WASHINGTON (CNN) - George Bush should have pardoned I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney said after stepping down as vice president this week.
"He was the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice, and I strongly believe that he deserved a presidential pardon. Obviously, I disagree with President Bush's decision," Cheney told Stephen F. Hayes of the Weekly Standard, a leading conservative Washington magazine.
Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, was convicted of obstructing a federal investigation into the revelation that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA agent.
He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000. Bush commuted the sentence, which he called "excessive," so that Libby served no jail time.
But he did not pardon Libby, much to the aggravation of many influential conservatives.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal appeals court in Washington has rebuffed an attempt by former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to sue top administration officials for the public disclosure of her intelligence job.
An attorney for Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, said an appeal is likely.
A three-judge panel rejected the attempt by the Wilsons to revive a lawsuit dismissed by a lower court. The Wilsons wanted to sue Vice President Richard Cheney; his former top aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby; former White House advisor Karl Rove; and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
"Because the Wilsons have failed to state constitutional ... claims for which relief may be granted and failed to exhaust their administrative remedies as required ... we affirm the judgment of the district court dismissing the Wilsons' amended complaint in its entirety," the court said.
(CNN) - The revelation by a former White House spokesman that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were "involved" in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson's identity shows how the White House "closed ranks" to protect themselves, her husband, Joe Wilson, said Wednesday.
The information - from an upcoming book by Scott McClellan - also shows how important it was to the administration to commute the sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Wilson said on CNN's "American Morning."
"I think it now makes it very clear the extent to which the vice president was involved, which, of course, then makes it very clear how important to the vice president the commutation of Mr. Libby's sentence was," the former U.S. ambassador said.
McClellan was White House press secretary at the time of the CIA leak investigation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House spokesman Scott Stanzel denied accusations leveled at President Bush Tuesday by former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan. The accusations flow from an excerpt released from McClellan’s forthcoming book where he blames the president and other high-ranking White House officials for prompting him to “unknowingly pass along false information” as it related to the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
“The President has not misled his spokespeople, nor would he,” Stanzel said in a statement.
–CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux
Scott McClellan with President Bush in 2006.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House is denying a claim in a new book by former White House spokesman Scott McClellan that top administration officials - including President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney - were involved in his "unknowingly" passing along false information about the involvement of Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the leak of a CIA operative's identity.
Amid a burgeoning controversy about the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's name, McClellan went to the White House podium in October 2003 and told reporters that Rove, the president's top political adviser, and Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, had not been involved.
"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes in his new book, "What Happened," which is scheduled to be released in April. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."
Reacting to the release of an excerpt from McClellan's book, which was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the book's publisher, PublicAffairs, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said, "The president has not misled his spokespeople, nor would he."
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
CHICAGO (CNN) - The straight-laced, gray-suited, famously reticent lawman, who convinced a jury to find "Scooter" Libby guilty of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents before President Bush commuted his sentence, had a harder time clearing himself from a game show hot seat Thursday night in Chicago, as he braved a relentless satirical barrage during a taping of the NPR news-quiz show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for Illinois' Northern District, good-naturedly plopped himself on the set of the show and played along with a pun-filled grilling from host Peter Sagel, in the show's regular segment "Not My Job." In the segment, celebrities attempt to answer trivia questions about topics outside their expertise.
But before he got to that, Sagel tried to bait Fitzgerald out of his prosecutorial rectitude with a series of loaded questions, to no avail.
In the best bit, Sagel asked Fitzgerald where he lived, and how he got to work, finishing with the punch line, "How do you like commuting?" The standing-room-only crowd in Chicago - the town which both the show and Fitzgerald call home - laughed at the reference to President Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence, clearly hoping for Fitzgerald to take the bait. But, Fitzgerald played the straight man, "I like driving."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Earlier today, a federal trial court judge dismissed the civil lawsuit filed by former CIA employee Valerie Plame and her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson.
Judge John Bates explained in his ruling on Thursday that he was dismissing the couple’s suit because special considerations counseled against allowing them to pursue monetary damages against Vice President Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Richard Armitage.
First, Bates concluded that the couple could not sue for the disclosure of Plame’s identity because it appeared Congress had not intended that federal employees in Plame’s situation could recover damages against the federal government or its officials. Second, Bates dismissed the lawsuit because allowing it to proceed would likely cause “judicial intrusion into matters of national security” – matters which the Executive branch of the federal government has unique authority over. Finally, Bates noted that the couple had not filed the required administrative claim before coming to court. (Full ruling here)
The couple was seeking monetary damages because of the disclosure of Plame’s identity as a covert CIA operative. They have alleged that Plame was outed by the Bush administration as a consequence of Wilson’s criticism of the White House’s justifications for going to war in Iraq.
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
A judge threw out the lawsuit by ex-spy Valerie Plame Wilson and husband Joseph Wilson.
U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled that the lawsuit raises "important questions relating to the propriety of actions undertaken by our highest government officials" - but in a 41-page decision, Bates found the Wilsons failed to show the case belongs in federal court.
Valerie Wilson's identity as a CIA operative was exposed in July 2003 after her husband, former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly challenged a key argument in the Bush administration's case for the invasion of Iraq.
The exposure led to a criminal probe that led to the conviction in March of Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents investigating the leak.
President Bush answers reporters' questions about Iraq Thursday during a White House news conference.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush on Thursday called the commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence a "fair and balanced decision" and said "it's been a tough issue for a lot of people in the White House."
So, Bush said, "it's run its course and now we're going to move on."
"I haven't spent a lot of time talking about the testimony that people throughout my administration were forced to give as a result of the special prosecutor," Bush said.
"I didn't ask them during the time and I haven't asked them since. I’m aware of the fact that, perhaps, somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person.
"You know, I've often thought about what had happened if that person come forth and said, I did it. Would we have had this, you know, endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter?"
Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, with two years supervised release and a $250,000 fine, when he was convicted earlier this year of perjury and obstruction of justice during an investigation into the leak of the name of a CIA operative.
Bush determined the 30-month sentence was "excessive" and commuted the prison term on July 2, while specifically saying that the supervised release and fine should remain in effect.
A majority of Americans disapprove of Libby's commutation, according to a new poll.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A majority of Americans and nearly half of all Republicans disapprove of President Bush’s commutation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby’s 30-month prison sentence, according to a new American Research Group poll out Friday.
Fully 64 percent of all Americans and 69 percent of voters said they disapproved of the commutation in the new poll. Broken down by party affiliation, 76 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of Independents said they disapproved.
Meanwhile, 84 percent of all adults and 84 percent of voters said they oppose a full presidential pardon for Libby. Broken down by party, 82 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans, and 97 percent of Independents oppose a pardon.
Defending his decision to grant Libby clemency, Bush indicated on Tuesday he hasn't ruled out granting the former White House aide a full pardon.
"I made a judgment, a considered judgment, and I believe it's the right decision to make in this case. I stand by it," Bush said. "As to the future, I rule nothing in and nothing out," he said as he left a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center.
Libby's prison time was imposed after a federal court convicted Libby of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the probe of the leak of the name of a CIA operative.
A commutation is distinct from a pardon, which is a complete eradication of a conviction record and makes it the same as if the person has never been convicted.
The poll, conducted on July 3-5, interviewed 1,100 adults and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
- CNN Political Researcher Xuan Thai