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. Shaw

    Blatant Misuse of Presidential Power, US today feels like a third world country where the rich and powerful are above the law.... Not what our founding fathers meant when they gave this power to the executive

    July 2, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  2. Donna Lynn

    I used to believe in the Republican party and I have to admit that I voted for President Bush the second time around. A vote I regret day in and day out as today is a clear example of how he has made a mockery of the american public. I have lost all faith in President Bush and the reprensentation he portrays of our justice system.

    July 2, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  3. Anton L., Phoenix, AZ

    NOW is the time for revolution!!! This admini$tration must be overthrown and a NEW era begun! This corruption must STOP. As Thomas Jefferson said (and I paraphrase): "a government must be overthrown every 200 years or so" and NOW IS THE TIME! If you don't agree with W, you are labeled as "unpatriotic" and investigated by the government, even have CIA agents show up at your door for writing a letter to the editor criticizing this corrupt administration! Of course, its all done under the guise of "Homeland Security". Well, King DUHbya, this Homeland is FAR LESS secure since you've been in office. If only you went hunting with Dick...!

    July 2, 2007 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  4. Rolly Loomis, Tucson, Arizona

    This is a sad day for justice in the United States. Goodbye liberty and justice for all.

    July 2, 2007 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. Cory, Saint Louis, MO

    Does it make liberals feel better to hate Bush? Sure, he's made mistakes, but it is completely irresposible to assume that he is intentionally running the country into the ground.

    He is making decisions based on his political ideology, and the ideology that won him the election. Naturally, if your politically ideology runs perpendicular to his, you won't like many of his positions or actions. I truly beleive that Bush beleives his actions are the best for this country -right or wrong.

    Just remember, because you disagree with someone, it doesn't make them a bad person. A mature person will realize that.

    July 2, 2007 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  6. Jay Rehak, Chicago, IL

    If the man deserved jail time, he should have served it. The President's action is an insult to every law abiding citizen in this country. Our National Security should never be compromised for any political reason, as it seems to have been by Mr. Libby.

    July 2, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  7. Rene Vasquez Cibolo, Texas

    Is anyone really surprised by this president’s action anymore? If this happened in Mexico or Russia this administration would look down its nose and decry corruption. When Washington does it well its just politics “Standard Operating Procedures” for this gang of crooks. Fred Thompson’s reply speaks volumes:
    “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.” Former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson, likely presidential candidate
    A vote for Fred translates into four more years of villainy in my opinion!!!

    July 2, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. Jamie, Birmingham, AL

    Another form of complete injustice in America. Thank you King George for yet another display of your loyalty to your cronies and your complete disregard to the American law and justice in this country. This is truely the madness of King George, yet again. Nixon was a saint compared to you. What a complete disgrace!

    July 2, 2007 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  9. Agatha M. Aldrete, Phoenix, Arizona

    Hmmm...this makes me wanna go..."hmmmm" I cannot help but think that Libby had an "ace" up his sleeve...just for this moment when he was headed for prison. Could it be that he has some incriminating evidence involving the snake in the grass vice president or our most "beloved" president? I cannot wait until we are rid of this administration...it is going from bad to worse...de guatemala a guatepeor.

    July 2, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  10. Anthony, Lexington, KY

    This comes as no surprise, why expect "W" to start doing the right thing now. Well, I guess we all know one American (Scooter) who will be celebrating his Independence and freedom this Fourth of July.

    July 2, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  11. Jude Bennett, Columbus, GA

    While I'm furious at this decision, I'm certainly not surprised. In fact, I find it typical. We as a nation should feel a deep and unyielding sense of anger not just at the powers that be for these sorts of actions, but at those who elect these people – because this is what they do, excusing their own at the expense of everything and everyone else. It never comes by them honestly, they have to sacrifice everything including justice in order to continue their agendas.

    I want my country back.

    July 2, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  12. J Miller - Toronto - Canada

    I guess it is a matter of who you know, not what you have done that determines the sentence.

    July 2, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  13. G. Sridhar Prasad, San Diego, CA

    It is irony to see that a president who promotes his policies for fighting terrorism and invading Iraq on the agenda of national security commutes an individual who has compromised the national security of this country.

    July 2, 2007 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  14. Andre Ancelin, Jacksonville FL

    This is the nail in the coffin for all current Republican presidential hopefuls. The Republican party can now kiss the 2008 elections goodbye- just too much ammunition handed to the Democrats. I don't see any way forward for the Republicans until 2012 at the earliest- Baby Bush and his cronies have damaged the party that badly.

    July 2, 2007 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  15. Loren, Oakland CA

    Was it your choice to include mostly Democratic comments, or are most Republicans simply (and perhaps wisely) laying low & avoiding the issue?

    I think commuting Libby's sentence is shameful, absolutely shameful. It may not rise (or lower) to the level of a "high crime or misdemeanor," but it ought to.

    July 2, 2007 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  16. jimmie w Beck san diego california

    Maybe the Democrates can move on to more important issues.... If they say anything negative it would be...THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK.

    July 2, 2007 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  17. leo ames,potsdam,new york

    The same people who are screaming to throw libby in jail were very very quiet when sandy berger stole classified documents from the national archives building and destoyed them to cover up clinton's actions or lack of action against the bin laden branch of terror.

    July 2, 2007 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  18. Howard Luttrell, Owensboro, KY 42301

    Not surprised that Bush let him off the hook. This is the most corrupt president, vice-president, etc. in the history of the United States. I think a recall election for both Bush and Cheney should start immediately.

    July 2, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  19. Srini, Lenah Valley, Tasmania

    A case of "Power without Responsibility"? Just another case of if you are a poor bloke you will be severely punished for your misdeeds. If you are high enough in the hierarchy, your misdemeanours are okay. Shouldn't we be applying the saying "The higher you are the longer you fall", if there is to be any belief in the system of justice?

    July 2, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  20. L. Randall, Las Vegas NV

    Does anyone recognize a bully when they see one anymore? You must remember before guns, knives and drugs it was the school yard bully who terrified you. You got so tired of being whipped and bullied you just handed him whatever "it" was he wanted. You knew though that no matter what you did, what you said, he was going to have his way and "the devil be damned". Well Mr. Bully, I mean Mr. Bush, now that Scooter is all taken care of (gee, even Nixon had to wait) how much would it cost to get the two “BORDER GUARDS” who shot a drug dealer at the “BORDER”out of jail?

    July 2, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  21. JOHN B., Seattle, WA

    George Bush is nothing more than a 3rd World thug. Impeachment is only the first step. Our best defense as a nation is to call for a constitutional convention and convert our government to a parliamentary form. We must never allow this to happen to our nation again.

    July 2, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  22. Stephen, Fort Worth, Texas

    What exactly was Bush promising to restore to the White House again?

    July 2, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  23. Bradley, Los Angeles CA

    This is disgusting. Does anyone remember the angle Bush was pushing in the 2000 elections, about "restoring dignity" to the white house after Clinton's intern scandal?

    Really seems comical now. This is a truly pathetic situation. I want to move to Canada.

    July 2, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  24. Ryan Gorgebluff, MT

    Impeachment has been long overdue however this should be the wake up call for the process to begin.

    Please for the sake of whats left of this country get rid of this administration.

    July 2, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  25. Tim, Houston, Texas

    what a sham.
    While your at it W why dont you pardon all the guilty in the prison system.

    Oh, and please correct the Paris travesty too while your at it – jack***

    July 2, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
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