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. Catherine - Portland Oregon

    Enough! how many white house scandels must we endure...
    Time to Impeach Bush! & Cheney!
    The President and his "cronies", administration, policies, political agenda are not above the rule of law!

    July 2, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. Brent

    I was wondering when we would get a glimpse of "compassionate conservatism"

    July 2, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  3. Kent Franklin TN

    Why are we surprised by Mr. Bush's
    actions? I expected this. Bush does what he wants, when he wants, with no
    one to answer to. He knows what is best for our country. Just look how he has led us for seven years. Aren't we better off now?

    July 2, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  4. Stephen Patterson

    This is another blatant 'spit in the face' of the American Public by a beneath contempt President who has plunged out country into a meaningless war benefitting only his cronies, spied on us, trampled the U.S. Constitution and more. His ultra-secretive Vice President has placed himself (and his staff) above the laws of our land and now, as if to ice the cake, has betrayed the public's trust by ignoring his promises to uphold the findings and subsequent sentencing of a tried criminal. Simply, Bush and Company should've been impeached the moment we all found out that they took us into and war and thereby needlessly slaughtered thousands of our youth.

    July 2, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  5. Chris Sherwood, Earlysville, VA

    This entire topic sickens me. Whether it is Clinton or Bush, what has our political system come to if it produces 16 years of American presidents ambitious enough to be willing to send American troops to die for their country, but too cowardly to risk their own lives when called upon? They used their personal connections to get them out of Vietnam at the time, and it has become clear that winks, nods, and back room deals are what they used to manipulate the system.

    What I wouldn't give for a reluctant statesmen, with a moral character for its own sake (not for campaign ads), intellectual curiosity, and a willingness for 4 years to do what is best for his country, disregarding any thoughts on what is best for his party.

    July 2, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  6. Jack, Washington DC

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007 is officially "Break a Law Day".

    Every American is officially permitted to break a law, big or small, in celebration of the fact that justice is blind during the administration of President Bush.

    July 2, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  7. Dan, Carlisle PA

    Impeach Bush.


    July 2, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. Mike Kaylor

    WOW! how objective that you put a bunch of liberal Democrats comments on a Republican action.
    Scooter Libby did absolutely nothing wrong, so I and a lot of other people applaud the President. I have been put out with him lately with his support for the immigration legislation, but this makes up for some of that.

    July 2, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. Tim Granger, Dallas TX

    Of course the president commuted the jail time. Did anyone expect less? This administration has shown no respect for the law as it applies to them, from the 2000 election. Dick Cheney and Karl Rove have run the government the way they want to, to benefit themselves and their friends, using Bush as a patsy and strawman all along. Our government has no integrity, and no honor.

    Funny, Democrats in the oval office have sexual scandals, Republicans ignore the laws of the country, from Nixon through Reagan (Iran-Contra), Bush sr. (more Iran-Contra), and this miserable excuse of a president.

    July 2, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  10. Connor Wryn

    And he hasn't been impeached because...?

    July 2, 2007 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  11. Liam Devlin, Burleson, Texas

    This petty excuse for a president no longer deserves the support or respect of the American people. He thumbs his nose at justice and fornicates with big business.
    If he had any decency he would do the honorable thing like Richard Nixon did and resign immediately. He needs to understand NO ONE IS WITH HIM. He is on his own island, and apparently seems to like it.
    I have lost all respect for George W. Bush, both as a president and as a human being. And I'm a Republican.

    July 2, 2007 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  12. Alex, San Francisco, CA

    Just when it seems the ethics of this administration can't plunge any lower, they sink to this. I'm appalled.

    July 2, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Daniel Gouldman, San Antonio, TX

    This is an absolute travesty. Libby protected his boss and others...obstructed justice...and in return for saying nothing – Bush commutes his sentence. Quid pro quo – I hope 2008 is clear and decisive landslide that will teach these Republicans just how good Americans' memories are. The powers that be are counting on Americans to forget – I for one will not forget when 2008 comes around...

    July 2, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  14. james Hillis

    Fred Thompsom,,,if this is the way you will conduct your self,,,,,get lost,,go back to acting you are not fit for the office.

    July 2, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. Tom Stitt, Tucson, AZ

    Americans should take to the streets this 4th of July to demand the immediate resignation of the President and Vice-President. The current administration is clearly the biggest threat to our freedom!

    July 2, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  16. Kevin A

    Firstly, I'm disappointed that CNN only has two Republican comments here (at least when I read it). Nothing like a conservative media outlet playing to the 'liberal media' charicature.

    Secondly, Fred Thompson's character on Law and Order would never commute a sentence. Somewhere Jack McCoy is having a scotch alone at a bar.

    and lastly, is this the same 'tough on crime' Giuliani that cleaned up NYC? What next, Rudy...amnesty for Guatanamo prisoners. I guess your just another soft on crime guy from NYC.


    July 2, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  17. Rich Heitz, San Diego CA

    How long will we let our president get away with the actions of a dictator?

    July 2, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. John Graham Napa, California

    Sadly, the comments on Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence only further points out the polarization of our political parties. It's no longer what is good for America but what is good for the party.

    John Graham
    Napa, California

    July 2, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  19. Ted Meara, Madison WI

    Bush to America: Laws don't matter.

    July 2, 2007 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  20. RS, NY NY

    This is totally FUBAR.

    Interesting how some people were SO offended when Paris Hilton was sent home by the sheriff – "Shes getting special treatment!" they whined.

    But now when Bush commutes Libbys jail time, those same people say its OK. The hipocracy is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

    July 2, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  21. Nancy Alert, Arlington, Virginia

    I believe the president's decision to communte Scooter Libbys' sentence is the correct one however, I believe his reason is what we should talk about. I believe that he did this because he is AFRAID of what Scooter would say about his involvememt if Scooter Libby went to Jail. Nancy Alert

    July 2, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  22. fort lauderdale, fl

    People I want to hear the Left use the following words.... Self-serving act!!! That is what makes it insidious.

    Come on. I am constantly disappointed by the Democrats they constantly make me feel that there is only one party the ruling party... they need to start hammering that statement. Scooter Libby's commuted sentence was a self-serving act. It was totally in his power, but what makes it wrong is that it was self-serving. It is as if he pardoned himself!

    July 2, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. Ian Morris, Seattle, WA

    I hope there is a documentary film maker out there ready to just follow Scooter around for the next year and watch how Bush cronies go from guaranteed and deserved jailtime, to cushy jobs within big business... that is, if Libby isn't the Governor of Texas or Florida by the end of the week. Sounds like F. Thompson would take him as a running mate.
    If I lived there (DC) I would go puke on the Whitehouse lawn. These ARE the darkest times in our Executive Branches history. PLEASE REMOVE THIS ADMINISTRATION FROM OFFICE.
    I. Love my Country

    July 2, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  24. Pat, Vero Beach FL

    The real question that noone is asking is did Scooter Libby warn President Bush and/or V.P. Cheney that he would talk, tell the truth or turn on them if he did any jail time? There's too much of a coincidence not to make the connection and ask that question. Unfortunately, reporters are spending too much time feeling sorry that Libby will lose his license to practice law, – like that's what he was banking his future on; it's time for our reporters to stand up and ask the hard questions, and time for our House and Senate to take the action that the Constitution spells out and calls for when governmental corruption is obvious and rampant.

    July 2, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  25. Eric Magnusson, Los Angeles California

    Enough is enough. This administration is out of control, and the time has come for our congress to TAKE ACTION, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

    For the next 1 and a half years this administration shouldn't be allowed to walk a dog without permission and oversight.

    It is disgusting!

    July 2, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
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