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. Peter, Mission Viejo, CA

    It is amazing that Paris Hilton went to jail for a suspended license, but Scooter Libbey will just pay a fine for a breach of national security. I think that everyone should be concerned. For the record I am a republican.

    July 2, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  2. Renae, Clawson, MI

    This is just as outrageous as Paris Hilton being released to home confinement. I am just in awe...

    July 2, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    I assume for some reason there wasn't a single republican asked for a comment about this? Talk about stacking the deck.

    July 2, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Steven Jackson Castro Valley,California

    With President Bush comuting Libby, and this white house making the same mistakes that the Nixon white house did by not answering Congress and covering up, NO republician will get elected to dog catcher. We are DONE, Thanks "W" for making President "HILARY"!.

    July 2, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Paul P. Valtos Allentown, Pa.

    Richard Nixon comes off looking like a saint in respect to this administration. This presidency has to be the most ineffective incompetent administration in our history. Only, according to my historic memories, does Buchanan's bode worse historically and I wasn't alive at that time. Harding's is next for corruption. It is unbelievable that any adminstration could stoop to such a level in its lack of integrity.

    July 2, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  6. Name and Address Withheld, No desire for an income tax audit

    I think the thing that surprises me so much is that this move seems to have been unforeseen by just about everybody. Quite frankly I'm slightly amazed that he wasn't given a full pardon. Let the democrats act all outraged, and let the republicans scurry like cockroaches. It's nothing more than business as usual.

    July 2, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  7. Charlie, Pensacola, FL

    It's a sad day in this country when our leaders are letting the bad guys off the hook. I don't believe the President should have the right to pardon criminals as it circumvents the whole premise of the justice system. The message President Bush has sent the public today is that "It's OK to break the law, as long as you protect my cabinet while doing it". With that said, the President is within his right to do this. However, that doesn't mean that it is right to do so. I agree with Senator Biden, voice your opinion to the President. Tell him you don't approve. Since he doesn't like to look at polls, maybe calls and letters from the American people will give him the message.

    July 2, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. Dom, Manchester, CT

    Wow that was fast!! People gave Clinton a hard time for commuting his brothers sentence I thought then and now that was well with in the Presidents discretion. But, to pardon the VP's cheif of staff who was convicted of a crime on the level of high treason is reprehensible. I expected it considering the level arrogance our current adminstration display but I had a glimmer of hope that the president would have kept his word by either leading a upstanding goverment and carrying out the laws of out Country.

    July 2, 2007 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. Ken Sunseri

    This is a moral, judicial, and Presidential OUTRAGE.

    July 2, 2007 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  10. Jeff, Wasington D.C.

    As an individual in our intelligence community, I am ashamed and appalled at the president's actions today. I voted for President Bush and have no doubts that I made a terrible mistake. It is extremely depressing knowing that an individual can leak sensitive intelligence information and the Government would rather keep a friend rather than uphold justice. These operatives live a life that none of us can possibly imagine; they place their lives on the line daily to protect our freedom. They go into harms way with little or no backup and in situations that can turn deadly in an instant. We owe it to these individuals to protect their identities and keep them safe. We aren't talking about releasing the name of someone who misused a government jet, or slept with an intern; were talking about an individual who betrayed this country by doing what he did. Thank god the presidential election is not too far away... to bad it isn't sooner. I look forward to a new president who "hopefully" can manage this country appropriately and justly.

    July 2, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  11. Dave Hoderny Erie, Pa

    This decision comes as no surprise as this is a president and vice president who are the "deciders" when it comes to the US constitution. My fear is that we have to survive this admin for over a year. As we watch the "terror" events unfold on Europe, the question is what happens when we are faced with a serious crisis on the level of 9/11? God help us!

    July 2, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  12. marian buckland st augustine florida

    I don't see anythng worse than Bill Clinton's LYING and being impeached and continuing to serve – nor the fact that he pardoned criminals just before he left office. Where were all the Democrats then with their criticisms.

    July 2, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  13. Donna Giffune Saratoga Springs, NY

    It is time the American people demand justice and impeach the law breakers that reside in the executive branch of this government.
    It is time we bring home our troops and give relief to the families who have carried the brunt of this evil administration.
    It is time for all American's to flood the legislative, judicial and executive branches of our government with citizens who respect our constitution and understand consequences of blantant disregard of the law of our land.
    I am disgusted.

    July 2, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. James, Linden NJ

    This administration is as evil as the "axis" we fight. While I doubt any president we elect next will have the balls to do it, Bush's administration total should be declared traitors to the American people upon his leaving office.

    I would rather have 100 Nixons than one more Bush in office anywhere in this US, including mayor.

    July 2, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  15. Michael Dill-Cruz, La Verne, CA

    Well, like we didn't know this was coming. But even I am suprised GWB did it now instead of on his way out of office. It seems that even the president himself understands how much of a lame duck he is. He figures it really can't get much worse than it is now, so go ahead and crap on the people in this country. I am just sick of the standard of justice in this country. Valerie Plame must really feel thanked for her service to this country.

    July 2, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  16. Greg - Atlanta, GA

    Justice? Where is the justice in this country? I will not argue that Saddam Hussein was a bad man, but he was the leader of a sovereign nation and we disposed of him, why? Out of our love for freedom and the Iraqi people? No. Out of our love for oil and money. Bush and Cheney are war criminals for the deaths of foreign nationals and our soldiers, along with the machine they built to aid their plots. We are not safer now than ever, and this is further proof that this administration are above the law, or feel they are, and will do whatever they have to in order to protect themselves.

    July 2, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  17. Charls in Portland,OR

    I feel sorry for the switchboard operators, that will take a lot of misdirected anger in the morning

    July 2, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. John McKissick, Murrysville, PA

    Dishonesty is so deeply engrained in the DNA of this administration that this decision is a "natural" outcome. Lies, deception and consistent disregard for democratic principles are par for Bush-Cheney, and now they are paying off one of their underlings for carrying out their bidding. This is but the latest disgrace of a thoroughly disgraceful administration.

    July 2, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  19. Jared Pace, Durham, NC

    The President's move to commute Mr. Libby's sentence makes me sad. I have no faith or trust in the current administration whatsoever. We have the anti-Lincoln in office. Lincoln was exactly the leader we needed in a critical time in U.S. history. Instead of having such a leader now, we have a corporate tool and a servant to the elite.

    July 2, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. Mark, Allendale, NJ

    How come there are no quotes from Republicans. Only the President's sworn enemies are quoted. Liberal media bias???

    July 2, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Marion Erwin

    This is an outrage of the first water. It only emphasizes the fact that George Bush believes he is, in fact, King George. I am sickened by this outrage. Worse, as we speak, more of our precious young men are dying day by day, paying for the outrageous ideology of this administration. He has made such a mess that we really do not have the time to impeach him, but he really should be impeached.
    Marion Erwin
    1602 Arbor View Lane #304
    Cold Spring, KY 41076

    July 2, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. Jeffery Smith, New Orleans , LA

    No surprise here. Bush, Cheney, Rove, and those who work under them have always been above the law and will continue to do anything they wish. Impeach Bush, and Cheney will pardon him. Complete contempt for the law and the Constitution will continue until both Bush and Cheney are impeached and imprisoned.

    July 2, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. Dan, Merrick NY

    Does anyone think it’s a coincidence that President Bush made this announcement during the Fourth of July weekend while the country is focused on a fresh terrorism alert? I can almost picture the first reaction of the President’s advisers to the problems in Britain being “good, now we can take care of Scooter”; and it’s a terrible thing that I can find such a horrid possibility conceivable.

    July 2, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. Steve Micheals, Manassas, Va.

    Bush first says.. "TRUST ME"
    Bush then says.."I am the decider".
    Bush next says..."I am the responsible decision maker".

    Now.. he's a political aide liberator to his VP where he says clearly.."See I have set the prisoner Libby Free and absolve him of all guilt".
    Clearly, Bush has just played American GOD OF USA

    July 2, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |


    July 2, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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