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. John Richmond, Pendleton OR

    It is a sad day when the President of the United States commutes the very crime his office authorized in the first place. If this doesn't rise to the level of impeachment I do not know what does.

    July 2, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. Todd, West Palm- Florida

    I have never voted democrat in my 19 years of voting. This will certainly change. I refuse to vote for another republican in the near future.
    President Bush is a clueless buffoon. He lives in fantasy land.

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. KG, East Brunswick, NJ

    This is absolutely dispicable! This is not the democracy upon which America was founded! George W. Bush is mocking our country by the unethical behavior of himself and his cronies.

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  4. Chris Meza, Washington, DC


    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  5. Angelo Carbone, East Brunswick, NJ

    Wow CNN and all the leftists are upset that their witch hunt was exposed by our Brave President. Thank God for our President George Bush who did the right thing for Scooter!!!

    Where was the outrage when Clinton pardoned Mark Rich and all the others.

    You libs will never get it! Oh right, Hillary is gonna keep this country safe. Do you really want to experiment with Hillary in office? Think about it?

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Brian Schnau, New Baltimore MI

    Remove Bush and Cheney by whatever it takes!

    They have committed treason and rewarded those who got caught.

    I would be willing to bet that stupid worthless drunk in White House was afraid Scooter was going to spill the beans on how involved he was in 9/11!

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. P. Parsons, Seattle, WA

    This Administration has once again proved to me as an American citizen that it cannot "tell the truth" (the reason for the Iraq war), it does not "uphold the truth" (Scooter Libby's conviction) and that it does not understand the truth (that New Orleans was being destroyed by Katrina)-all this coming when the American people needed leadership the biggest way.

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. Robert Worthington, Garland Texas

    I am outraged at the recent decision to commute the sentence of Scooter Libby. It is without question that this administration holds itself above the law. I have lost all faith in the American government. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are criminals and what is worse is the fact that our Democratic Congress swore to voters that they would restore accountability, yet they refuse to move forward with impeachment. My government disgusts me.
    It will be a cold day in hell before I vote again.

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  9. A Reader, LA, CA

    First person to say "no underlying crime" gets smacked. The underlying crime here was perjury, which was heinously committed by Scooter Libby.

    The crime of leaking a CIA agent's name was carried out by two people independent of each other. The first was Dick Armitage, the second was Karl Rove. The investigation to confirm these facts were underway when Scooter Libby committed his crimes.

    This is a travesty of justice, does (additional) great harm to our legal system, and there WILL be very serious political consequences for the Republicans.

    This is outrageous and disgusting. Happy July 4th. Sigh.

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  10. Michael Case, Fort Wayne IN

    This is no more "crimes and misdemeanors" as it is bad politics.

    The President did not commit a crime by commuting Libby's sentence. He performed an act granted him by the Constitution.

    Bush is a bad president. In less than 18 months, we get to elect another president. Given those currently running for office, we'll merely be electing another bad president, one with different but no less fatal flaws.

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  11. Jeff, Redwood City, CA

    While I believe Mr. Libby was guilt and deserved his prison term, the real culprits are the president and vice president, who should be brought to trial. Mr. Libby was just the fall guy, with the administration planning all along to ensure he would serve no jail time.

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  12. Jeremy, Houston, Tx

    Bush needs to commute the truly innocent people such as the West Memphis Three. They deserve it much more than Libby. But of course, Bush's cronies push the death penalty and harsher sentences while not applying it to themselves.

    I am really starting to think Bush and Cheney are becoming great symbols for the evil and immorality that men can represent.

    July 2, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. Leonard Baca--Raton, New Mexico

    Bush has done it again. Did he not say that anyone leaking information in his administration would be punished? Our forefathers have to be rolling over in their graves at the actions of this President and all of his crooked friends. Bush again has failed to uphold the law and hold his administration accountable. Bush and his administration are a disgrace to this Country. Impeach the President NOW and throw all of his crooked buddies out of Office. The only thing these people stand for is corruption.

    July 2, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. Pastor L.F. Wright

    I think this shows the end of our great republic and all that is stands for! Mr. Bush first steals the office of president once, scares the nation of terror to win the office a second time, lied about weapons of mass destruction (which by the way was the whole reason we went into iraq in the first place), doesn't fund the no child left behind law and has left all of our children behind, technically releases a man from prison time, MAN WAKE THE HELL UP AMERICA! We are living under a dictator masking himself and all those that are connected to him as a patriot!

    America has become the butt of every nation in the world and we are letting him!! America is going down in a ball of flames and there isn't enough water in heaven to put this fire out!

    I am moving out of my homeland as quickly as I can to escape from the fall of the last great superpower.

    July 2, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. John, Phoenix, Az

    Where was the public outcry over the 50+ pardons former President Clinton granted?

    July 2, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. Jack Rotherham, Larchmont NY

    I am curious, was there any reaction from the Right?

    July 2, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. Patrick, Charlotte NC

    Since when has lying, cheating, and stealing become the norms for America? This man is a total discrace to the justice system...and I don't think too much of that POS Libby either.

    July 2, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. George Bergerac Monroe, Georgia

    To this day we do not know what classified documents Sandy Berger stuffed down his pants and all we heard was a collective total of about thirty minutes between all the leftist media... The hypocracy on this blog is a joke, just as the leaders' comments that begin it. All the leaders that have commented on the commutation have in their own way commited some crime one way or another I am sure, they just haven't been caught yet and better still, CNN would only give it a small sound bite and that would be the end of it.

    July 2, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. Andrea Tirado, Newburgh, NY

    I'm wondering how many people out there did not see this coming?? The reason why this happened, and why many other outrageously illegal things have gone on within this administration is because we allow them to treat us like sheep. They say..."we have no control over the rising price of gasoline"...we say "baaaaa". They say..."Vice President Cheney is not exactly part of the Executive Branch"...we say "baaaa". They say..."wire tapping is a good thing for everyone"...we say "baaaa".
    It is time for us as a nation to stop playing the role of sheep and stand up and let this President know (not that he will listen or that he even cares at this point) that we have had enough. This country has turned into a laughing stock, we are seconds from another Cold War, we are involved in a situation in Iraq that will never end and one with Iran that has already begun. How much more are we going to let this administration get away with?? Someone has to sound an alarm and let them know that we are not going to stand for this anymore. Because if we don't, then we might as well go baaaaaaa.

    July 2, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. Dawn McGordy

    President Bush's cummutation of Libby's sentence is laughable. We all new he would do it. So now it is our turn to uphold the law and IMPEACH President Bush AND Vice President Cheney. Are we to remain the laughing stock of the world? Will Americans, all Americans, despite your party afiliation, continue to allow this administration to destroy our country? ACT NOW... IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH!! AND bring home ALL our sodiers. This is no longer our war. Send Bush and Cheney to fight. They started it, let them finish it.

    July 2, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. KJ Pennington, Lakewood, CO

    What a CROCK of SHIT this administration and president is – they abuse the laws and constitution of this country and SCREW the American people in the process – I will never vote in any election again as long as I live – the government of this country is a disgrace.

    July 2, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. Tom, Cleveland OH

    That's awesome, Clinton was guilty of perjury but he didn't go to jail. In this case the President simply used one of his enumerated powers.

    July 2, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. Nirav, San Clemente CA

    There's no longer any point in waiting. Cheney's the one who talked him into it and every other crazy thing he's done. Then, you can impeach Bush.

    July 2, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. Im4Justice, Clearwater, FL.

    Maybe it's time "we the peole" of this country take action & take back our country! Maybe "we the people" should all go on strike come election day!

    July 2, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. Mike Sciales, Boise, Idaho.

    After many years of being what might be considered a Republican this is the event that will deliver my vote to the Democrats. The GOP will only have itself to blame.

    July 2, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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