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)


    July 2, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Paul, Fresno, CA

    Good to see CNN's impartiality. Let's see, 7 liberals quoted, no conservatives. Fair, balanced – great work CNN.

    Fact is President's have had the authority given by us the citizen's to pardon, and many if not most have done so. This is no different than the past 200 years, so go find another cause.

    July 2, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Tom Good, Bakersfield, California

    Bush should have commuted the sentence since the original allegation had no foundation. Libby had no reason to lie as he wasn't covering up anything. He is no Abramoff!

    July 2, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  4. T. Aarnes, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Yet another example of an self-serving administration that only looks out for number one and doesn't care about the example it sets for the rest of the country and the world.

    This is a disgrace, not only as a representative of what our government is capable of, but what our legal system has come down to - who you know, not what you deserve.

    I can't say I'm exactly shocked. But dismayed and appalled would be apropos.

    Is it 2009 yet?

    July 2, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. Roy Bryant, Auburn, Alabama

    This commutation is nothing compared to the pardon of Puerto Rican Terrorists, who had actually killed people with bombings. In 1999 President Clinton pardoned 16 of these terrorists.
    Scooter Libby leaked nothing and his sentence should have been nothing. Maybe he lied but if we jailed every politician who lies, the halls of Congress would be empty and we would have to build more prisons.

    July 2, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. Robin, Houston TX

    Where's the comment from Sandy Berger?

    July 2, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. Catherine Collins, Philadelphia, PA

    I want to throw up. This administration is completely devoid of any decency or sense of shame.

    July 2, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. Clyde Dodge, Corona del Mar, CA

    This is an outrage that must be met with a firestorm of critcism. If the Democratic party is incapable of raising the righteaous indignation of Americans everywhere and causing heads to roll in the Bush White House, then they are equally at fault for undermining the system of checks and balances mandated by the Constitution.

    So, it's OK to hang CIA operaties out to dry, possibly even putting their lives at risk, but the perpetrator goes scot free, and the Boss who put him up to it never even gets his hand slapped?

    I call for the impeachment of Dick Cheney and the resignation of George W. Bush.

    July 2, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  9. P.D. Rolniak, Denver, CO

    President Bush is totally corrupt. Why isn't he impeached?

    July 2, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. Joeseph Withem Las vegas Nevada

    Another example of the President helping his cronies. Time and time again he shows his ignorance to the the American people. This republican will be voting democratic next time.

    July 2, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  11. Shaun, Sacramento California

    Yet another reason for charges of treason and impeachment. America is a country of laws, and as such, we must obey them. Friends of powerful people should not be set free and presidents should stand up for the constitution. What happened today, regardless of political party affiliation, was an injustice not only on the people of America, but on our system of government as we know it.

    The declaration of Independence said that ALL men are created and today, the president modified that bold statement with "unless you have friends in high places."

    The Declaration also states, "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [such as mentioned above], it is the Right of the People [in fact our responsibility] to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles..."

    It's time America to stand up for whats right for America, not just for our political parties.

    July 2, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. GRussell San Jose, CA

    President Bush and his immoral and unethical administration continue to prove that they are above the Laws of the United States and don't care how they are perceived by the US public or international communities.
    The entire administration's legacy is one of unethical, irresponsible behavior and open contempt for humnaity.
    And, to think, the american people think he's "just one of us" and gave him the opportunity to govern for four more years.
    Bush proves how foolish the American public is.

    July 2, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. Rick B., Temecula, CA

    Bush and his posse are a menace to the Republican party, as well as the nation. The sooner Republicans ostracize them, the better off the GOP will be.

    July 2, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Darrell, Apache Junction, AZ

    Sigh. What self-respecting full grown man would call himself "Scooter?" Regardless, seeing that ceaseless smile throughout his trial had me then thinking that he already KNEW Bush would take care of it. What a miscarriage of justice. I want my country back.

    July 2, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. Robert, Virginia Beach, VA

    Wow. A bunch of Democrats disagree with the President's decision? Shocking. Then again, our last Democratic president decided he didn't need to tell the truth under oath and got away with it, why shouldn't a president's chief of staff. Hypocrisy all the way around? Pretty much.

    July 2, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  16. Lee Miles Oregon

    Once again this government demonstrates that it is one of oil and wealth, which operates above and beyond the law formed by the working class whom made this country great. We shall overcome by sheer number alone. We (the middle class/the people) have formed a government and are growing tired of the "King George Administration."

    July 2, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. Christopher, East Grand Rapids, Michigan

    Are you really surprised? An administration out of control. THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  18. John Los Angeles CA

    We have taken so much abuse from this administration and this government! No ONE stands up for the people anymore! And everyone seems too afraid to stand up for ourselves...WE ARE BEING GOVERNED BY CROOKS AND LIARS!!! It is time for a COMPLETE OVERHAUL of the Government....throw the bums out ...ALL OF THEM!!!!

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. mary,kingsport,tn

    why is everyone so surprised at mr bushs actions on this matter.he hasnt done anything good for this country nor for the people in it.and it is beyond me why everyone says this is a good rich country,"bull"there are more poor folk in this counrty and he knows it.i would love to be able to say just what i think of him and all those people in wasginton,its all a big joke.

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. Leonardo Ricardo

    ...this is one MORE example of the grave selfishness and "better than others" sickness of ARROGANCE that has come to our country via our Republican Party and Executive Branch leadership over these past/base Bush years...immoral, deceitful and deadly to our fellow citizens (especially extremists Christians, like Bush, who believe Jesus is condoning this mess).

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Jordan, New York, NY

    When will it be enough for the people of our country? How many more times does the president have to show you that the rules that govern us do not apparently pertain to him? When are we going to say "Enough!", and throw this man out of office?

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. Patrick Kelly, Prairie

    THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE! Absolutely unbelievable! He is at the heart of a scandal that has become unconcienable to most Americans. This government is nothing more than thugs and ideologs with agendas made for themselves and not the country. And now, coming full circle, they've said it's ok to break the law as long as you know the right people. I am ashamed of my country today, I am ashamed of the, not my, president and I am ashamed of my government. Why didn't they just wait till the 4th of July to really kick those of us who believe in justice in the teeth? Unbelievable.

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. Christina Hackett Lompoc, CA 93436

    This action just cements the need for impeachment for both Chaney and Bush. We need both of them out.

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  24. Sandy Carey

    Once again this Administration flies in the face of integrity, honesty, fairness and patriotism. This is perhaps the most egregious action of this Administration in recent memory - it flies in the face of judicial process and flaunts the fact that this Administration cares not at all about what this country is all about. America has once again suffered an enormous blow at the hands of its own so called president - Disgraceful!!!

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. Jim Angone Palos Verdes Estates

    At what point do the American people demand that Bush resign. At what point do we stop the diregard for the US Constitution by the president of the U.S. Maybe Bush and his cronies need to be tried after he leaves office. Enough is enough. As Citizens of this great Democracy, we each muct individually stand up and speak for what is right.

    July 2, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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