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 Ferrara, Marton, NJ

    Only lying about oral sex is impeachable. None of the stuff this clueless, incompetent does is impeachable. Not even his stauchest supporters can suport him now. He should resign, as President Nixon did.

    July 2, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Brian, Milford PA

    I love how there is absolutely no reaction for Republicans posted here.

    And kudos to President Bush for finally ending this liberal witch hunt and freeing this gentlemen who happened to get a guilty sentence for being a conservative.

    July 2, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  3. Lou Ann

    Is anyone surprised? This is just another example of how far this man will go because he can. We, the American people created this monster and no one and make no doubt, no one is going to stop him. We were fooled by the Democrats to believe they could and would, but now that they are in office, it's business as usual. We preach to world about democracy, but resign ourselves to live in a dictatorship. Some example we are setting, isn't it?

    July 2, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  4. djkramer

    What Scooter did was wrong. He should be in jail. There is not justice when a convicted felon gets set free because the right people can do it.
    The Bush administration has set a new low for fairness in a supposed democracy.

    July 2, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. Sylvia Murray Mt. Pleasant, MI

    Unbelievable..just unbelievable! This guy should be impeached!

    July 2, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  6. Sara Markis,West Palm Beach,FLA

    I am NOT surprised that Bush and Cheney have continued in their insane path- That they have taken our young men and women ,OUR beautiful futures,down an awful path of death and sent them without FULL BODY ARMOR ,or better equiptment,to die needlessly and to be injured for life-Why should we expect that they should show sanity in this ???? WE ALL SHOULD MARCH ONTO WASHINGTON !!!!
    DO THEY DESERVE ANY MERCY?????????????

    Homeschool Mother of 3-
    Mrs. Sara Markis

    July 2, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  7. Chris, Sacramento, CA

    I agree with all three comments. I too am ready for a REVOLUTION! These guys in power answer to one thing GREED! We have no middle class, our democracy is an aristocracy and close to becoming a corporatocracy, and to make things worse, most people don't care or are too stupid to understand what is happening. Everything that is done in Washington by this administration benefits one group of people, the uber-rich. Whether it's the war and profiteering , or tax cuts. We all need to be reminded by the movie Network's rallying cry, "I'm as mad as h-ll, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

    July 2, 2007 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. Robert Leamer, Chatham, NJ

    Even Paris Hilton did time, why not Scooter Libby? Today was the last day of the Bush Presidency. Any lingering wisp of legitimacy is gone.

    July 2, 2007 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. Philip, Washington DC

    I was hoping that the Bush political team would have thrown a monkey wrench into this drama by convincing President Bush to also commute the conviction of Bill Clinton in the same stroke.(Clinton's punishment for lying to a grand jury was to have his law license revoked.) I just have to admire the Bush team for not playing politics.

    July 2, 2007 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. John, Houston, TX

    At a press conference on September 30, 2003, in Chicago, IL, President Bush said this:

    "I know of nobody - I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing...there's too much leaking in Washington....and I've spoken out consistently against them and I want to know who the leakers are."

    President Bush is blatantly lying to the American public. Why are we not outraged? And why hasn't anything been done to Richard Armitage? It is funny how upset we got when Clinton lied about a personal matter under oath, but Bush lies about matters that directly affect the American people and we just mutter about his disappointing approval ratings. We need to gain the courage to oust this tyrant and restore some moral leadership and public trust back in our beloved government!

    July 2, 2007 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  11. Sergio, Miami FL

    Yes, the President's reasoning for commutation was bogus. But you know what, he didn't need a reason. President Bush excercised his constitutional right – plain and simple. Whether Scooter Libby went to jail or not has no effect on anyone's daily lives except for those of his wife and children. Has politics become so ugly in this country that he should waste away in jail simply because the Commander-in-Chief is hated man. We've got so many larger problems to worry about (i.e. spending $2 billion and losing a hundred troops a week on an occupation in Iraq). The President gave Libby a gift for his decades of public service – leave it at that and let Libby live out the rest of his days in shame.

    July 2, 2007 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  12. Alex Linden, Vancouver, BC


    July 2, 2007 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  13. Mary Fales

    Poor Paris Hilton – she did more time for not having her license than Scooter did for lying under oath. So much for accountability and bringing honor back to the presidency.

    July 2, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  14. tony, Charleston SC

    Bush lied A G A I N...when are we going to impeach this idiot from Texas and sedn his buddy Cheney packing as well.

    July 2, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  15. William Tunney Wheeling WV

    What else is it going to take to get you to finally scrape that W sticker off the back bumper of your car?

    July 2, 2007 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  16. Tom, Los Gatos, CA

    I disagree strongly with charges of perjury and obstruction of justice when the prosecutor is afraid to charge for the real underlying offence.

    This is just as true of Martha Stewart as Scooter Libby. Unfortunately our president didn't have the strength and wisdom to reduce Martha's sentence as well. Hopefully the Congress will redefine these "crimes" so real, unlying criminal acts must be proven first.

    July 2, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  17. Diana, Pulaski, NY

    Well, I believe that Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani can both kiss their chances at the White House bye-bye....no one in their right mind would vote for someone who would support what Bush did.

    It's about time this country votes into office someone who actually has the backbone to do something about Bush and Cheney. So far, the Republicans have refused, and the Democrats haven't done squat either. I'm not holding my breath.

    At least I didn't vote for the guy...

    July 2, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. Walter, Little Rock AR

    I have never been so ashamed of our country as I am today. This is just the crowning blow by an administration responsible for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers in the name of liberty, when it is, and wasn't about liberty at all... it has all been about self-serving single-minded ambition.

    God help America...

    July 2, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  19. Dennis F. Indianapolis, IN

    I worked as a contractor to the NSA for 20 years and did a little work for the CIA and DIA in that time.

    The idea that someone could commit perjury in an investigation of a breach of National Security information (in this case the name of a CIA operative) and be 'let off the hook' by a supposedly conservative President is probably completely demoralizing almost everyone in the intelligence community right now.

    Oh well....The 'spooks' have many ways to get even 🙂

    July 2, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  20. joe pittsburgh PA

    Nothing surprises me with this president, we the American people are getting our just due for putting him in office. Corrupt company officials and politicians have grown untouchable under his watch.

    July 2, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  21. Michael Slough, King George, Va

    President Bust just sold America down the tubes. His popularity rating just dropped to zero percent in my book and I'm a Republican. He doesn't even honor the law. He also just told the FBI, CIA and all other agencies in the US that they are no longer safe.

    He does this in the name of Republicans. Time for all republican to find a new job. This is outragous.

    July 2, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  22. Mike Dishnow

    Simply unbelievable.

    July 2, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  23. Dean, Salem, OR

    George W. Bush is not just the worst President ever, he has now become one of the worst humans the United States political system has produced. This is a complete disgrace and Bush is laughing at our nation's legal system and laws. Impeachment is too good for Bush. This prooves his corruption and that he is nothing but a basic thug and criminal. How dare he claim to be a good Christian!

    July 2, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  24. Tim Thomas, Atlanta, GA

    This is an administration that lives without consequences and creates a grim future for any administration to follow. We the American people regardless of our political party will suffer for years to come. Today's actions demonstrates a leadership without morality.

    July 2, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  25. Jim Zimmermann Napa, CA

    All the (prepared) "comments here (thus far) are from Democrats.
    Will you be interviewing any Republicans, Independents, or Decline-to State Americans?

    July 2, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
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