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. Carla Stocker, Atlanta, Georgia

    I challenge every American to start writing letters or making phone calls to voice your outrage for the total neglect of our legal system by the President.

    July 2, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. R. Robinson Phoenixville, Pa

    Paris Hilton did more time??????

    July 2, 2007 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  3. Forrest, Lexington, Kentucky

    I can't believe what the Bush and his conservative minions are doing. Remember Bill Clinton? He lied about oral sex and Scooter compromised a CIA agent. Why was a bigger deal made about Clinton's lie. You guys are just mad that he was a kick-ass president and your guy is a loser. Even your base thinks you suck, George. Get ready for eight years of democrats, boys. We are back!

    July 2, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  4. Kathy, Racine WI

    A glimmer of intelligence from Bush? He realized only 11% or less of Americans still sort of marginally support and respect him, so there was so little left to lose in pardoning Libby.

    July 2, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  5. Kathie, Spring, Texas

    If lying about a "bj" is considered high crimes and misdemeanors, how in the world is this idiot still in office???? Once again he has proven that he lied, cheated, stole and bought his way into office. He is a failure all the way around. Its time to clean house, its time for the American PEOPLE to take back this government. Bush and his cronies got to go.

    July 2, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  6. Devin Prince, Charlotte, NC

    I, as anyone with a good sense of the political climate in this country, knew and understood that this would come about, and not that I condone it can see why it was done. That said I think that the fine as well as the money spent to proliforate this fiasco should come from Mr. Libby and His supporters and not the taxpayers of this country, but then again thats like asking for someone to do something right in this administration... imagine that! Happy 4th of July Scooter.

    July 2, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  7. Jason Dahlin, NC

    Is it just me or does the story go down like the executive summary to a Matt Damon type flick? "Dude says something bad about the President, so the Pres's croneys out his wife to bad guys that might want her dead." In the movie version, Wilson would be pull a Jack Bauer go kick some corrupt political butt. Instead, the croney gets off with paying a fine and not being allowed to vote again.

    Even if Libby wasn't involved in the leak, 25 years seems like a just sentence for covering up the leak. If he was the Leaker, then 25 years seems *really* light.

    Reminds me of Red Foreman when Gerald Ford came to Point Place and Red asks him, "Gerry... How the hell could you pardon Nixon?"

    July 2, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. Jeb, Tallahassee FL

    I am constantly amazed that this administration has survived as long as it has without an impeachment. If falsifying intelligence to justify an invasion of Iraq unrelated to the "War on Terror," or cutting taxes during a time of "War," or illegally spying on American citizens, or awarding no-bid defense contracts to THEMSELVES, or any of the other stupid moves they have made, do not count as "high crimes" or misdemeanors, what does? Oh, that's right: sex. Well, you idiots voted him back into office; now live with it.

    July 2, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. John Sollami, Stamford, CT

    A band of extremists have taken the government away from the people and have been using it for their own ends, to obtain the wealth and power they think they richly deserve. This immoral decision today is yet another example of Bush and his friends cynically ignoring the will of the people, the law of the land, and the security of the nation for their own selfish and undemocratic ends. America needs to wake up and vote these extremists out.

    July 2, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  10. Emily Memphis, TN

    I couldn't have been happier when the buzz started regarding a Fred Thompson run. I literally couldn't wait to vote for the man who I knew would lead our country back in the right direction. His comment today changed my mind completely.

    He's happy for his friend? He's happy his friend skirted accountability? Are you kidding me?

    July 2, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  11. Kaseam, Philly PA

    What a joke. It's comical reading the Republicans response to Bush's pardon. It's so typical for them to defend their guy. Can a REAL Republican please stand up? One of you fake politicians need to be brave and speak honestly about this decision. One shouldn't care about party affiliation. This is one of the reasons Republicans cannot get black votes. They cannot earn any credibility with us young black brothers from the streets.

    July 2, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  12. David Schwalje

    Republican or Democrat or Independent (I have voted for Pat Buchanan for the past two elections)... we all as Americans lost today part of what makes America the best country in the world... the rule of law... we also lost the integrity of The Presidency. Bush should be impeached.

    July 2, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  13. Dick Tilton, Hawaii

    I have no faith in our government anymore, and George W Bush has contributed more to that lack of faith than any person I can think of. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, remember what Bush's cronies and supporters have done to us, and make sure that they all get voted out of office in the next election. I hope it's not too late.

    July 2, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  14. Ryan, Provo, UT

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy with President Bush's decision. But isn't it a little odd that you provided 9 antagonistic responses and only 2 sympathetic ones? Why did you include nearly all the Democratic presidential candidates but only 2 of the Republican ones? I'm a liberal myself and like I said I'm extremely disappointed in this decision, but I'd still like a more balanced representation of the myriad views on this issue if its not too much trouble. Don't give the conservative pundits any more reason to label you part of the "liberal media".

    July 2, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. David Anderson Bronx, NY

    For God's Sake: IMPEACH!!!

    How, HOW can we let all that these thoughtless, evil people have done pass? Democrats don't want to look bad, don't want to overuse the impeachment process. They think it's nearly over anyway. There can be NO lame duck statute of limitations on Constitutional breaches. To let them run the clock out only means that they've paved the way for others to do as they have done.

    They lied about a war.

    They silenced those who tried to call them on it.

    They've stolen the lives of over 3000 men and women, more than died on September 11. Some of these are kids, some parents taken from their families in mid-life, some private citizens working the army's cafeterias. And then there are the 100,000-something Iraqis whose families are devastated. For a lie.

    They've stolen our money, and borrowed more from China and paid it all to their corporate backers, who have the further priveleged of not being taxed for it.

    They've stolen our rights.

    They've stolen our democracy.

    They deserve more than impeachment. They deserved to be charged with treason and face that death penalty Bush is so fond of for what they have done.

    This can not pass.

    July 2, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  16. DJ Johnson

    I am an extremely patriotic American (though not blindly so), and the Bush Administration has caused me to be ashamed of my nation for the first time in my life. Oh, I've felt disgust for things that happened in the past, like the treatment of the Native Americans in the 1800s (and beyond), and the attitude of whites toward blacks, but I've always felt proud of my country as a whole. What the Bush Administration did to our international reputation and the constitution changed my feeling for this country. I tried to tell myself it was just a small pocket of criminals in high places, but the number of Americans who voted to re-elect George Bush in 2004 forced me to face the facts. Every time something like the Scooter Libby fiasco happens, it feels more and more like we're living with a third world government. Only thing missing is the holster at Bush's side, and I'd bet he'd have it if it wouldn't cause more of an uproar than even they can quell. I just keep hoping that Congress will finally do something permanent about this Tammany Hall time warp.

    July 2, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. Ric, Delray, Florida

    Can someone please give President Bush a B J so we can impeach him?

    July 2, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  18. Barry B. San Antonio, TX

    Nine responses from Democrats and two from Republicans. What does this tell us about CNN?

    July 2, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  19. Bill, Corona, NM

    Yes, yes, yes: About time real justice was done, not the democratic bull crap we have been accustomed to the last 50 years. This servant deserved pardon unlike the real criminal cronies of Bill Clinton that were pardoned over 6 years ago. Did ya'll forget that?

    July 2, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  20. Matt Binkowski, Northville, mi

    This "president" is pathetic. When do the impeachment hearings begin?

    July 2, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  21. Rick, Scottsdale, Arizona

    Its quite funny reading the comments, form the leaders of the nation. I can remember when former President Clinton pardoned hundreds of people for crimes which were far worse, than what Mr. Libby was convicted of. Mr. Libby will still have a felony on his record, which i hope before President Bush leaves office he will pardon Mr. Libby

    July 2, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. a US Citizen

    Bush, Cheney and Libby are all SCUM BAGS. They will rot in hell together.

    July 2, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  23. Stacey Long Beach, CA

    Anyone who thinks that this is justice is insane. If you commit a crime punishable by jail time, you must do that time. Libby commited the crime. He should of done the time.

    July 2, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  24. Matt, Chicago

    You ask 8 Democrats and 2 Republicans?

    July 2, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  25. Cynthia Evans, Wichita, KS

    I am not at all surprised by Bush's pardon of Scooter Libby. This administration cares nothing for this country or this countries laws. Outing a CIA agent means nothing to them. It is another sad day for America and for what it used to stand for.

    July 2, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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