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 Khandjian, Woodstock, Maryland

    Are you kidding, Hilary??? Who thinks they are above the law? Your husband pardoned a convicted felon who was on the lamb. Amazing!

    July 2, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  2. andy, palo alto california

    I have seen a lot of disturbing and arrogant behavior from this administration but I never believed Bush would have the nerve to flaunt his disregard for the law so blatantly. This is gross abuse of power and impeachable behavior. I will be demontrating, writing letters and calling the White House.

    July 2, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  3. Ann, Bozeman, Montana

    Bush insists we need to stay in Iraq to fight terrorism- no matter what the cost. But on the home front, he now insists that jail time is too severe a punishment for one who has been officially convicted of threatening our national security. If only Bush could commute the deaths of every innocent father, son, mother, and daughter who gave their life in the name of national security in Iraq. If Libby can be excused, then why are we holding prisoners in Guantanamo? Mr. President, are you listening? I am leaving the Republican party because of your blatant misuse of office, trust, and power. I am not the first, nor will I be the last to realize that wisdom and the well-being of this country is far from you.

    July 2, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. Aaron, Santa Clarita, Ca

    Hilton skated the system. Why shouldn't Libby he's got money too.

    July 2, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. Brian, Bethlehem, PA

    Nothing surprises me, or my fellow citizens, any longer. This president has so lowered the bar on ethics that this action will barely make a blip on the average American's radar. After WMDs, Abu Graib and torture, domestic spying, executive signing statements, and generally trampling on the Constitution, does anyone really think this will be noticed?

    July 2, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  6. Herb , Richmond, Virginia

    Once again the Bush legacy takes a turn for the worse. The Libby incident proves that the President is a blatant liar to the American people.
    This President has ruined our country, and most of the world.

    July 2, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  7. Jose, Vernon Hills IL

    Bush is clearly interfering with the judicial system... again. And lying ... again.
    Big government lies are disguised as politics and... unfortunately most administrations play that game. However, Bush's does take the cake by being so blatant.
    I'm begining to wonder if Bush had anything to do with Paris Hilton: No one would be surprized if he did!!!!
    I can't wait for the elections, not a great "choice" out there, but at least Bush will be gone.

    July 2, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  8. Alexander, Lebec CA

    In other lands, things like this would cause rioting in the streets. In America, republican presidential candidates offer up praise for injustice. I weep for my country.

    July 2, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  9. Paul, Los Angeles, California

    Is there any more proof required that the current executive branch is corrupt? We can stop pretending we believe in the President - he has certainly stopped pretending he believes in us.

    July 2, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. John Roberts, Tucson, AZ

    The whole entire Plame episode was pure political BS....she was NEVER a covert agent, therefore, she was NEVER truly "exposed." The liberals have only themselves to blame for this one. PRESIDENT BUSH definitely made the right decision here. Too bad the libs only have "let's get Bush" on their brains 24/7, instead of things like "let's get the price of gas reduced," and "let's govern in a manner that will benefit all."

    July 2, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  11. James F. Miller

    Dick Cheney should go to the jail. Libby is just his shelf. If Cheney is above the law, Libby should be too. What are National security and clean Gov in Bush's mind? Now, it will be interesting to see how Big news organization responds to this.

    July 2, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. Rex Horst

    A perfect example of people trying to second guess the president of this country, George Bush is the greatest president this country has ever had. Do you think for 1 minute that he would do anything that would be against the law? Mr. Libby served this country in a time of need and was a loyal servant to President Cheney.

    July 2, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  13. Joe Sanford, Union City, Tn

    This is just another blatent display of total disregard for the rule of law and will continue until they are removed from office. This is a rogue administration.

    July 2, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  14. Shawn Read, Vancouver, BC Canada

    The United States of America used to stand for truth and justice. It was a country that the rest of the world looked up to and admired. During the Bush, Cheney and Neo Con years it has turned into a country that does not care about international law, condones torture, spies on its citizens, outs CIA operatives who put their life on the line for their country, lies to the global citizenry to justify a bogus wars and is reviled throughout the world.

    What has happened to this once great country?

    It is my hope that the great citizens of this once proud country will fight the corruption in the White House. George W. Bush may act like an absolute monarch, but remember the true power lies in the citizens of the United States.

    July 2, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  15. Jane, Alexandria, VA

    I seem to recall that Mr. Samuel Berger shredded highly classified documents that he stole from the National Archives and received less than a slap on the wrist – no jail time and a $50,000 fine. He was provided access to those documents based on the trust that was (mis)placed in him. He jeopardized national security, destroyed historical documents, and obstructed justice! Where were Senators Obama, Clinton, Shumer, Biden and Reid then? Where was Congresswoman Pelosi and Former Senator Edwards? One must ask,"Is it really a matter of justice? Is it a matter of partisan politics or worse yet, how can I as a politician make this work for me?"

    July 2, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  16. Gene, Pittsburgh, Pa

    Clinton dodged impeachment now we are even. I think he lied to the American people or something to that matter. But those were different times. He did not have to worry about terrorist trying to kill us only if his wife might walk in on him.

    July 2, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  17. Suck, It, Texas

    This is a disgrace to the American people and a sad day, but sends the message to do wrong and you can get away with it. Why not pardon and let everyone out of jail for non-violent crimes... Expose a undercover agent and it's okay. I don't think so!!!!

    July 2, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  18. Suzanne Grey

    Once again we see the "justice" of the Bush regime. He is, as ever, destroying this country from the inside. He has created a fascist dictatorship, with outside help.

    And the Democrats scream, "foul" but never do anything else. They are just blowing smoke to make us think that they are different from those in power, when in fact they are just the same.

    For more information on what's really going on in the world, in all aspects, please go to the following link and take a look at the real state of things.


    July 2, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  19. ft. Lauderdale, FL

    A sitting president should not be able to commute the sentence of an individual that might be able to implicate him or his administration in wrong doing. If congress does not do something about this, I swear I will have to march on Washington even if it is just me.

    July 2, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  20. G. Williams Northfield MN

    How bad can my cynicism get when it comes to the Bush administration? How about this...I think that I would take Nixon back as president in a minute. Yah, he was dishonest, corrupt, and paranoid, but he did try to hide his evil deeds. Bush and his thugs, on the other hand, are doing their dirty work out in the open while thumbing their collective noses at the Constitution. Start impeachment now. Even though time will run out before impeachment proceedings are done, at least I will know that some of my tax dollars were well spent!

    July 2, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  21. Robert Kuhn, New Orleans, LA

    For the love of God, this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. What ever happened to the rule of law? Oh, right. It was voted out when Bush was voted in. This is a flagrant disregard for the rule of law and a slap in the face to Valerie Plame, her husband, and any person with common sense.

    If Clinton was impeached for one lie, then this entire administration should be taken out back and dealt with accordingly.

    July 2, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  22. Disappointed & Frustrated, Topeka, KS

    Bush and Cheney both think they are above the law and this is just another example of their arrogance. I wonder what Libby has on them, or better yet, what Cheney has on Bush. This is disgusting. Bush himself said anyone in his administration found leaking information to the press would be fired. So much for that promise. It's time that Bush be impeached!

    July 2, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  23. js Raleigh North Carolina

    We see today, the culminatiion of what many feared–commuting the Libby sentence will only lead to a full pardon on Bush's exit.

    All the criminal acts performed in the WH will be hidden by Bush's and Cheney's efforts to make the law apply to all but them! From the energy meetings, where I'm sure both Cheney and Bush told the oil companies of their plans to CHANGE the face of middle east, the prelude to the Iraq war, to the plainly stated words of the president "Iraq, find a way" heard by former treasury secretary Paul Oneil.

    We have known for years the determination of this administration to bend or break any or all laws that would keep their neocon ideals from fruition. They are bound and determined to seat unqualified republican political operatives at the top of all government agencies and leave their term in office with a full boat of tragedy overseas and a full boat of career republicans in every agency that can be appointed before Bush leaves office.

    Why are the media helping this tragedy to unfold! Are you so afraid or just paid off?

    Our founding fathers would be ashamed of us all for the blatant stupidity we have demonstrated in the last 6 years.

    July 2, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  24. C. Scott Little Rock, AR

    Hey, what’s the big deal? Ford did it for Nixon

    July 2, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. Kevin, Minneapolis, MN

    This is disgusting. Once again, this administration proves their constant abuse of power, and obvious feelings that they are above the law. When are the American people going to decide that they have had enough of this? How much more do we have to take?

    July 2, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
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