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. Andy Bowen, Atlanta GA

    The President of the United States should be a man of unquestionable integrity and impeccable character...a statesman. None of which apply to "W". This is yet another move by an administration that instead of being "for the people, by the people" is "for themselves, by themselves". To quote the worst President in history, "It's time for a regime change." I find it intesting how a man can pass judgement on other world leaders when his actions are no less questionable....remove the hypocrital puppet from office.

    July 2, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  2. working person

    what did we expect? george bush already thru out the constitution. so why not the rest of the laws of this once great nation? shucks, people go to jail for harmless simple possession of marijuana...but out a cia agent, pardon. maybe mr bush will apply the equal treatment to lesser crimes?

    July 2, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Steve, Culpeper, VA

    Well what can we expect with a corrupt president, and vice president. The real law breakers run the country.. WE just have to live with it.. Thank God January 20, 2009 is not far.. Still too long for a lame president to run our country.

    July 2, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. Rick J Minneapolis Minn

    If this is the way our country is headed, than God please save us all. The center of the axis of evil IS GB.

    July 2, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Gene Grantham, NH

    IMPEACH! IMPEACH! IMPEACH! (altenative: let the real culprit, Cheney, do the time)

    July 2, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Serry Z, Champaign, IL

    Shame! Shame! Shame! on this presedent. Thank goodness that our constitution does not allow you to stay one day more than 8 years.

    July 2, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Vincent Bush - Arco, ID

    What are ya'll nuts. This is a President who knows what time it is. Bush is an Independent actor on this world's stag. At least he has the gumption to stand up for what is right.
    Let’s get Berger back up on the stage!!! Can’t win an election without legal wrangling and now Bush has cut a couple of steers for himself. HA! Love it or leave it.

    July 2, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. Carlos A. Khantzis, Los Angeles, California

    President Bush's action should come as not surprise to anyone. Scotter Libby was in the inner circle of conspirators that misled the nation into the disastrous war with Iraq. It's safe to assume that Libby had enough goods on Bush and Cheney to have them impeached and indicted as war criminals so there was no chance that he would spend a single day in jail. The next thing in Mr. Libby's future will be the offer of a high paying job at some right wing think tank so he will keep his mouth shut.

    July 2, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Gabriel , Pentagon

    Every American, both Democrat and Republican, should be sickened by this cowardly act. It marks the adminstrations complete disregard for the rule of law, their own promises and the security of this nation.

    Please call the White House 202-456-1111.

    July 2, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. Rick, Clearwater, FL

    Come on you haters...the *real* villain is Richard Armitage – who really was the one who gave up Plame as a CIA agent. Why aren't you haters of Bush going after *that* guy? Simple answer...he distanced himself from Bush and is a closet Libera. You'd rather hate someone who is tied closer to Bush. You are nothing but hating hypocrites.

    July 2, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. Penny Mohr, Shrewsbury MA

    How much longer is this arrogant, defiant, 'above-the-law' presidency going to be allowed to make it's own rules and regulations??? It goes without saying that BOTH of the elections that got George Dubya 'in' were illegal ... had proper procedures been followed, this IDIOT would never have been elected president ... he can't even speak in complete sentences even WITH script writers!

    The devastation – on all levels – of our wonderful country in his few short years in office is beyond words!! It's all about the oil and the money ... in which Bush and Cheney both profit.

    How many MORE American lives will be lost in wars that aren't ours (it's another Vietnam ... we CAN'T win ... they're not OUR war(s) ... how many of our own have to die, become dismembered and/or become psychology disabled before the madness ends???

    We're not wanted in the Middle East ... for every one step forward, there are ten steps back. I can't quite remember, but I don't seem to recall that ANY family member of the Bush, Cheney or any other political families have been deployed and/or are fighting and dying needlessly.

    BRING THEM HOME!!!!!!!!!!NOW!!!!!!!!!

    God bless the USA and OUR TROOPS!!!

    July 2, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    This is so sad for the United States of America...compared to George W. Bush, Hitler is a warm human being. Once a high public official choses to look aside from morals and the laws of the land we are without civilization. How can this happen in a demoracy such as ours? We have flaws we need to fix.

    July 2, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  13. Dorothy M. Oliver, Greensboro, NC

    Why is everyone surprised by Bush's decision to let Liddy go free? Remember, he said, "I am the decider." He means, "I decide everything."

    July 2, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. Joe Smith, Cloquet, MN

    More evidence that Bush and the GOP consider the nations laws and judicial system apply to everyone but themselves. As Governor of Texas Bush refused to pardon a women on death row who'd converted to christ saying no matter what people must server their punishment.
    But when Bush or his cronies are CONVICTED in a court law, he can say 'this doesn't apply to me'.
    We need to impeach this man now!!!!

    July 2, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Mike

    This man, and this administration have done so much to undermine the national security of the US. When Chenney/Rove et. al, outed Valarie Plame they also outed an entire program that planted agents in companies operating in the Middle East. They Ruined much of out ability to gather critical intelliengce just at the point we need it the most. And for what? For politics, for a petty revenge for an editorial that criticized the administration, correctly critized no less, them for a rush to war, manipulating intelligence, and a ends justify the means mentality. Bush and Chenney had embarassed me for the last time, I 'm leaving the republican party.

    July 2, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. David Eugene Oregon

    "O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth!"

    -Thomas Paine

    July 2, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    I have two thoughts on this:

    First, I find all the hand wringing and pearl clutching of the Fox News Circuit and "rule of law" conservatives over poor Scooter's sentence to be wildly disingenuous considering they wanted Bill Clinton (who was AQUITTED by a jury) strung from the nearest tree, yet when a CONVICTED felon guilty of perjury, making false statements, and obstruction of justice actually faces jail time, well then there is hell to be paid. After all, he is one of THEM – he shouldn't be in jail! That's for like blacks people and the poor and stuff.

    Second – I think this was also done to keep Scooter from trading his jail time to cooperate with a deeper investigation of the Bush administration and all the corrupt goings on.

    July 2, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. Mike, Bellevue, WA

    Come on CNN, let's hear what the Republicans are saying.

    Let's see how many of the Republican candidates who were all for pardoning Libby are vocal about it now.

    Let's see how many of the Republican members of Congress are distancing themselves from this Administration to try and perserve any chance at stil being employed in 2009.

    Those comments would actually be news.

    July 2, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. john, Phoenix Arizona

    I have been a straight ticket republican for the last 20 years. This is appalling. If one of the republican canidates can't put integrity over politics, the party has lost my vote for a VERY long time. Absolutely disgusting.

    July 2, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. Peaches Barrett, Sunnyvale, CA

    Barak Hussein Obama should keep his mouth shut until his handlers explain the Libby case in the details that he can understand. Obama lied when he stated that Libby had compromised national security.

    Even Armitage did not compromise national security, since Plame's husband had already outed her in bragging about her job. Who can have confidence in justice when such a farce is used to politically punish? Libby should be completely exonerated and the prosecutor brought to trial. He lied, too.

    July 2, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  21. Dave Osburn; Cave Creek, AZ

    What else should we expect from the Bush crime family? When the next admistration comes to office maybe they can give us justice by prosecuting Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield.

    July 2, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |


    July 2, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. Michael, Chattanooga Tn

    It's odd he would decide to do this now but lets face it, compaired to some of the pardons Clinton did and presidents before them both it's not a huge deal. If breaking the law is the issue Clinton set new standards.

    It's not good politics but President Bush apparently only practiced good politics before he was elected. He makes me sad to be a Republican but this doesn't seem like a big deal.

    July 2, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  24. Tinker Bachant, Sautee, GA

    I cannot believe that in this country, the United States of America, that a government as corrupt as the present administration, is allowed to continue with out a call for impeachment of the president and the vice president.
    This is the most disgusting and embarrassing behavior in our history. The rest of the non-puritanical world laughed at Bill Clinton's pecadillos, but now we've becomr the object of ridicule and hatred. How long does it take for Americans to turn off the Simpsons, quit worrying who has the new iphone and wake up to the real world?

    July 2, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  25. Mike , New York City, NY

    OK, let's think positive. My guess is that the next job for Scooter Libby will be ... political comentator for Fox News ! He has the same qualifications as Fox News star Oliver North: had ahigh level job in a Republican White House, convicted for lying under oath, didn't get to jail.

    July 2, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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