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. Ronn Daignault, Wildwood, NJ

    It just goes to show you the arrogance of this president. It does not matter what is legal or illegal with this president. he will do whatever he has to.

    The Congress of the United States should start Impeachment hearings tomorrow

    July 2, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. Arthur Frain, Portland ME

    If there has been a greater slap in the face to the rule of law committed by a sitting President, I cannot imagine it.

    Honor? Integrity? Bush has stained the office worse than any predecessor. This is an act of war against the American people.

    July 2, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  3. Scott Ellensburg WA

    I would be interseted in what these 8 folks said about President Clintons Pardons?

    July 2, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  4. Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA


    July 2, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. David, Orlando, Florida

    The President of the United State is a criminal himself and should go to jail for his crimes against the honest citizens of the United States.

    July 2, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. Laurie Finnegan, West Hills, CA

    I am furious that someone who was so reckless with the welfare of another human being can be let off so easily. Mr. Bush shows again that he doesn't give a damn about doing what's right by all americans just the one's that fill his pocket. The last election was the last one where I will call myself a republican.

    July 2, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. Marc, Boston MA

    At what point do we recognize that the American government is no longer a representation of the American people and simply an elitist, corrupt group with their own agenda. Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to politics and protecting one's own.

    July 2, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. Todd Schmidt, Weston, Fl

    Do you just list democrates???? How about the Clinton administration who stole paperwork from library and hide it at a consdtruction site. OHH MY

    July 2, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. Robert Jowl, Los Angeles, Ca.

    I am a registered Democrat. That being said, I might say George Bush has lost his mind by showing he'll do anything for a frend. But take a step back and see that When Clinton was in office the republicans said the same of Clinton.

    It isnt about 1 man or 1 party. Candidates on both sides are corrupt. They do not care about you and I. They care about themselves and only when they need our vote do they look for us.

    Wake up- this is the way it always has been and it isnt about to change until we fire the whole lot of them and start over.

    July 2, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. Rick R. Warren, PA

    Who do these people think they are? Why do they remain convinced they are above the law? Because apparently they are. Thus far the Democratic congress has shown no taste for the fight WE sent them there to do. They are as guilty of ignoring the will of the people who sent them to Washington as Bush and his masters are. I personally wouldn't care if he only had a month left in office, let alone 18 months...these people need to be impeached and removed from office if only to send a clear message to anyone else who'd like to turn America into a facist state. IMPEACH BUSH!!!

    July 2, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  11. Adrian McNeil, Brisbane, Australia

    Bush Jr's televised response to the Plame affair? The guilty would be tracked down and "taken care of." Odd. Not "brought to justice" or "punished".

    Now we see – the suits in Bush's administration can't take care of GI's needing decent armour, can't look after wounded vets needing decent hospitals, and won't take care of their CIA spy, but Bush can take care of a convicted liar who sits back in the White House covering up a security leak.

    What might real caring achieve in the Mid-East or Africa?.

    July 2, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. S. Paujlus, Knoxville, 'TN

    I am glad Libby's sentence was commuted. I think he was trapped by a witch hunt.

    July 2, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. Laura, Lawrence, MA

    My Lord!!! What are we waiting for impeach this man? Do we need to suffer any more for his mistakes? This is another proof of how important is for us to start fighting against this administation or we will lose our country. We are looking for terrorists overseas while things like are happing in front of our eyes. It is time for american people to start realizing who is really President Bush. He thinks that he is above the law and his actions would not have consecuences. First, the war in Iraq, a war without any fair reason, that goes on and on and he does't want to admit he mistaked. Now, this action. I wonder what is going to be next?!!!

    July 2, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. Tom Paine, Arch Cape, Oregon

    To heck with Democratic comments, lets hear from some Republicans. Come on guys, spin this one for us. Should be good for a laugh.
    Lets face it America, the Republican party is a criminal enterprise.

    July 2, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  15. Mark Dianda, Austin, TX

    Where do I begin? This is not the first time this administration violated the law, nor is the last time this administration will violate the law. There is no one to blame but ourselves. We elected this band of corporate hoodlums, whether by vote, or inaction to vote. We, as Americans, stood by when the lies were posed to us about WMDs in Iraq, nodding agreement or closing our mouths in quiet dissent. We stood by and allowed Guantanamo, unflinching or unnerved by the very idea of torture (the ends justifying the means). We stood by as our sons and daughters were sent in waves to defend an ideologically barren and falsely posited war on terror in a land we have no business imposing the rule of this countries military industrial might.

    The time is NOW. The time is HERE. Stand up, STAND UP and BE COUNTED. Or, be left to waste away in a country which needs you. Don't turn your head in denial. Don't close your eyes to the truth. The President, the Vice President, his cabinet, and close associates are making a mockery of this nation, its laws, and principles. All while, two houses sit on on a hill of large corporate money, earning rewards for bills and laws that fly in the face of common sense or fall mercy to the fear of terrorism, compromising our own rights.

    As Independence Day draws near, will you be watching rockets red glare and waxing nostalgia of the Constitution, and the Declaration our forefathers sent to a corrupt king and wishing for better days? Or will you take up arms to fund and act on behalf of independents, democrats, and republicans who wish to turn this nation around, who want reform, who want justice, who want nothing to do with corporate greed?

    Whose country is this?? Whose government is this?? Where is the Justice?? It is all in our hands and minds and I pray we all have the strength to pursue the liberty and justice which was heartily fought by citizens of the past, citizens much like YOU.

    So, what will it be? Blind consent, OR eyes open, hearts on fire, fists raised, and the words shouted, "America for the people, for the FREE, and JUSTICE FOR ALL!!"

    July 2, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  16. Richard Glenn, Santa Fe, NM

    Lewis Libbey lies to a Grand Jury and gets 30 months in prison.

    Bill Clinton lies to a Grand Jury and gets................oh yeah...nothing!!!!

    July 2, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  17. Jeff, SLC, UT

    I guess no Republicans cared to comment on the pardon. Although I suppose that their comments aren't important, only those that DISagree with it should be listened to.

    July 2, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  18. Tim Leahy, Appleton, WI

    How can this be, I ask myself? Under what logic does this happen? Then I am reminded what neo-conservatism means: An aggressive unilateral foreign policy, a general belief that elites protect democracy from mob rule and a profound belief in America's moral superiority.

    And it all makes sense.

    In commuting Libby's sentence for his lies about the lies to go to war he hit all three points in the same affair.

    Perfect. Then again, maybe it's just compassionate conservatism.

    July 2, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  19. K.Bunn Urbana Il.

    Go figure.

    July 2, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  20. Dave Cleveland, Ohio

    Outrageous. Since Libby won't be held accountable for breaking the law, maybe its time the President atone for the law breakers in his administration. It's time for impeachment. Watergate proved that no one is above the law -even the President. IMPEACH BUSH!

    July 2, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  21. Deron Rennick, Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA

    WE can't point fingers up here, either. Our politicians are equally corrupt. Sad, isn't it, that our obsession with the trivial has allowed democracy and the rule of law to be abandoned. All that seems to matter to us any more is pro sports, shopping, and what's up with Paris and Britany. We in Canada have the calibre of corrupt politicians that we deserve. As do you Americans. I fear for democracy and justice in both our countries. Not because of the corrupt politicians that have hijacked it, but more because of our appathetical citizens, most of whom can no longer differentiate the important from the trivial. Bread and circuse, eh?

    Deron Rennick

    PS. Don't forget, Clinton pardoned all of his criminal friends when he left office as well. As will your next President.

    July 2, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  22. Dr Michael Sargent, Brooklyn, New York

    There is no choice now but impeachment.

    July 2, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  23. Trish Smith, Houston Texas

    I bet Jeff Skilling wishes he had been a closer buddy to Bush. Where was Bush when Martha Stewart had to do time for lying? I guess Cheney didn't give the order then.
    I am continually appalled at what this administration gets away with in the name of executive orders. I wonder how Fitzgerald is going to respond to this outrage or the judge in this case? I hope Wilson has more moves in mind.
    Bush goes boating in his lily whites while the world crumbles due to his ineptness. I keep thinking he can't possibly do more harm and then he does.
    If this latest move doesn't secure major losses for the Rebublicans in future elections I don't know – yes I do – Bush will add insult to injury if given time.

    July 2, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  24. HQ Easley SC

    George Bush refused to commute the sentence for a retarded man in TX while Governor. Meanwhile Libby deserves help? This is the most amoral, corrupt administration since Nixon, and they may have Nixon beat. Nixon had his crew spy on the Democrats, Bush has his crew spying on all of us.

    July 2, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  25. Jared Houston,TX

    Since when is the executive branch not equally powerful as the legislative and judicial? While I may not agree with all the positions of this administration, I do agree that they have the right to defend their ranks. The American public did elect them for better or worse.

    July 2, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
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