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. Lester, Newport News, VA

    As an american citizen, I am appalled at the decision to commute the prison sentence of Scooter Libby. The rationale used by the President that "the sentence was too harsh" even though it was well within federal sentencing guidelines, is another indication of this administration's policy of placing itself above the rule of law.
    It sickens me that someone, who had a part in revealing classified information is not going to receive the same punishment that "ordinary" citizens would have received for committing the same offense. Regardless of his contributiions to society, he should be treated like all others, and not like a pampered child. All this has done is solidified my belief that those in Washington operate above the law and to benefit themselves, and not for the benefit of the people who elected them.

    July 3, 2007 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  2. Sean Gaffney, Mt. Zion, IL

    Apparently the CNN journalist that wrote this story was only able to find three Republicans that would give a quote - putting their quotes at the bottom of the story was also a nice touch. It would be nice if CNN at least went through the motions of being fair to both sides. I don't recall quite so much concern when President "I can eat a donut bigger than my head!" Clinton pardoned terrorists and tax evaders for political purposes.

    July 3, 2007 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  3. Dwight, San Francisco, CA

    It is a sad day for our American democracy and our justice system when our very own President abuses the power he was given. How can we have the audacity to criticize Putin or others for un-democratic actions when our own President puts serving himself above serving the country.

    July 3, 2007 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  4. Vinny . Dallas Texas

    The Texas Mob takes care of its own.

    July 3, 2007 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  5. T. Roger White, Jr.

    Unbelievable, but amazingly, not surprising. As a lawyer, it is sad to see the continual eroding of our nation of laws. This administration's legacy will in fact be that they changed the world. But ohhhh, did they make it so much worse.

    By the way Chetry and Roberts (morning team), please try to restrain the expression of your clear bias for this administration and it's policies. Besides making me sick to my stomach, your losing my viewership. Or maybe it's CNNs intention to out-Fox Fox news? If so, good luck with that, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    July 3, 2007 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  6. Pepe, Brooklyn New York

    Respect your God Father am he will help you.

    July 3, 2007 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  7. Daniel Williams

    President Bush needs to pardon the 2 Boarder Patrol Men working for our good not chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby:. Bush, think and have mercy on the families of these fine men serving the nation.

    July 3, 2007 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  8. Angela, Gainesville, FL

    Well, what number to the White House do we need to call?

    July 3, 2007 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  9. Jason Rodriguez, Virginia Beach, VA

    Last time I checked, Bill Clinton pardoned a couple shady characters himself tied up in all sorts of criminal activity (http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pardonchartlst.htm). . . kinda funny how this article basically quotes all the Democrats saying this is a discrace, and one Republican candidate and one potential Republican candidate for president as saying it was "okay", and no other established Republican lawmakers chiming in. Why call the article "Washington Response" when it's really the Democratic/Democratic presidential candidates responses to Libby's pardon.

    July 3, 2007 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  10. Joey, New york New York

    Scooter is a straight shooter with friends in high places. If the Mr Pres. and the Texas MOB can forgive him who am I to question his pardon.

    God Bless and take care of the family.

    July 3, 2007 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  11. Dennis Carlos Bolullo, Burlington, Ontario

    My lord, it seems Republicans can get away with anything in the US. Do Americans enjoy being slapped in the face by a small, arrogant group of rich people who act like they are above the law.

    July 3, 2007 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  12. Rhonda, Wytheville, VA

    What a great country we live in! An airhead blonde with more money than sense goes to jail for her crime while Dick "I'm comin Liz-beth" Cheney's Chief Staff doesn't serve a day of his sentence? IMPEACH BUSH AND CHENEY NOW!

    July 3, 2007 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  13. Michael. New York

    Scooter Libby is a traitor, a treasonous traitor. The message is simple: We Do Whtever We Want. The big boys wouldn't want their boy to squeeal. That's it.
    Where is America?

    I M P E A C H ! ! !

    July 3, 2007 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  14. Pat Rome Maine

    Think Sandy Berger!

    July 3, 2007 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  15. Rod, Michigan

    It's all about timing. Why pick a Monday of the 4th of July? Like a thief in the night or was Bush avoiding a parody of Jon Stewart, because the Daily Show has reruns this week?

    July 3, 2007 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  16. John, richmond Virginia

    I hope "Scooter the straight Shooter" names his kids after God Father Bush.

    July 3, 2007 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  17. DGB ~ Cleveland, Ohio

    I am not in the least bit surprised. Of course Bush is going to abuse his office. His whole administration has damaged America to a degree which may take an entire generation to rise above the rubble.

    When loyalty is held above the rule of law, we have ceased to be a Democratic Republic. What we have instead is a restoration monarchy full of corruption – it’s King George II and the death of “America”.

    July 3, 2007 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  18. Morris Wolford, Monterey, California

    Thank goodness! I didn't think Bush would have the guts to do it (pardon Scooter Libby). He's done nothing but disappoint and enrage conservatives for 6 years. It's about time he threw us a bone. Wasn't exactly a gutsy move, however. I can see no downside th this commutation whatsoever. The left remains enraged at Bush, which is their default setting. I can only imagine the blogosphee if Bush were to pardon the border patrol agents now in prison.

    July 3, 2007 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  19. Bob Davis, Pittsburgh Virginia

    Balanced Reporting? These are all candidates or Democrats

    July 3, 2007 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  20. R Kowalski, Syracuse, NY

    Come one, come all who have failed to follow the laws of the land! Send a request to George Bush and that other law breaker who does not know which branch of government he works for and ask to commute, pardon and otherwise forgive all republican transgressions and suck up to Ann Colter and their conservative base. You shall be blessed.

    July 3, 2007 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  21. Casper Larsen, Fredericia, Denmark

    I apologize in advance for any misspelling but English is not my main language so I hope you understand.

    The rest of the western world are sitting with their mouths open in disbelieve over this.....How can a democracy give so much absolute power to its president? It’s insane.
    I really hope that the US will reform it self into a more fair democratic justice system where the president has power but doesn't have ultimate power. This reminds the rest of the world of china.

    July 3, 2007 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  22. Mark, Houston, Texas

    Impeach Bush.

    July 3, 2007 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  23. Bonnie O., Raleigh, NC

    To all who voted for George Bush–be careful what you wish for. What a travesty this is. I guess in George Bush' White House the rules only apply to the other guy. I'm glad to see the comments made by those running for the presidency; it certainly proves to me that those who are quick to side with this blatantly wrong decision should not be allowed to run this country.

    July 3, 2007 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  24. Al H., Ithaca NY

    ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING What has this countries government come too? This administration has done more to destroy our place in the world than all prior administrations put together...GET THEM THE HELL OUT OF OFFICE!

    July 3, 2007 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  25. Bill, Jacksonville Florida

    This is a disgrace.

    There has been an ongoing moral decline in this country. It has been marked by the frequency with which people cheat and lie, and by the increasing degree that such conduct is condoned and found acceptable.

    With this decision, George Bush has done great harm to this country.

    As for Scooter Libby, he lost his way. He could have stood up and done the right thing. He could have admitted his failure to tell the truth to the FBI and to the grand jury, and he could have willingly accepted his punishment. This would have been a true service to his country. Libby failed us and his country. Eternal shame on him as well.

    July 3, 2007 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
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