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. Ray, Leander TX

    I think Harrison Ford said it best "Peace isn't merely the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice.”.. and today was a black mark against the justice system we have fought for over 200 years to put in place. I wonder where we will be in another 100?

    July 2, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. David D. Caveny, Douglas, AZ

    It will be interesting to see if Bush issues a blanket pardon as he leaves office to members of his administration from Cheney, Rumsfeld, Armitage, Kristal, Rove, the Abu Grahib CIA and Flag Rank Officers who tortured individuals outside the Geneva Convention and the many individuals in the Justice Departement to include Gonzales and Cabione, and the Abramoffs and Gary Bauers and Lotts and Cunninghams as well as various other neocon criminals who facilitated the fascist take over of our government which now controls everything except for Lou Dobbs in Amerika! He will then be able to completely obfuscate his corruption from the poor saps who voted for him not once but twice!

    July 2, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. James A. Kowalski, New York, NY

    How cynical can a President be? Add to his legacy of untruths, arrogance and unwillingness to learn and change, that Mr.Bush believes that his friends are above the law.

    July 2, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. Thomas, Peoria, AZ

    There's a big shock. CNN only has democratic comments. And the democrates don't like the decision. At least they never claimed to be fair & balanced. This was a political witch hunt from the start. Only crime is that Bush did not give Scooter a full pardon.

    July 2, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  5. Jim Fox, Carlisle,Pa

    One crook taking care of another.

    The WORST Administration this country has ever seen.

    Sure hope there is never another – I don't think we could survive as a nation if there would be.

    July 2, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. James

    Actions speak louder than words.

    By commuting the guilty sentence of Lewis Libby, President Bush has demonistrated a continued betrayal of the American people through corrupt presidential powers.

    This action has handed the Democratic Party the Presidency in 2008.

    As rightly it should.

    July 2, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  7. Doug Otten Dallas, Texas

    Thank you President Bush...This trial was a complete waste of taxpaper money. This was the right thing to do. I wish all of our politicians could do what is right instead of what is politically correct.

    July 2, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  8. Anthony, Kapolei, HI

    This is a grave injustice of the American dream. Bush and Cheney must have skipped US History 101. They believe they can break the laws at will, they are only guidelines, no one in the administration is a traitor – outing of a CIA agent, no international laws applys, US constitution only sets guidelines, we can break any and every law. I only wish the Democrats would finally stand up to Bush and tell him what an incompetent, lying, two faced, jerk he really is. It is so sickening that the Democrats cannot stand up for anything. I guess coming soon will be a pardon for Jack Abramoff. After all, all he did was raise money for the GOP and is being wrongfully persecuted by the left wing media. Is there no law sacred in this land any more?

    July 2, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  9. Keith, Westland MI

    Disgusting! Of course, I don't think anybody was naive enough to think this was not going to take place once he was convicted. Bush continues to disgrace not only this Country, but himself.

    July 2, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  10. Bill Ramstad

    Nice to see that the drive by media; "Clinton News Network" has only posted reactions of the Liberal left who are undoubtedly out for this administration's blood ~ Great Journalistic Integrity while claiming to report on the integrity of others.

    July 2, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. Elmer Tennessee

    At least President Bush done something correct lately.

    July 2, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. Pat, Buffalo, NY

    Evidently even one day would have been too severe for Scooter. But Paris needed 23 days to be taught a lesson. Is Scooter that delicate?

    July 2, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. Rick Lomando, Miami, Florida

    Another move by Mr Bush that will bring his already low credibility even lower. History will be written to show this President the most corrupt of all time. When will the American people call for impeachment.

    July 2, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. G.W.B., Washington, District of Columbia

    Ummm... Any Republican comments you would like to post would be greatly appreciated.

    July 2, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  15. Katama, USA

    Nice 2B able to pardon your co-conspirators B4 they go to PRISUN!! It reduces the chances they will cooperate with the prosecutor. Its dangerous and reckless to poke the CIA in the eye though, they made the special prosecutor happen and they know how to cause trouble, death.

    July 2, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Kevin, Glen Ellen, CA

    Almost ALL of the responses imply Libby was the leaker. But we know that Richard Armitage admitted being the leaker. And that Fitzgerald KNEW that Armitage was the leaker before he started investigating. (Also that Colin Powell knew, but that all four of them, Comey, Fitzgerald, Armitage, and Powell, conspired to withhold that information from the White House for three long years). Richard Cohen and Christopher Hitchens (hardly Bush loyalists) agree this trial was a sham and travesty.

    If the people quoted know who was reponsible for the leak, and yet continue to pile on Libby, I have to wonder if they have ANY concern for fairness or the truth.

    July 2, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. AJ

    Hey...George Bush isn't the first head of state to persecute his political enemies and pardon his cronies.

    There's Stalin, Hitler, Marcos, Duvalier, Amin, Mao, Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein...

    He's not just the worst President ever. He may be the worst political leader ever. And he will be judged accordingly.

    July 2, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  18. Arnold Sanow, Vienna, Va.

    It seems pretty ironic that the Bush administration keeps professing the need for democracy. It seems every other day they are doing something to chip away at our rights. Isn't this a free and open society? Secrecy, greed, spreading fear, taking care of your friends and donors is the legacy of this administration. Scooter Libby is just the tip of the iceberg. It seems like he knows a lot more than he mentioned. Is is possible his sentence was commuted so he wouldn't talk?

    July 2, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  19. Kelly Vent, Sacramento, California

    Bush’s commutation of Libby’s sentence is an affront to our separation of powers regardless of whether he has the “legal” authority. Legal authority should never be a substitution for moral authority. Clinton was impeached solely for the accusation of lying to a grand jury and Cheney’s convicted lapdog gets to walk? Incredulous! Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald should open up an ethics school and enroll Bush and his cronies in its inaugural class.

    July 2, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. Posted by James Meikle, Columbus, Ohio

    Actions Speak louder than words.

    By commuting the guilty sentence
    of Lewis Libby, President Bush has
    demonstrated a continued betrayal
    of the American people through
    corrupt presidential powers.

    This action has handed the Democratic
    Party the 2008 Presidency.

    As rightly is should.

    July 2, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. Horacio Zaglul, Lexington, Kentuky

    What kind of messaje will really call President Bushattention? What will America need to do to reafirm its Judicial system supremacy?

    July 2, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  22. Tom Collins, San Diego, Calif.

    CNN..your handling of this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what the conservitive commentatoirs say about you..your reporting has a profoundly libera bias...all comments about the Libb7y matter from democrats...should the fairness doctran apply to you?

    July 2, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. Chris Myers

    Great! I am all for Mr. Libby being pardoned.

    I wonder if the liberals crying also complained when bill pardoned real criminals as he backed his way out of office. At least the President does his work in the open, where everyone can see.

    July 2, 2007 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  24. Jack, Lawrence, KS

    What is it going to take for Congress to stand up for America and the Constitution and impeach Bush and Cheney?! Impeachment proceedings were begun against Nixon for spying on Americans but Cheney and Bush can not only spy illegally on Americans, but can also lie to start a war that kills more Americans than any terrorists, can out a CIA agent and leak classified materials to suit their own political ends, allow Cheney to assert "executive privilege" to avoid answering to Congress and declare himself not part of the executive branch in order to continue to avoid the law, and then Bush can commute the sentence of the ONE person actually convicted of something even related to the administration's wrong doings. When is it too much, Congress? When will you hold these two accountable and remove them? Your inaction is as criminal as their actions.

    July 2, 2007 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  25. Mike, Jonesboro, AR

    What a judicial system! We cried for justice, petitioned for a political office holder's recall, had Al Sharpton screaming about the unfairness, and TV talking heads touting the crime of the century. Yes, Paris Hilton is a bigger desparado than Scooter. She deserved much more time than he got.

    July 2, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
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