July 2nd, 2007
06:57 PM ET
12 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. Will, Nashville TN

    Just as two wrongs don't make a right, all the good service you have done shouldn't clear you from doing the jail time that a jury of your peers felt you deserved. It was a CONSERVATIVE judge who passed down the sentence. Must feel good to be with the White House click. This shows me and many Americans that the rules of justice don't apply to everyone the same way. Hey! Maybe Scooter can do a duel interview with Paris Hilton or even make a nice videotape together...

    July 2, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Bob Earl, Miami, Florida

    Time for a rEVOLution!

    July 2, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  3. Jean Cowsert, Galt, CA

    This is just another slap in the face to Justice in our country.

    I wonder where are represenatives are when these kind of actions are taken. Under their desks? Stand up and fight this man before he completely destroys this country. It is on the very edge as it is due to him.

    We citizens scream for equal justice for the executive branch as much as for the general population.

    This action is another of his crimes and misameaners. He should be impeached as soon as posibble.

    July 2, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. West Columbia, SC

    "I won't talk, if you get me out of jail ..."

    July 2, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Michael, Duvall Washington


    July 2, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Twit Romney

    Der FUhrer has spoken!

    Heil Bush, Heil Cheney!

    Screw Americans...

    July 2, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. Katrina, Pullman, WA

    this is disgusting how anybody who has friends in high places gets off without jail time, yet people who are sometimes truly innocent sit in prison for 10 years because of a mistake.

    July 2, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. Unhappy American

    .... the Shrub at his finest ...

    July 2, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. Mary, San Diego Ca

    President Bush has shown his real motives to protect his relationships for his days after the presidency when he needs to cut a business deal again. Hope his friends turn on him, they way he has turned on the American public.

    July 2, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. Chris the Carpenter, Cape Cod Ma

    I sure wish I was rich or connected enough to not get into trouble. 1984 was a warning, not a guidebook. Listen to The Lifted Lorax Show

    July 2, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  11. Stefan, Toronto

    Why is it not noted that Pres. Bush and Lewis Libby were both members of a Yale student society whose members are prevalent throughout the CIA?

    July 2, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. Adrenalyn - Placer County, Liberalia (formerly California)

    wow, only Nazicrat politicians are allowed to be quoted on the Libby commutation, no Religicans ?

    and to Joe and Valerie Wilson's lawyer a special response to you – since when was Scooter ever charged, or convicted or revealing her status at CIA ?
    answer, never
    get your facts straight, or don't they teach about using "facts" in law school

    July 2, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. Liz St.John, San Diego, CA

    A year ago I was proud to become an American Citizen after legally living here for twenty years. It was a huge decision, to give up my born nationality, but one that I embraced because I believed in the American systems. Today's decision to overrule the justice system for the sake of a political favor is a slap in the face of all that I thought we stand for. I feel betrayed.

    July 2, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  14. Joe S., Minneapolis, MN

    Once again, this administration pulls its inner circle even closer, rewards its cronies, and spits in the face of the American people and law-abiding citizens everywhere. He stole an election, started two wars, suspends the right of due process for citizens and noncitizens alike, and repeatedly lies to the world. When will it end?

    July 2, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  15. Michael, Irvine, CA

    Can a President commute his own sentence or pardon himself? Why aren't we taking this den of thieves to court? How is any of this less egregious than what Clinton did?

    I am just so happy that we are more concerned about paris and the iPhone than we are about the raping of the constitution and the culture death perpetuated by this rampantly criminal administration.

    July 2, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  16. Warren, Houston, TX

    I find it interesting that CNN (Clinton News Network) doesn't publish any comments from republicans, only Democrats.

    Perhaps we should insist that the "Fairness Doctrine" be re-instated and it first look at CNN.

    Visually your new format is appealing, but your reporting is far from center.

    July 2, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    Is this worthy of impeachment yet? What will it tale? What else does he have to do?

    July 2, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. Mike Willett, Birmingham, Michigan

    The commuting of the prison side of his sentence will be nothing, because Bush will Pardon Scooter after the election and he will get his law license back, his fine will go away and probation will be meaningless. Justice is what happens, not what is morally correct.

    July 2, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. Scott, Pittsburgh, PA

    Why are only Democratic responses to the Libby commutation posted here? Why wouldn't Republican responses be given equal press? Hmmm... Anyhow, this investigation was completely political, just an attempt to knock down the president in a time of war. Libby should have been pardoned completely long ago. Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame are more concerned about posing for magazine pics than national security.

    July 2, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  20. Michael, Irvine, CA

    Corrected text:

    Can a President commute his own sentence or pardon himself? Why aren’t we taking this den of thieves to court? How is any of this less egregious than what Clinton did?

    I am just so happy that we are more concerned about Paris and the iPhone than we are about the raping of the constitution and the culture death perpetuated by this rampantly criminal administration.

    July 2, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. San Francisco CA

    It was only a matter of time. Libby maintained that same grin throughout the trial knowing full well, no matter what the verdict he would not serve any jail time. This action is pure Cheney where he directed the commutation delivered by his minion Bush. Cheney will pay the fine with all his Haliburton millions and a conservative law firm will hire Libby and they will all retire wealthy. End of story.

    July 2, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. Brandon , Roswell Ga

    ha ha ha ha ha , were you surprised

    July 2, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. Chuck Adkins Lincoln Park, Michigan

    This President is the worst ever, by casting aside this prison sentence, A clear message has been sent, that rich, white people are not punished for thier crimes.

    -Chuck Adkins
    Editor and Publisher
    The Populist

    July 2, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  24. dc, Belmont

    I had predicted this weeks ago, but i thought Bush would wait a while to do it. Did anyone really expect this NOT to happen? Libby takes the fall like a good boy, gets rewarded with a commuted sentence, and then will proceed to ride the book deal/lecture circuit gravy train.

    July 2, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  25. John, Charlotte NC

    What no Republicans could be found? Again the Communist News Network strikes again. I think only bleeding heart liberabals could appreciate a site like this. I hope cnn goes bankrupt!

    July 2, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
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