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. Jennifer Decker, Omaha, Nebraska

    Bush is completely out of touch with anything resembling reality and fairness. Apparently he wasn't raised to care about what is right and what is fair. He simply doesn't know or doesn't care or is completely stupid or utterly evil. Everything he has claimed to love about this country - he has just violated it. I wish I wasn't so shocked - I just can't help but be. Yet, it isn't the first time he's acted with utter defiance of reason or justice. Could someone please read him the Declaration of Independence? Focus on the part about tyranny.

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

    Another sad event in a discouraging cycle than depresses and saddens me as a young man of African decent in this country. It is simply not fair that there is an obvious inequity in the way that justice is dished out. Tell me this country is not run by the conservitive "mafia" who serves their own punishment on their enemys on their own terms and takes care of their own at any cost. From taking the presidency Gangster style to sacrificing thousands of lives for oil that we still pay more than ever for, who can stop this? No one obviously, because its just one sad story after another with this government. Rot in jail Genarlo Wilson I would bet my life that G.W. Bush wont be commuting anything for you. Guess you should have compromised our national security instead. 🙁

    July 2, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. B Cumming Mendham, NJ

    How about the reactions of others who are not Democrats? How can these remarks come from the same people who excused a Clinton aid from removing, destroying and lying about original documents in the national archives? Our politicians are so two faced – it's nauseating.

    July 2, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. Frank, Houston Texas

    Is it possible that CNN only has the phone numbers of democrats. Where were all these idiot politicians when Clinton was letting everyone and their brother (and probably his brother) off at the end of his presidency. All of these politicians are two-faced liars.

    July 2, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  5. Robert, New York & Miami, Florida

    Stop counting in others. It is up to us, Americans!

    I am with Bob! REVOLUTION!

    July 2, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. Nicolas, LA, CA.


    July 2, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Florida

    GASP!!!!! Actually I think this is great... let Bush continue insulting, denigrating, misjudging, lying to our nation. The more he does it the more votes Democrats will get come election day. Let's really pay close attention to the GOP senators that stand by him on this decision and make sure that they don't get reelected in '08.

    With this decision Bush is once again making a mockery of our courts, our laws. our citizens and most importantly the difficult work our intelligence personnel carries out every day. I just can't be amazed by his lack of touch anymore. All I can do is to patiently wait for the glorious day his term in office and we can move on with a better alternative.

    July 2, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  8. Kathleen Cook

    Why no clemency for the 152 people he signed death warrants on Texas? Isn't the death penalty pretty severe punishment? I am beyond disappointed in this administration, and this country for sitting idle while this president and vp tear down the very foundation of laws this nation has fought and many died and are still dying for, excuse me while I go and vomit.

    July 2, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  9. Bill Johnson, Boardman, Ohio

    Congress should start impeachment proceedings tomorrow. This president, vice president, and his cronies are the most corrupt and inept administration in history. They have the blood of 3500 American soldiers and counting on their hands and will go to any length to cover up their corruption.

    July 2, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. David, Ashland, Oregon

    Is anyone REALLY surprised that this most blatantly corrupt administration thinks this is OK?

    I've never been a fan of the idea of impeaching Bush for a number of reasons but this gang is now as deserving as anyone ever was!

    July 2, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. linda michel

    the consequences of Mr. Libby's actions were serious and warranted a sober judgement. It is a slap in the face to the average American to minimize and rationalize his sentence. It is offensive to endure this arrogance and double standard of justice.

    July 2, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. Mary Pike, Liberty Missouri


    July 2, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  13. Mark, Madisonville, KY

    This is how a lame-duck president works. No one can hold him accountable because his time is almost up. But even so, this President does not care about what the people think. Never has and never will. He probably doesn't even realize what the big deal is all about.

    July 2, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. Martin, Miami, FL

    What else can we expect from the den of crooks we have in the white house. Wolves dressed in sheep's clothing.

    July 2, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  15. Ed Turner III

    Bush said the sentence was excessive? Hasn't the Republican Party always been an advocate of stiff sentences for convicted felons? So is the Party now opposed to stiff sentences? Or just against stiff sentences given to convicted republican felons? If so does this action signal a shift to picking more liberal judges by the Bush Adminstration?

    July 2, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  16. Kenneth Janowski

    Good to see we have a "law and order" prez. If you are a buddy, break the law and he'll order you freed.

    July 2, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. Suzanne F. St. Petersburg, FL

    Since this all began, it has always been my opinion that Scooty Libby was the "fall guy". Someone higher up must have told him to leak that info. I'm sure in my heart, that a deal was worked out earlier with the powers that be. "You take the wrap and we will get you off later!" I wouldn't be a bit surprised if someone else will be paying his fine, too. Corruption at it's best!!
    I was a "Thinking Republican" who turned into a "disgruntled Republican" during the Florida election fixing. Now I am a registered Democrat, as I am embarrased to call myself Republican any longer.

    July 2, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  18. Lance, Round Rock, Texas

    This only goes to prove that our president feels he is above the law. He is telling the world that the United States does not honor truth and justice.

    It is a sad day for America and the justice system.

    July 2, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. Kai, Treasure Island


    now in the eyes of the international community you are just a ( bad ) joke.....

    July 2, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. Janice Carter, Warner Robins, GA

    Ok people. When Bush stole the election the first time, we ALL knew we were in trouble. When Cheney shot a man in the face and basically said "My bad". We knew we were in trouble. When the fact that Bush made a killing selling his Enron stock before it went bellyup, we knew we were in trouble. The fact that Halliburton (Cheney's "old" employer) is damn near the only company getting government contracts to "rebuild" Iraq, we knew we were in trouble. My question to the other Americans out there, is how much trouble do these two unethical, unscrupulous, maniacal people have to get in, before "WE the PEOPLE" say enough is ENOUGH? Waiting until the next election is NOT the answer. They need to be removed now. Why keep an operatable tumor when you have the power to remove it?

    July 2, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. Clive Johnson

    I thought AMERICA was about equal rights and that NOBODY was above the law.

    OBVIOUSLY NOT.......

    July 2, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. Tom, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Considering Libby is clearly the "fall guy" for mistakes made by the the Bush Administration, I think it is appropriate and fitting that the President decided to commute the prison sentence.

    Also, please print some of the Republican reactions to the news – by only quoting democrats, you are only telling one side of the story – and it is no suprise they have all come out with strong words against the President's decision.

    July 2, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. John C. Roberts, Montgomery AL

    Don't forget about all of the Drug Dealers former President Clinton actually pardoned at the end of his presidency. Check it out:

    July 2, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. Bill Comins, Abington PA

    The commutation of Scooter Libby! WHAAAAAAT!!!! 'Cmon already America! What's it going to take for you to show some self respect and respect for what's left of our great nation? Impeach these criminals already!!!

    July 2, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  25. C.Coen,Chicago, IL

    We should have known by now that this administration has absolutely no respect for the law, or for the American people whose sons and daughters are dying in Iraq. Their corruption, ignorance, and arrogance are staggering.Mr.Bush and Mr. Cheney should be impeached.

    July 2, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
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