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. Kyle, Santa Cruz California

    It is quite the injustice when the actual "leaker" never even stood trial. Libby wasn't the leaker, he was just accused of lying during the investigation. How can it be a crime when the real criminal never stands trial. Check your facts, this was always about going after Bush's administration than the actual crime. Don't let CNN fool you! Like I said, it's all in the facts!

    July 3, 2007 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  2. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Why is this man still President? Surely with all the demonstrated corruption in this administration the Congress can find some reason to impeach Bush and Cheney. The worst President and Administration of the modern era continues!

    July 3, 2007 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  3. John,San Francisco

    This is liberal slander.

    July 3, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  4. James Thornton, Los Angeles, CA.

    Had Libby gone to prison, he would have been a political prisoner of the United States. Not the first time that politics has resulted in a dog-and-pony show trial and conviction, for a crime that was never even charged, and it probably won't be the last.

    July 3, 2007 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  5. Andrea Talton, Jacksonville, FL

    Fred Thompson may be a good actor, but he will make a horrible president. "This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life." This quote alone shows that he has no respect for justice in this country. Ironic, Mr. Law & Order District Attorney.

    July 3, 2007 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  6. Stephen Selig, Plainview, New York

    A commuted sentence? It should have been a pardon. Tell me again, what's so bad about perjury? It's not like he tried to conceal a sexual indiscretion involving a Whitehouse intern. No, nothing so heinous as that. He merely tried to cover up the willful leak of classified information, a leak that put the lives of CIA agents at risk. He lied about an attempt to smear the critics of a disasterous war he himself had helped to sell with an even bigger lie. A war with no end in sight. A war which has claimed the lives of over 3500 brave American soldiers and uncounted innocent civilians.

    A commuted sentence? Hell, give that man a medal!

    July 3, 2007 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  7. Peggy L., La Grande, Oregon

    Martha Stewart goes to jail. Scooter Libby goes free. What kind of America do we live in? Can you impeach an Administration this late in the game? Stinko......

    July 3, 2007 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  8. L. Johnson Cedar Rapids, IA

    President Bush has gone beyond lowering the bar for ethical standards in his administration; he seems to be removing the bar altogether. The President claims that 30 months was too long of a sentence. If that really is the case, he could have waited until Libby had served a more appropriate length of time and then commuted the sentence.

    July 3, 2007 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  9. Renee, Los Angeles, California

    Kudos to President Bush for his courage.

    "Reasonable people can conclude that it was only Scooter Libby’s imperfect memory—not willful deception—that gave rise to the charges of lying under oath and obstruction of justice. Among the supporting players—including CIA officials, Bob Novak, Woodward and Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, and Time’s Matthew Cooper—no two participants in any conversation about Valerie Plame had the same recollection." (quoted from an editorial "Pardon Libby" in the March 6, 2007 National Review online).

    I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Libby did not "OUT" Valerie Plame and he should not serve jail time for a faulty memory over something so lame.

    July 3, 2007 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  10. Nic, Austin, TX


    July 3, 2007 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  11. John from Cincinnati

    The End Is Near

    July 3, 2007 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  12. Tom Meade, Rockledge Florida

    I’d expect nothing less from a C+, cheerleading, alcoholic, criminal. Keep up the good work GW !

    July 3, 2007 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  13. egalia, Nashville, Tennessee

    He's not my president.

    July 3, 2007 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  14. Tatiana Hersh, Sterling, VA

    This is unacceptable. I am sick of seeing this administration say one thing and do another over and over again. I remember when the President himself said he would make sure this issue got fully investigated and anyone responsible would pay the price. And after a trial and conviction, he decides to "pardon" Mr. Libbi? Why am I not hearing from any "moral" and "ethical" Republican voice his/her opinion about this?

    July 3, 2007 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  15. Mary Roberts

    The new emblem of the Republican party should be a snake with a forked tongue..to signify the tradition established by this administration of lying,misleading,slithering,and being as low as you can go.
    Obviously, Bush had to protect Cheney's "made man".They have their own code...the code of lawbreakers.

    July 3, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  16. Alice Moore, Gerald, Missouri

    Throughout all of this, I've viewed Libby as the fall guy for Dick Cheney and Karl Rove (aka "The Untouchables"). The White House is just one big frat house full of bad boys who are drunk with power.

    July 3, 2007 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  17. Dee, Langlois, Oregon

    The president said, "They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable.” Does anyone else see the incredible irony of that statement, coming from that man?

    July 3, 2007 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  18. Dr. Edward Lorusso, Santa Fe, NM

    UNBELIEVABLE that GOP candidates and others have the unmitigated gall to APPLAUD Bush's horrendous commutation of Libby's sentence. Bush is a monster, the worst president in history. He represents corporate America and big money and no one else. He's a liar, a sneak, a cheat, a bully, and a war criminal.

    He's trampled the U.S. Constitution and has clearly set himself and his power-crazed henchmen above the law. It's unpardonable if he is allowed to remain in office.

    Every elected representative in Washington, representing THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, had better start working on an impeachment of this "thing" that sits in the White House TOMORROW. Nothing else will be acceptable.

    Bush, Cheney, Rice, Gonzales, Rove, and the whole stinking cheating lot MUST GO!

    July 3, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  19. Tim, Middletown CT

    I am unhappily embarrassed to be an American tonight. I should be getting ready to celebrate the country's anniversary of its Declaration of Independence. I hold this truth to be self evident: George W. Bush has proven that he believes himself, and the members of his administration, were created more equal than the rest of us. The integrity of the office of the presidency is as low as it has ever been.

    July 3, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  20. Jason, Houston, TX

    Interesting... I wonder if the same Democrats held the same view on "justice" when Pres. Clinton PARDONED a cabinet member convicted on 18 counts of conspiracy, giving false statements and obstruction of Justice (i.e., Henry Cisneros). Or, how about when Clinton COMMUTED the sentence of a congressman who was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of CHILD PORN!!

    July 3, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  21. letmefree

    Do the Republican candidates and candidate hopefuls really think speaking out in support of this decision does them any good? Even conservatives have got to be baffled by this.

    It would be incredibly refreshing to see a Republican candidate stand independent of White House and party pressures and actually speak his mind on this subject. We're waiting.

    July 3, 2007 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  22. Paul Ascenzi, Pomona, Calif

    Just another line in the legacy to be titled "George W. Bush: Greatest Misuse of the Presidency in the History of the Office"

    July 3, 2007 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  23. Jeremy Hoyt, Jacksonville, Florida

    Come on. Are you really suprised? Yes it is a travesty of justice, but the American people elected the Bush Administration in 2004 after we had four years to see what they were all about. The American voters are the only ones to blame for enabling these crooks.

    July 3, 2007 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  24. G. Rica

    The pardon of Libby by George W. is absurd. It is a clear insight of his views of "law & order". His friends are exempt from the rules. What additional harm can this President do to this country and the world. Enough is enough.

    July 3, 2007 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  25. Lansdale, PA

    This is a very deserving gift for Libby. I wonder why nobody asks for Richard Armitage to go through a trial even though he himself had admitted that he was the one who leaked the name. I sincerely believe ordinary Americans are mostly dumb. The media spreads this farce that Americans are wise but they control what these citizens hear and because of a general lack of interest to know the truth, they just go with what ever they hear. How else can one explain polls that fluctuate by the hour???

    I am not a great fan of GWB, but atleast objectively analyze what he is doing or trying to do

    And Anderson, You cant fool everybody with your "keeping them honest slogan"

    July 3, 2007 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
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