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. Carrie Hathaway Moncks Corner SC

    Today, I was outraged by what my President did. I have been outraged for a while now. I believe this administation has done more harm for this country then good. I pray the American people will wake up and impeach Cheany and Bush!!!!!!!!

    July 2, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Mike D., Green Bay WI

    What an abysmal mis-carriage of justice! Tried, convicted on subverting US intelligence and now pardoned by the very administration who encouraged the misconduct. Bush should be removed from office - unfortunately so should Cheney. What a pathetic administration leading this nation!

    July 2, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. Jeff Stern, Dallas Texas

    Impeach the Basterd! I have resisited the call for impeachment as it is a distructive process and distraction of our political process. We need our goverment to consentrate on fixing problems rather than create more. However, President Bush's mioptic look at life is very demeaning to the high office he holds. Law, order and ethics have escaped any form of reason. How any legitiment Congressman or Senator can excuse or rationalize the latest manipulation of the law and abuse of our constitution is hard to understand.
    Lying about cheating on you wife is wrong but is a personal issue. Allowing a convicted felon to walk from a jail sentance is a JOKE....And now CNN has crossed the line of "Fair and Balanced" by giving the "Proud Conservative" a Prime Time News slot on the last frontier of legitiment NEWS! Glenn Beck is an intellegent broadcaster with his own personal point of view. However, it's OPINION not NEWS, and has put CNN on par with the other joke in cable news......FOX!
    There are plenty of options to allow his "Free speech" approach. However, giving him the lead in your Primetime lineup, has crossed the line!! "We the People" say SHAME ON YOU!!!

    MSNBC here I come!!!

    July 2, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Mark Vaccaro West Milford, NJ

    What will it take to finally agree to impeach this bum who disrespects the office of the President of the United States and the laws of this country??? Talk is cheap. Impeach Bush and Cheney NOW!!!

    July 2, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Joan C. Sass, Retired Disabled U.S. Navy Veteran, Alexandria, Virginia

    I am extremely proud of my president for taking the courage to commute Lewis Libby's prison term. The President's timing to do this wonderful act upon our country's celebration of the 4th of July is indeed a greater celebration of Freedom. My prayer is that all Americans will stop and remember why we can fly our flag with pride and honor and remember those that fought that we might be free. Stop pointing their fingers at others and judging them. May they look inward at themselves and ask the Almight to forgive them. Who among you can cast the first stone?

    July 2, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  6. Philip Dan, Texas

    Sometimes I wonder if this President, Like Putin, ever intends to leave office. I have more confidence that Putin will leave office at the end of his term then Bush. Putin has at least had time to consolidate his power... does Geo Bush think he has? Happy Forth of July America, lets Wake UP.

    July 2, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Ken, Clearlake, Ca

    It is time for Congress to show bush and cheney the laws of the United States work. They need to impeach and kick out of office both bush and cheney. They have fragrantly broken most the laws of this country and need expelled from government for doing so. bush is trying to be another Hitler and proving it every day he is in office.

    July 2, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. Susan K, Meyersdale, Pa

    This just proves one more time BUSH is a LIAR!!! His momma and daddy must be sooooo proud. What a sorry excuse for a leader. If he can’t keep his word – then he needs to go. I for one will never support a member of the republican party again.

    July 2, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. Lee Pickens, Derby, Kansas

    Thanks CNN, for a "fair and balanced" coverage of Libby's commuted sentence. Not a single Republican was included in the comments!

    July 2, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. Matt, Culver City, CA

    This article didn't quote any Republicans.
    Senator Fred Thompson: "I'm happy for Scooter Libby."
    You will not become president, Fred Thompson.

    July 2, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  11. Donnie

    What another blow to America Mr. President. What another blow!!!

    July 2, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. Tom Manning, Dallas, TX

    It is so interesting that CNN doesn't have a quote from a single conservative. All of these quotes are from Democrats. Very interesting!

    July 2, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  13. R. Denison, Michigan

    I'm sick and tired of this adminstration! Can anyone stop this madness? this is the first time in my life that I have decided to comment on any issue, but this White House and the conservatives have destroyed every thing that I trusted and belived in. Our Country does'nt belong to the people anymore, it is being run by a dictatorship. How can the Replublican leadership and this President sleep at night? Mr. Bush has talught my children that justice is not equal and to be cautious because "Big Brother" might be listing. All I can think of is another year and half can we survive it? I DON"T THINK SO!!!!

    July 2, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. James, Houston, Texas

    All of the comments you posted are from liberal goons, oh wait this is CNN.

    July 2, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. James Voos, San Carlos, CA

    I voted for Bush twice, and I made a HUGE mistake. Every move he makes continues to convince me of this. The latest Scooter Libby move is the nail in the coffin. The one right move I have made is leaving the Republican party and become an independent.

    It is time for average americans to take back our country from the wealthy, corporate interests.

    July 2, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. Bill Mitchell


    1. Melanie Sloan, legal counsel to Joe and Valerie Wilson
    2. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and presidential candidate
    3. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York
    4. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada
    5. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California
    6. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, and presidential candidate
    7. Former Sen. John Edwards, presidential candidate
    8. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, presidential candidate

    Incredible how the unbiased reporters at CNN couldn't manage to find a single Republican to interview – lol.

    I got ur Fairness Doctrine!

    July 2, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  17. Mike, Bowie, MD

    Does this now clear the way for President Bush to pardon the two Border Patrol agents who received 11 and 12 year sentences for DOING their duty? Apparently their mistake was in NOT lying during an investigation.

    July 2, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  18. Frank, Psicataway, NJ

    There should have an amnesty for everyone in jail and 3-year credit for the rest of us. You never know when you will need it.

    July 2, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. Jay, Lisbon OHIO

    This guy Libby was punking for the Veep, who was punking for the Pres when they lied to us to get us into this goforasken war. Remember tricky dick? he was just one guy. This whole crew is rotten!
    What can we do?
    Can we trust the press to go after them?
    Can we trust the supreme court?
    Call your representative today. It is time to vote no confidence in these creeps. Or impeach. Whichever is easier.

    jail the little munkies!

    Jay in Ohio, where they stole our vote, too.

    July 2, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. Nick, Atlanta GA

    So why just comments from Dems? Nice "balance" CNN.

    July 2, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. Chris, Dallas, Tx

    George Bush and Dick Cheney have no integrity whatsoever.

    Instead of aligning themselves with people of integrity, their actions put them alongside the likes of Saddam, Stalin, and Hitler as disgraces to the country they were supposed to represent. I am ashamed of our country and the people who voted those devils in office.

    July 2, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  22. Bob, Penfield NY

    Look into the mirror just two terms ago!

    I do agree that everyone should be accountable to one interpretation of the law. But before the Democratic hypocrites start decrying the "travesty of law", I would remind them to look into the mirror during the previous administration, and recall the pass that they gave Clinton. How convenient it was to write off blatant and confessed purjury. Shame on all of them.

    July 2, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. erika morgan black dimond wa

    This is so obviously the work of the real acting President Dick Chaney.

    On his own in Texas Bush 43 would not even pardon folks who had been proven innocent if a jury had convicted them with less then the complete story.

    Dick is hunting for loyalty and favor because he is a criminal and wants no part of paying for his crimes. Congress must act to stop this unlawful disregard for our Law and the takeover of our government.

    Demand for equality before the Law has nothing to do with politics and has everything to do with preserving and protecting our Constitution and our Law. Demand that all leaders and their agents and aids are always on the side of the Law in all things or that they pay the consequences as the Law prescribes is a lynch pin of our system of government. No person or his friends can be above the law or our civilization as we think we know it is over. This is not a case of gallantly lying about a tryst until the young lady wishes to go public, Cheney is no innocent young girl misled by lechery he does what he does with intention and foresight.

    July 2, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. Craig "No Relation" Bush

    Just goes to show the the Golden Rule is true:'The ones with the gold, make the rules.' Just when I thought my opinion of the government couldn't get any lower. If it were John or Jane Q. Citizen who'd done what Libby did, they'd be put away fo the maximum sentence. My money is on Libby getting a full pardon at the end of Dubbya's term. Bunch of liars and thieves.

    July 2, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  25. M. Usman Ansari, Akron Ohio

    Unfortunately, I am not at all surprised by the President's decision today. It seems that no one is willing to say what they are really thinking...that is that we are living in a semi-fascist political environment in which the law is only applied to those at odds with the administration.

    FISA laws are ignored for no real reason, nepotistic behavior is commonplace (i.e. hiring mediocre graduates from a fourth tier law school only because of its conservative leanings), people are essentially pulled off the street and held indefinitely without access to counsel or even information as to why they have been detained, and others are sent off to foreign countries where torture is still used to ascertain intelligence.

    I find these facts appalling and incredibly frightening as both a Muslim-American and a law student. It's way past time for change America! Wake up!

    July 2, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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