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. Tom, Dedham, Mass

    Couldn't be happier, this was a witch hunt from day one fueled by the media and liberals.

    What Sandy Berger did was much worse and it was barely reported on and he only got a small fine.

    Libby was not the leaker and much like your beloved Bill Clinton, guilty of a bad memory.

    Which is more believable, someone forgetting a meaningless conversation or someone forgetting having sex with an intern?

    How many crooks/friends did Clinton pardon on the way out the door?

    July 2, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  2. Orville, greenville, sc

    The Democrats are only talking "phone calls"?
    Why not impeachment?
    Where are the Republicans who were so upset over Clinton's abuse of power? (Lest we forget, Libby was convicted by a Republican prosecutor as well...)

    July 2, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  3. Gary, West Newbury, MA

    The official name of CIA headquarters is the George H. W. Bush Center for Central Intelligence. I wonder what 41 thinks about his son's handling of this.

    July 2, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  4. Kevin Tonoian, Santa Clarita, CA

    This is a sad day for our Country...

    July 2, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  5. michael w. ware, austin,texas

    "Pardon a criminal"
    Just another example of the Bush/Chaney "Kingdom" and lack of respect and disregard for the Constatution(sic)" of the USA.
    These arrogant idiots and thier advisors (Big Business) should be tried for " Treason and Sedition"

    July 2, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  6. A Kelly, Boston MA

    Just exactly why are the comments here from Democrates? If its a politcal ticker there has to be more than one side to this story.

    July 2, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  7. Gerald Estes

    This administration has NO shame. George, Dick, Alberto, Condoleeza and Karl have once again demonstrated their complete ARROGANCE AND TOTAL DISREGARD towards the Constitution of the United States. If ever there was a reason to impeach GWB, the communtation of Scooter Libby's sentence is it. Impeach the bastard! NOW!

    July 2, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. Bryan, Albany, NY

    This is an extremely sad day for American justics, and an even more sad for the taxpayers who paid for the investigation and trial. We should ger our moey back. The countless hours that the special prosecutor and legal tems (including Mr. Libby's) are to waste.

    I agree with the point above about finger pointing . However, we can all predict what will happen after the GOP point the fingers back at the Dem.'s ad calls them unpatriotic. They'll sink back into their spineless shells, with no retribution for the American people, and we'll all be even further from the truth than before the Libby trial.

    July 2, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. Roger Carter

    Obviously everyone is protected. One instance is Mark Foley. He was charged with soliciting, by federal communications, of a minor (boy at that). Libby was involved in defacing our governments most treasured means of information, the CIA.
    Impeach the bastard for doing this.

    July 2, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. Jadvar Johnson, Omaha NE

    This just proves that there is absolutely nothing Bush can do that warrants impeachment consideration by the cowardly Democrats. Willful and total disregard for our constitution, our laws, our liberties, our courts ... the list goes on and on.

    I say go for it Dubya, you are clearly above the law. Maybe you could at least save us all a few bucks by suspending future executive branch elections (and whatever branch Cheney thinks he works for). Just appoint Jeb, it would save us all a lot of money on another pointless election.

    July 2, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  11. Ben Scottsdale, Az

    there should be know doubt to any American that this administration has no respect for our laws or Constitution. This President and Vice president should be impeached or forced to resign immediately.

    July 2, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  12. Charles Hicks Cohutta, Ga. 30710

    I received my "traverse jury summons" on the very day that Bush commutes the sentence of Scooter Libby. It makes me want to turn everybody loose; except murders and child molesters. If our elected officials and government employees are not held accountable then no one should be. The President is just protecting himself, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove from being outed by Scooter Libby.

    July 2, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  13. Tom Gifford Anaheim, CA

    George Bush has failed to make the right decision again. Two inherent lifelong scofflaws like Bush/Cheney have taken the term “government” to its lowest point in my lifetime. I have never been more embarrassed of the leadership of the United States. I submit the Bush government is worthless, shameless and without any redeeming value to America or the average American citizen. Sadly, though, the truth is Bush & his puppet master Cheney really don't care one damn bit about our opinions. My deepest fear is they will find a way to refuse to relinquish power in January of 2009.

    Thank you.

    July 2, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  14. Calvin Kemmer Crossville, TN

    And so the great empire continues its fall...

    July 2, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  15. Brad, Marengo, IL

    It's interesting that CNN's political ticker chooses only to quote opponents to President Bush.

    Some journalism!

    July 2, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. Kathy Nason, Quincy, MA

    This is not a surprise.

    July 2, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  17. Jerry, Annapolis, MD

    Shame on Bush, Shame on Cheney. Shame on America for its lawlessness. Shame on every ignorant voter who voted this crook back into office in 2004. This President has made us look disgraceful in front of the world and it just keeps getting worse. Its not too late to Impeach the Prez. The media is busy with Paris Hilton so who cares? Our nation's problems slwoly drift away into oblivion and the White House army of thieves continue to harm this great nation. Unite people Unite!!! Wake up, we are not China or Russia!!

    July 2, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. Tom Rogers, East Meadow, NY

    Not long ago, certain government officials (Republicans, primarily) wanted to impeach President Clinton for doing something that had no affect on the American people. On the other hand, since he TOOK office, President Bush has been responsible for MANY things that have affected our country adversely. He has the audacity to go against the law, the will of the people, the decisions of Congress, etc.–and continues to get away with it! Of course, most of the country asked for this continued abuse when they re-elected him. I didn't vote to keep him in office, though. Why should those of us who knew that he was like this continue to suffer? He should have been impeached during his first term in office!

    July 2, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  19. Peter Q. George, Whitman, MA.

    Politics as usual. This man did what amounts to breach of security. He was a risk to the national security of this nation. And by the stroke of a pen, he walks. As Danny Glover's character in the "Shooter" says to Mark Wahlberg's character in the movie, "I win, you lose.". Only in America.

    July 2, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. LeRoy, Phoenix, AZ

    I am not surprised by the actions of President Bush today. This is a pattern of behavior that started the day he took office. He misled his own Republican party, but claiming to run their agenda only to run his own (See deficit, family values and size of government). He invaded Iraq using the names of the people that died on 9/11 as his just cause, meanwhile; the real threat is still alive and well in Pakistan. His government manipulated intelligence to support their illegal invasion of Iraq, with Chaney pressuring the CIA to see things “their way”, thus setting our intelligence community back at least 10 years. He told us all, that if anyone was found to have leaked information that they would not work for his administration, which was a lie. Libby continued to work until the day of his indictment. Justice is for people that continue to see things the way the administration does, else it is cover-ups, double talk, stalling and re-categorizing the laws as they see fit.
    I say, he should be impeached by this congress for manipulating intelligence on the war. Even if it happens on his last day in office, because then history will know that this president was wrong and there were good people that still believed in being good, just and that our system of government still works and can be trusted.

    July 2, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  21. S. Peters, Lake Placid, Florida

    Why all this fuss? Has it not been made patently clear long before this latest slap at the legal system of these still UNITED States that geoWge and his junta consider themselves above our laws?
    Does he not maintain Alberto in the top legal position of his administration, whose main job is to 'adjust' existing laws to suite their agenda?
    Is it not a fact that secrecy and obfuscation have blatantly been practiced until any truth coming from this regimes is rendered nugatory?
    Commuting the jail time of this liar, perjurer, and cover-up expert is proof that more could have been uncovered in the continuing original investigation, the outing of a covert CIA operative.
    Interesting how conveniently geoWge invokes his constitutional right when it suites THEIR needs, was it not yesterday that this document, our American Constitution was referred to as a quaint old piece of paper by Atny. Gnl. Gonzo?

    July 2, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  22. scott edward phelps, dover, delaware

    not since the days of Richard Nixon and "all the president's men" have we seen the kind of arrogance displayed by George Bush and his administration...sadly, though, because our system is designed as it is, we will, after all the shouting and outrage subside, have only one option: to wait patiently for the end of this man's term and rejoice when we see him get on the taxpayer funded jet that will take him and his pitiful excuse of a legacy back to Texas...if there is a lesson to be learned from all of this, perhaps it might be that we, as Americans, need to stop talking about holding our elected officials accountable and actually doing it...because as long as we allow the kind of arrogance and disregard for the will of the people exhibited by George Bush and Dick Cheney, we will get what we deserve...every...single....time.....

    July 2, 2007 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  23. Mike, Savannah GA

    Pelosi, Reid, Richardson, Obama, and Edwards can lambast Bush all they want, but when W lays his head on his pillow tonight, he does so with the sweet satisfaction of knowing that he's the President, and they're not.

    July 2, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  24. Barb , Union City, MI

    Why not turn the reflection pool in DC into a National Toilet and take the Constitution and use it as it's official toilet paper? Is Bush such a looser that he really thinks he can get away ith this stuff? The SOB needs to be impeached (this Libby thing we'll just add to the list).

    July 2, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  25. Martin, Chicago, IL

    This is amazing. Something extreme happens every time the Daily Show and Colbert Report take their vacations.

    There is Libby this time. The illegal lawyer firings came out this past December. The illegal warrentless wiretapping at least one year ago in December. There are more, but I can't recall them besides the fact that I have told people that these things happen every time DS and CR take vacation.

    Not to mention the Bolton recess appointment during a vacation as well. Unless Reid has something up his sleeve like where a Senator opens and closes Congress every day to not be on "official recess", I expect some great resignations followed by absurd recess appointments, possibly even including Harriet Miers replacing Gonzo as the AG.

    July 2, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
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