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. Jeome Huntsville

    In an era were the Republican Party runs it’s pre and post election campaigns, as being tough on crime it’s good to know that when it comes to people in his administration it’s just the opposite. I believe with this single move President Bush has pushed jurist prudence back 100 years, when we had common and cannon law. All hail King George, defender of the greedy and stupid.Oh yes, the Democrats talk a good game so why don’t they do something it’s time to start impeachment procedures.

    July 2, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  2. Deepak, north york, ont.

    Martha Stewart went to jail for lying.

    July 2, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  3. Michael, Atlanta, GA

    Unbelievable!!! As an American citizen, I cannot wait until we have new leadership in command.
    This country is ready for and certainly deserves it.

    July 2, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  4. Sue Filutze, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Since Bush said he felt the sentence to be "excessive" than how about a pardon for the two border patrol agents convicted of shooting an illegal drug dealer? Or the 17 year old boy who was convicted of having oral sex with his 15 year old girlfriend? Do you think ten years was excessive Mr. President???
    When Bush opens his library there will be four books on the shelf. The first "My Pet Goat", the second "Republican Law" the third "Law for everyone else" and finally "Where's Waldo", it will contain various pictures of Bush and Cheney still searching for those dam weapons of mass destruction!

    July 2, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  5. San Juan

    It was just a matter of time before Bush let the slimeball off the hook. There is only justice for the rich in America. After all, didn't the rich write a constitution whereby the president could pardon any old criminal? What kind of constitution is this? The real question remains: When and how will the common people restructure the constitution to reflect the common needs of the common people? Predictably, the rich will block them, and try to trick them. Isn't that what happened with the last elections? I guess you can full most of the people most of the time. Or can you...

    Frank Flanagan 😉

    July 2, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  6. Corey Okla. City,OK.

    The prez can't see down off of the hill and obviously thinks the the law doesn't apply to him or anyone who works for him. The guy is a war-mongering ego-maniac and should be impeached. I hate him. He is systematically killing my beloved America.

    July 2, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  7. Sally

    I am very, very curious to see which, if any, Republicans will have the guts to disagree with this decision publicly.

    July 2, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  8. JDurham, Hempstead, NY

    Please explain to me why CNN lists only 2 non Democratic coomments out out 10 and they are numbers 8 and 10 on the list. If this isn't another show of bias reporting than I don't know what is.

    July 2, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  9. Kim Johnson, Youngstown, Ohio

    Giuliani says after evaluating the facts the president was right? How about the judge who evaluated the facts and said Libby deserved jail time? Rudy thinks he is presidential material?

    July 2, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  10. Taylor, New York, NY

    Only a President with such low approval ratings would think this is a good idea. What's the harm of a commutation of one of the few who sought to protect you, when you're going into the history books as the worst U.S. President? Sarcasm implied.

    July 2, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. Phil Peterson

    I find it absolutely astounding that this occurred.

    I'm genuinely sickened by President Bush's decision.

    Although it will be uncomfortable to explain the mistakes former President Clinton made to my children, how do I explain that President Bush doesn't respect our consitution?

    July 2, 2007 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  12. Gregory Rolan Mcalester,OK

    As a African American who feels the justice system in America is out of control, my question is where is Jesse or Al? They go to California jumping on the Paris fiasco where are they now they should be marching in front of the White House demanding answers. Why havent they gone and protested the kid whose case was overturned for having oral sex with a minor? Who is going to be the voice for those who can't afford to have their voice heard in this system?

    July 2, 2007 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  13. sarah dart, los angeles, CA

    faith is destroyed – we have all been crapped on from a dizzy height. No more liars, no more coverups, no more BUSH & CO.
    Please get them out – of our lives – and out of power.
    I am sick to my stomach.

    July 2, 2007 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  14. Harvey, Tallahassee, FL

    What a sad reminder, as we ready ourselves to celebrate the declaration of this country as independent from tyranny, that tyranny remains in our midst, that there is little freedom or justice within this country or the the countries of those we have invaded. Shame on you, Mr. Bush! May the hammer of justice fall upon you is my hope.

    July 2, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  15. Mary, Gloucester, VA,

    Good for you George Bush. Perhaps justice has occured. I know one cripple guy who stole a watch thirty years ago, leaving Florida while on parole or probation. He became a wanted felon. Since then he has worked to make a decient life as well as he could,remember he can not button a button and can barely walk. Now a senior in collage.
    Arrested in Virginia, as a fugitive from Florida, put in a Van, chained, spending two days in the van, only let out for bathroom breaks. It took almost three monts for Florida to free him. This guy should be pardoned too. This man did not have the money of OJ, or Paris. He is on disability.

    July 2, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  16. Jack AssHammer

    It's really time to impeach Bush and Cheney. Enough is enough. Too bad Nancy "took it off the table". Idiots.....oh wait, i forgot, they're all just corrupt.

    July 2, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  17. CR, Pittsburgh PA

    This is sad. We have a man who has committed a criminal act, convicted by a jury of his peers, and sentenced in accordance to the laws of the United States being given what is tantamount to a pardon. This is nothing more than base and malign politcal backscratching to reward the criminal acts undertaken by Mr. Libby. This is the work of a coward. A real man, a real leader, would have let the law and order that this country was founded on stand. Mr. Bush has not redressed a wrong; he has perpetrated a pervision of justice. What's worse, we have people like Mr. Thompson (who is as much of an outsider as a snake in its own skin) urging him on like a chorus of devils. I do not care who we elect anymore as long as they follow the laws and mores the rest of us are compelled to. Either all persons are equal under the eyes of the law or none of us are.

    July 2, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  18. Randy Woosley/ Lufkin, Tx

    The luck will run out soon for them.

    They are like a poker player with
    a big chip stack: Always betting on

    This are a disgrace to America, the World, and anyone, with anything
    that resembles common sense, dignity,
    or morality.

    And it is no wonder, that just about
    everyone, watches the United States
    of America, in disbelief; including
    the American Citizens.

    What in the world is President Bush

    The picture that is sent in this
    situation, not to mention Bush's will
    in the illegal immigration issue, sends
    the message that, to get ahead,
    all you have to do, is anything
    that you want...

    You will get off in the end.

    Why not pardon drug trafficers?!

    Oh yea, I forgot, we already are
    in the process of doing just that
    They are called illegal immigrants.

    I guess the Bush Administration wants a Civil War in Iraq and America.

    Totally Disgusting.

    July 2, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  19. Heywood Jablowme, NY, NY

    When will the trial for Valarie Plame and Joe Wilson be?

    July 2, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. Rob R., Chicago, Illinois

    And I thought that W could sink no lower.

    W has now officially and publicly condoned Libby's actions on behalf of his administration. If Cheney is impeached and convicted (and God grant that it be so), will W excuse him, too? Appropriate that this happens *today*, the day that the Declaration of Independence was signed. We said we wouldn't tolerate George III then–why are we still tolerating George II?

    July 2, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  21. Charlie, Geneva, NY

    Guess they'll need to time the indictments of Rove and Cheny so their convictions come in after Bush leaves office.

    July 2, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  22. Vickie, Cedar Park, Texas

    What scares me more than President Bush and his ego maniacal rule over this country (and his assertation into other countries)is the fact that he actually has people who back him up. This is an outrage.

    July 2, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  23. Jennifer Basquiat, Las Vegas, NV

    President Bush and Vice President Cheney should both be ashamed of themselves. They clearly sent a message that they no longer represent or care about the American people when they arrogantly commuted the sentence of Lewis Libby. For quite some time they have both made it obvious that they believe to be above the law and dismissive of the very people they have been chosen to represent. They both make me profoundly embarrassed to be an American. They represent the absolute worst of our political system and the only solace I have is that History will judge them both to be the immoral, unconscionable, arrogant, reckless and flat-out stupid men that they are.

    July 2, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  24. Andre Fortin, Valley Glen, CA

    How are we now supposed to believe in our Justice System? How are we supposed to have faith in equality treatment to all? Is that what we're supposed to teach our children? How can we make them understand that some people can abuse of their power to let go unpunished the ones who have been found guilty of a crime that is at the base of our National Security? What a crying shame!

    July 2, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. gfen

    My country is to thee, sweet land of liberty...if you're connected to the right people.

    My elected representives and senators don't care, however. There will be lots of words and no actions, pretend outrage and none of substance.

    All of you in my federal government should be ashamed. All of you.

    July 2, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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