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. Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke, Durham

    bush is outright delusional.
    This creepy president has to be removed from power ASAP by impeachment for breach of the US Constitution.
    – I became a US citizen just last year. I am outraged beyond expression at this exclamation point of the worst presidency EVER. The Democrats and reality-based Republicans have to stop it NOW, not look for the advantage that this unbelievable act, as another turn in a never-ending string of fiascos and acts of previously unimaginable incompetence might convey in the campaign wars. Sure, it would be extremely suggestive fodder for 30-seconds adds, and candidates are hording money to put up as much of them as they can afford (in states where it matters). But, PLEASE, does anybody consider that we are witnessing nothing short of an outright rape of our US constitution and most fundamental, trusted and proven principles for which the US used to be admired around the world ??? For the sake of the United States of America, impeach and remove from power president bush and his gang of cronies (they do NOT deserve the name "administration") !!!

    July 2, 2007 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  2. Stanley Dearman, Philadelphia, MS 39350.

    I'm shocked to read the statements of Fred Thompson and Rudolf Giuliani, both of whom would like to be president. They think the pardon was a good thing. So it's okay to tell lies under oath and get away with it if you're a bigwig Republican? Add this to their list of "qualifications".

    July 2, 2007 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. Steve Eller, Ravenswood, WV

    Im curious;
    This is not a Presidential pardon, does it qualify, legally, as a reprieve?
    What IS a reprieve?
    If it is NOT a reprieve, the does the President have a right to commute a sentence?

    July 2, 2007 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  4. Boyd, Houston Tx

    Whatever possessed anyone to believe that President Bush would NOT whitewash Libby's crime against the American people? Nothing this president has done has ever suggested that he has even the slightest respect for law, justice or the constitution (at least as they might apply to him or his cronies), so what else could we have expected.

    What is more alarming is that the leading Republican candidates seem to think it's just dandy! (Read Guiliani and Thompson in the ticker). I rarely consider voting Democratic, but there will be no choice for me this time. No Republican seems even remotely concerned that the president so glibly puts himself and his buddies above the law that governs all the rest of us.

    What a sad day!

    July 2, 2007 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Joel, Etters, Pennsylvania

    Irresposibility is the Norm
    Time and again the Bush Administration displays an irresponsible streak. Over and over this administration has shown a blatent disregard for the law– From illegal wire taps to a mountain of lies leading us to Iraq to the blatent risk of our national security by outing Valery Plame, to the Pardon of libby. They have no boundries to what they will do for their own ends. This type of mentality cannot be trusted! Laws were put in place for a reason. Libby disregarded these laws and was treated like everyone else that breaks these laws and thus was handed a sentence. Bush's Commutation is black and white proof of the double standard of the well connected. The office of the president has been tainted for way to long with an atmosphere of lies and betrayal. I only hope that an investigation into the stink cloud of deceitfulness hovering over Bush and Cheney will bring to light what really is going on behind the closed doors of the White House. It's time we restore honor to our highest levels of government and show the world that America does not tolerate abuse of power. I pray along with so many others for the Impeachment of this President.

    July 2, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  6. Nancy , Pinellas Park, FL

    Re: Libby

    Does probation stop from stalking or questionable activities ?

    He is creepy.


    July 2, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  7. Brian Miller, New York, NY

    This Proves that the People of the United States are morons, Don't worry about what the Government is doing, Brittany Spears Boob is showing!
    President Bush does not hate Black people, President Bush hates people.
    There is almost-Nothing left to like about us anymore.
    Bush has beaten the will to live out of me, The next comet that passes earth and, "I'm 'outta here seyz me".

    July 2, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  8. Julie, Sherman Oaks, CA

    It's funny that nearly every single quoted reaction here comes from Democrats. The very last reaction (and I would imagine placed there NOT by accident) is from a Republican. Hmmm. I may totally agree with the Democrats in their reaction to this issue but I just find it hilariously assualting to fair and balanced news coverage the way these comments read and how they are ordered on the page. Biased at best, manipulative at its worst.

    July 2, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  9. John R, San Antonio, Tx

    11 reaction quotes and only 2 from republicans. Nice balance CNN.

    July 2, 2007 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  10. Mossy, Madison WI

    Bully for you Mr. President, The public needs to know that just like everything else in your world "Justice" is just a word. Its meaning depends on how much money you have, whether you are a crony, whether or not you are going to get ratted out.
    You and yours have super rights and everyone else has none. Is this correct?
    Why did we spend all of the money and time to seek justice to have you turn around and negate it. You went through this investigation on the off chance that you and yours would be vindicated. Since it didn't work out you went to plan B commute Libby's sentence. I'm sure you had that all worked out in advance. So, in essence you could have just informed everyone ahead of time that no one who breaks the law in your administration need worry about it because there are no consequences. You are a traitor to your oath as president and an evil, dangerous person. It is no wonder that the vast majority of the people in this country hold you in contempt. You are contemptible and should be impeached for dozens of impeachable offences.
    You are lucky that those in Congress are almost as contemptible as you and would rather keep you in office as long as possible to score partisan points with the public as you drag this nation further and further into a hole.They have forgotten their oaths to uphold the law as well. Your administration and the present Congress and the judiciary that you have stacked and corrupted will be viewed as the most corrupt, immoral, and contemptible government ever spawned in this nations history.
    You are lucky that the American people are such dumbed down amoral apathetic cowards or you would be high tailing it to your plantation in Paraguay.

    July 2, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  11. Don, Moreno Valley, CA

    This is just more proof that this is the MOST CORRUPT administration in the history of the United States.
    We need to throw them ALL out and start over!

    July 2, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  12. Lance, Los Angeles, CA.

    I am insensed and feel like I may lose my lunch. I never dreamed such disregard for the law could even be achievable by a U.S. President and his cronies. These criminals in office have taken everything generations of my family has fought to protect and preserve, everything I have been so proud of, and made it a bad political joke. There must be impeachment for Cheney and Bush, for the soul of this nation there MUST be impeachment. I am nearly crying as I write this, we must set things right again. To do nothing is to tell the world the United States has gone the way of The Roman Empire, which I can only hope it hasn't.

    Everyone CALL WASHINGTON and let them know this will not stand. Impeach. Impeach. Impeach. Impeach. Impeach!

    July 2, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  13. Paul McFarlin, Carmel Valley, Ca. 93924

    This administration will go down as the worst, most corrupt in our nations history.

    July 2, 2007 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  14. Sylvester King Sonora Ky

    Majority rules, with a moroil majority
    it's only natural they would protect a moroil man.

    July 2, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  15. Anthony M. Dallas, Texas

    Just wondering....why did CNN post 9 democratic responses and only 2 republican responses. Interesting, given this story involves justice and fairness.

    July 2, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  16. Lack O'Pies

    The levees have been breached. It's official our country is being run by a bunch of thug gangsters

    July 2, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  17. Bryan, Davis, CA

    I'm going to take up Senator Biden on his suggestion to call the White House tomorrow. I've sat back and complained about injustice for too long without acting. Tomorrow that changes, as this President will hear my voice. I hope the majority of Americans who know the President made a terrible err in judgement today will join in. We deserve neither freedom nor justice unless we are willing to stand up and fight for them.

    July 2, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  18. Jesus, Houston TX

    Libby is the O.J Simpson of politics.

    July 2, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  19. David Westin, Dallas, Texas

    I wish I could say this is surprising. This is just another example of the Bush administration’s lack of respect for the importance of ethics, justice, and integrity. When will congress finally begin talking about impeachment?

    July 2, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. Eddie, Los Angeles, CA

    criminal helping another another criminal!

    hmmm... sounds like another Republican story in the news.

    Both should be placed in front of a firing squad!

    July 2, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  21. mitch walker, westtown, ny

    scooter was afraid to drop the soap. by the way, weren't georgie and scooter on the same cheerleading squad in college. this is student government gone wild. bush will go down as the worst president of all time, no doubt. impeach the SOB!!

    m. walker
    new york

    July 2, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  22. Greg Lowe, Jefferson, Georgia

    Obviously Richard Nixon's mistake was being surreptitious in his wrongdoing. In today's America, blatant and continued wrongdoing and ineptitude and a cynical disregard for the law will only get "a wag of the finger." Perhaps we will have the wisdom as a citizenry to make thoughtful choices which will allow us to emerge from this present darkness in the autumn of 2008.

    "If men within themselves would be governed by reason, and not generally give up their understanding to a double tyranny, of custom from without, and blind affections within; they would discern better what it is to favor and uphold the tyrant of a nation."

    John Milton
    from "The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates" 1649

    July 2, 2007 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  23. Jennifer Bond

    As Harrison Ford said in the movie "Clear and Present Danger", "How dare you Mr. President!".Once again George Bush's actions have cast a shameful shadow over once great and proud nation.A man sworn by the constitution to lead and obey the laws of the land. Instead, used our goverment for his own perverse agenda.Impeach them all!!!

    July 2, 2007 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  24. Larry, Los Angeles, CA

    Bush commuting Libby's sentence confirms that his administration stands not for Law and Order, but for Law on Order at the whim of the Bush Administration and its co-conspirators.

    Libby was not convicted of a crime because the evidence indicated he might have lied, not that by a preponderance of the evidence that he lied under oath and not even that by clear and convincing evidence, but that beyond a reasonable doubt he lied under oath.

    As an attorney, Libby was well aware of the proceedings and the fundamental requirement of truthful participation. Shame on Scooter for subverting truth for his own skin and Bush's political agenda.

    Regrettably, I hold little hope for contrition by this President of the United States. He has operated as a self-serving, unreflective head of a posse, not someone leading his people to safety in a time of unprecedented attack.

    As a citizen of the United States, I do not feel I have had representative government, but have watched an insular government take care of its own, insulating itself from the very "justice system" it is supposed to manage.

    Shame on the voting citizens of the United States of America if we elect another sloganeering fool, who runs the government for himself and his fellow inmates.

    July 2, 2007 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    George W Bush has proven yet again that
    he is a lier and cannot be trusted to
    to do whats right for this country even
    after our justice system has passed out
    it's judgement. With one stroke of his
    pen President Bush slapped the US
    Justice system in the face. So why do
    we have a justice system why dont we just let our fearless leader make the
    decisions since he is the "decider" anyway.

    July 2, 2007 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50