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. Mike moranos

    ID 10-7

    July 2, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Dave KC, MO

    Are there no comments supporting the actions of Pres. Bush? Of course there are...just not posted here. Not that the bias is being hidden anyway...

    July 2, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. Anne Cincinnati, OH

    he should be in jail! Another perfect example of how this administration believes they are above the law.

    July 2, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. James Macool ,ft myers, fla.

    This was just an IN YOUR FACE America from the president for the loss on the immagration bill. We all knew he was gonna do it. He just did it a little sooner than was expected.

    July 2, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. Erik Wilson, San Francisco, CA

    Although it was (or should have been) totally predictable, that doesn't keep this action from being an outrageous and heinous misuse of the president's powers. George Bush and Dick Cheney have absolutely no regard for the rule of law or the Constitution of the United States. Ms. Pelosi, I beg of you - please put impeachment back on the table! There is simply no other recourse to rein in these out-of-control criminals that are currently occupying the highest positions of power in our country. Impeach NOW!!

    July 2, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. John, Bellevue, WA

    President Putin would be proud of such a display of Party unity.

    July 2, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. Jeff, Orlando, Fl

    What to say? Another demonstration of a man's decision to discredit the Office for which he holds. I am sickened by the continuation of catastrophic decision making that has lead our Country into it's darkest hours. 2008 to the Democrats was sealed today by the most powerful republican in the world. It is yours to loose...

    July 2, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. William Cooke, NY, NY

    Why is George Bush allowed to continue as president? Why is Dick Cheney allowed to continue as Vice President? Our country needs redemption. Why isn't there more talk of impeachment and conviction of these two criminals?!

    July 2, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Anonymous, Seattle, WA

    As previously mentioned, the Democrats point at the Republicans, the Rep's point back. When Clinton perjured himself, it was a laundry list of Rep's saying how horrible they were.

    Now, it's the Dem's taking the opportunity to cry out again the Republicans. And if you doubt. Look at the list of political commentators above. Six of 7 are self labeled Democrats.

    Honestly, it's time for a change.

    July 2, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Paul, Newport Beach, CA

    So the president will grant clemency to a fall guy but won't even consider giving a pardon or clemency to two border patrol agents wrongly convicted who put their lives on the line to protect us. Where is the justice in that?

    July 2, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. Megan-Oaklyn, NJ

    Anyone who agrees with this commutation is an idiot and probably voted for Bush.

    July 2, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. D.P. Walker, Marlboro, NJ

    This recent action, champions the beliefs of many Americans(Republicans & Democrats) who correctly believes that this administration, and this President is totally inept and devoid of common sense. Time afer time, they have trampled on, and used the law of this great nation for their own narrow mindedness, and political gain. This act will not pass the smell test.

    July 2, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  13. diana, north hollywood, ca

    Today is another sad day in our country's history. Scooter libby, who took the fall for leaking the name of a cia operative, a mighty large offense, gets off because his friend decided his sentence was too harsh. the man committed treason, ended a agents career, a long and successful career. it is just sad how we have allowed this administration to bend the constitution to their own liking whenever they please.

    July 2, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. John Fontaine

    Shame on you, Mr. Bush. You are a blight on this country.

    July 2, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  15. Leonardo, Seminole FL

    Nothing surprises me anymore. This administration continues to be full of scandals and lies. The Iraq war goes on and the cronie criminal moves on walks). I can proudly say that I did not vote for George W and his cronies. The good news – the misery ends in 18 months. Have we learned from our mistakes?

    July 2, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. Anthony Galie Melbourne Beach, Fl.

    Disgraceful....simply disgraceful!

    July 2, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. Dave Flournoy, Summerville SC

    My, My, My, everyone is soooo upset. No president in my lifetime can justify their pardons, the only strange thing is that some people expect them to. Justice in America is purchased through better attorneys and political clout. The next president will do the same for his guys, just wait and see.

    July 2, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  18. Donna, Buffalo NY

    I seriously doubt that any American is truly shocked by this news. Americans knew this was coming, and in saying that, it lends hand to the disgust Americans harbor towards this administration. When the citizens of a country EXPECT underhanded political policy, the country in an ideological sense, is in ruins.

    July 2, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. S. A. Kempp

    This administration has no accountability, not since Lincoln has a president blatantly ignored the Constitution.

    Please, let it be 2009.

    July 2, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Outraged in Los Angeles, CA

    How many more days before Bush is out of office? Wow, whats next I wonder....pardoning that clown from Texas?

    July 2, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. Jacob, Provo UT

    Bush once again shows that he can do whatever he wants, and the weak kneed Democrats won't do anything about it. How is it that in our justice system you can get off the hook just because you have powerful friends?

    July 2, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. James, Fresno, CA

    Bob – That is exactly the kind of cynicism that this administration wants to encourage. Don't fall for the "they all stink" scam. The reality is that the Republicans and the Bushies are destroying our country and the only way to stop them is to get involved and throw them out of office.

    July 2, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. Matt, State College, PA

    Thanks again CNN for a completely one-sided spin on this topic. Of course all of the Democratic leaders will issue statements like this. Everyone expects this to the point that the quotes listed are almost meaningles. CNN has every right to advance a liberal political agenda, but please don't to it behind the illusion of an objective news report.

    July 2, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. Bill Johnson, Stillwater, Oklahoma

    It appears that President Bush does not believe or support our country's "Pledge of Allegiance". The part: "...and justice for all." Maybe this Wednesday he should think about what those words stand for.

    July 2, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. Kay Woen, Decatur, Illinois

    HORSE $#%@!!!!

    July 2, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
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