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. Steve, San Francisco, CA

    Wow, it's all democrats stated in this article criticizing Bush's political injustice. Nice job CNN, very objective reporting! Give me a break, I think this pardon is a joke, but also people must mention that every president pulls this towards the end of their term (ref. Bill Clinton). I'm waiting for Hilary Clinton to make a statement, and I bet that she leaves out that her husband pardoned a few ol' buddies. Haha, our political system is a joke, but can you name one other country that rivals us?

    July 2, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. David, Charlotte, NC

    The president is a bum, a crook and a liar! I'd rather have Anthony Soprano running this country... he's no less ethical... and a lot smarter!

    July 2, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. E. Maurice, Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Just when you thought he couldn't display any worse judgement,he finds way.

    July 2, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. Michael, Dallas, Texas

    The only "reaction" comments CNN has posted are from liberals. No wonder they're all negative.

    Contrary to what Melanie Sloan says, Libby did not leak Valerie Wilson's name. Libby's charges are for other things. You would think the legal counsel to Joe and Valerie Wilson would know that. Evidently not.

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



    July 2, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. Jason, Southern California

    I think what is missing in this story is that Libby more than likely took the fall for a bigger fish and was promised he would serve no time for his "loyalty" to his superiors. Democrats use this as an excuse to attack the other party the same way the Republicans would if the tables were turned. Our political system is set up to encourage re-election and protecting your own status quo than affecting change and serving the greater good.

    At some point it would be nice for everyone to work together to fix this country instead of arguing like 3rd graders and trying to protect their jobs

    July 2, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. Monica S., Farmington, Michigan

    Another embarrassment by this administration! Don't they have any limits?

    July 2, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. Mark. M, Kirkland, WA

    This was expected, but take note that this was a commuted sentence, not a pardon. He still has to pay the fines, no one will hire him, or trust him ever again.

    The president can do this, and each an everyone before Bush have done the same, most actually being pardons.

    And this talk about impeachment? Why? I do not want to deal with president Cheney!

    July 2, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Jeff, Indianapolis IN

    Where are the republican candidates responses CNN?

    Score one for the good guys. You whinny liberals can just lament the good ol’ days of all of Bill Clinton’s pardons. Libby’s sentence was only commuted. History will show that this was a great political move on the President’s part. Thank God for George W. Bush.

    July 2, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. Dan Graybill, Langley, WA

    Everyday in American there are people whose sentences are too long and whose sentences are too short. But only well-heeled Republican insiders get the President's attention. Bush has been and always will be much more in touch with the rich and powerful than everyday folk. Why so many average Americans voted for someone who consistently was not on their side is still beyond me.

    July 2, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. David Hill, Oak Park, IL

    Funny, No comments from Republicans. Where are the Republicans? Why are they not in the press saying how justice has been done today?

    July 2, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. cc pennes

    just one more insult to the american people from this administration.we {bush& cheney] will do as we please, and if you dont like it's too bad.bush & cheney are two facists, they should have been impeached long ago. every station is reporting this libby thing except FOX and they say fair and balanced, O"REILLY is fair and balanced yes, yes. yes bull....!!!!!!call the white house and protest, we need to get rid of people like bush, cheney, o"reilly, hannity, fox, they are dangerous to our world!!

    July 2, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. A.P. Martin

    This is an outrage. We, the people must join today and fight against this decay of our country. A REVOLUTION MUST BEGIN!

    July 2, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. Ryan, New York, NY

    Why are all of the quotes from Democrats? Are the Republicans refusing to touch this one at all?

    July 2, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. Joe Noonan, Prospect, CT

    Oh, please. I noticed the only reaction CNN asked for was from Democrats. I hardly think that $250K fine and 2 years probation and a ruined career for something that was stupid to prosecute at a cost of millions when the special prosecutor knew from the beginning who leaked the name of Valerie Plame (and it wasn't Libby). Most of official Washington knew she worked at the CIA. This was a complete waste of taxpayers money. Bush was right to end this charade.

    July 2, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. Gretchen Gibbs

    I am totally outraged by President Bush's commutation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby after a federal court convicted him of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators. This cannot be challenged by any court??? This is outrageous and a total abuse of power! This entire administration is corrupt and should be removed, starting with impeaching both Bush and Cheney for treason and betrayal to the American public.

    Gretchen Gibbs
    An outraged voter

    July 2, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Robert Struble, San Diego, CA

    Well it was predicable. You'd have thought Bush would at least have had the courtesy to wait till the end of his term before stomping on his promise of accountability.

    July 2, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. Ned, New York, NY

    Interesting, CNN heads this page with "Washington responds", yet all the quotes are from Democrats and their predictable disagreements with GWB. Where are the responses of the Republican half of Washington?

    Ahh yes, the "myth" of the liberal strikes again...

    The above comments are interesting compared to the Democrats' reactions to Bill Clinton's PERJURY when he was in office...

    July 2, 2007 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. John Alley Columbus, OH

    Im curious to find out what the Republican leaders in the Senate and Congress are saying about this. I know that it is the President's right to commute sentences but this is a bad mark towards our justice system.

    July 2, 2007 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  20. M Brawer

    What next?

    July 2, 2007 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Barry sinrod Delray beach Florida

    Add this to the pile. Bush, Cheney and the administration must be indicted and tried and sent to prison.

    This is another in a long list of outrage.

    July 2, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. RGSchuster, Naperville IL

    CNN appears to be the voice box for the liberals and the Democratic Party. So soon one forgets the favors produced by Pres. Bill Clinton. This is not an embarassment but an end to a ridiculous prosecution. This is the only correct decision. The Democratic Party should begin focusing on solution and not how they can hang more on Bush. He is out of office in approximateky 18 months. At this rate the Democratic Party will become the party of whiners and wimps. Nancy P. is the best example of this today. Stand up and show leadership or go back home!

    July 2, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. Nancy, Prince Frederick, MD

    Did anyone at CNN ask a Republican what they thought? Aren't you supposed to be covering BOTH sides of the story? This is seriously skewed to one side.

    July 2, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  24. Charles F. Pierce, Otego, N. Y.

    George H. W. Bush spoke of cowards who expose our dedicated C. I. A. agents as traitors!

    W. Bush is capable of anything as long as it destroys our Constitution and America.

    Put an X through America – home of equal justice and land of laws!

    July 2, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Lane, Denver CO

    Impeach the bastards . . . . NOW!!!! Arrest them ALL!!!

    July 2, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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