right to know, and undermining the rule of law. The Bush gang is not operating "above" the law, but outside the law. Enough is enough.

    July 3, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Kat, Tucson, AZ

    Why is anyone in this country outraged at Bush for this? Clinton LIED to the grand jury and committed purgery and walked away scott free. Chilery Clinton now is outraged that someone else might be pardoned for a lesser offense. Is she insane??? Her and her husband lied, cheated, stole and generally ripped off the american people and she has the nerve to be outraged?? Has this country gone insane. The same people that supported Persident Clinton are the ones on the witch hunt for any Repulican they can get. I think Libby should get a full pardon. He is just a scape goat for the liberals who want to hang someone, anyone that they can get!!!! I wish Bush would stand up and just give him a full pardon!

    July 3, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Lois Masteller okatie, SC

    The decision to commute Libby's prison term is appalling! More proof that this administration is truly above the law. Incredible!!!

    July 3, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |


    July 3, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    This is an embarrassment...quit trying to compare Clinton lying about having sex to this. It's vile and disgusting that so many Republicans want to defend a convincted criminal and the thugs that he worked for.

    This is without a doubt – the most corrupt president in the history of th nation.

    July 3, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Norma Greer, Tucson, AZ

    This administration is not only the worst the United States has ever had, but the most blatantly lawless, arrogant and with no regard for the American people or Democracy.

    It has caused harm around the world and in the US, that will take years to mend.

    The cloud over the White House is spinning at Hurricane force. How long will these dictators be able to avoid the arm of the law and rath of the people?

    July 3, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Lee, Fredericksburg, VA

    The commutation and current talk by Bush of a possible pardon goes to illustrate the arrogance of this man and his even more arrogant Vice President. There can be no claim of partisan politics here. The judge is a Bush appointee and the prosecutor was chosen by a Republican Attorney General. I am utterly dismayed, almost beyond words, by the politics, deceit and arrogance of this administration, which will go down in history as one of the worst. The good thing is time does not stand still and soon we will be rid of the whole bunch of them and at that time I will say "GOOD RIDDANCE!"

    July 3, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. J Smith reno nv

    I love the republican idea that because bill clinton was corrupt that its ok for george bush and dick cheney can be corrupt. Maybe we should give the just give the president the ability to pardon himself when someone close to him is convicted of a crime, it could have saved us the hassle of watergate. Hey maybe a fit punishment for libby would be a ride on top of romneys car.

    July 3, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. Jeff Shubert, Torrance, CA

    This is ridiculous! Yesterday Bush commutes the prison sentence but emphasizes that the conviction and fine will remain as ordered by the judge. Today he's not ruling out a full pardon later on.

    "The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting." – George W. Bush, 7/2/07. I don't know how he can mention "long-lasting consequences" yesterday and today openly speak of the possibility of pardoning Libby's felony conviction. This is a mockery!

    July 3, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Jon, Sacramento CA

    I find the outrage of the left to be humorous and over-the-top dramatic. Here's a quote from this blog, "This administration is not only the worst the United States has ever had, but the most blatantly lawless, arrogant and with no regard for the American people or Democracy."

    At last count regarding impeachment: Clinton 1, Bush 0

    Claims, crying, whining don't justify your outlandish statements. Put up or shut up.

    July 3, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  24. Kathie, Spring, TX

    17 more months of this idiot in office. I agree that this Presidency will go down in history as the worst and the most corrupt. If lying about a bj is considered High Crimes and Misdemeanors and a president gets impeached by the House of Representatives, why are we not impeaching this moron that is in office now? Our men & women are being killed for nothing, we are hated around the world, our healthcare system is in shambles, our borders are broken and our jobs are being outsourced. Elmer Fudd could do a better job in office than this clown.

    July 3, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. Mary D, Rochester, MN


    I stopped flying the flag when we invaded Iraq. This administration sickens me.

    July 3, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
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