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. Barbara Hoskinson, Arvada,

    I am beyond outrage for Pres. Bush pardoning "scooter". It's just one more flagrant act showing his total disregard for the American people, democracy and the justice system. this proves he is protecting Cheney and ultimately himself. DISGRACEFUL!!!!

    July 2, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Sue Borgen Rochester MN

    Bush didn't surprise me one bit today. His belief that he and his staff are above the law typifies his whole administration. Are we going to survive his last year and a half? And how long will it take to recover?
    Sue Borgen

    July 2, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Scott Taylor, MInneapolis, MN

    Sorry, Previous comment did not include my city and state. Included here now, as I cannot remember the exact text I submitted.

    Thank you.

    July 2, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Larry Fox Woolwich Twp., NJ

    ....and justice for all...........and boy, are YOU out of order.
    President Bush once expressed to the public and the media that history would bear him and his executive decisions out and be the judge of his tenure as the steward of The United States of America. Well, Mr. President, I believe that at this point in time, we no longer need to wait for any historian or the Lord GOD himself to bear witness to the tragedy that is your administration. You have destroyed our standing in the world, you have destroyed the people's faith in the ofice of the President, and you have the besmirched the Constitution. Couldn't you have at least waited a day?
    As a registered Republican, even I can no longer stand by and allow you to make a mockery of the country that I served honorably. Please Sir, do us all a favor and stop the charade. Hop on trigger and ride off into the sunset.

    July 2, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Srini, Newark, DE

    Too many slaps for a common American Citizen. I do not know, where US is going but it is OK to be illegal in this country and you might get a citizenship without any exam or background. It is OK to break the rules, give away national security, OK to ignore the executive order as long as YOU are affiliated with politics and specifically with PRESIDENT.

    This is a wrong example not just for Americans but everyone in the World.

    President Bush has really set a GREAT BAD example before 4th of July, Independence Day.

    Cheers to President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney. Welcome back, Mr. Libby !

    July 2, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Ken, Sausalito, CA

    That's it. The time for smoldering outrage is over. America has to wake up, get off the couch, and do EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER to get the smirking chimp out of the White House. I'm so angry it's hard to breath.

    July 2, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. Scott, Columbus, Ohio

    thank goodness this man does not have to serve his time. anyone who actually knows the details of the case – this does not include you casual news watcher – knows the whole investigation was a political ploy to trick somebody into perjury. if you disagree, you have not read the facts of the case. it's pretty telling that cnn only posted reaction from the democrats...

    July 2, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. noel starkey, Woodland Hills CA.

    Now let me get this straight. the President pardons Libby and it is a grave injustice becouse Libby worked for the Vice President. Cliton padons a criminial who donoated money to him but that is ok because he has the authority to do so. libby's lie was a grave danger to the sercuity of America because he lied to a justice official but when Cliton lied to a judge under oath and it was not a serious mater. these examples of selective outrage are the reasons I can't vote for a democrate. With them everything is for political advantage and not what is good for the country. the pot should never call the kettle black.

    July 2, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. Paul Gore, Oakland, OR

    Did anyone honestly expect Bush to do anything more that this gross miscarriage of justice?

    July 2, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |


    July 2, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  11. Corey from New Hampshire

    Is this really a surprize?

    Since when does this administration listen to or set examples for the American people on the values of living in a democracy.
    It makes the most optimistic of us pessimists.
    Justice for all?

    July 2, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. G.M., Mount Vernon, WA

    How odd that only comments were solicited from the most publicity seeking Democrats – those running for office, etc. It seems than none of them are aware that no one was convicted of the original charges – no leaks, no sacrificing national security – but a whole bunch of "gotcha"!!!

    July 2, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. Rob Simons, San Antonio, TX

    Impeach Bush. This is just another in a long list of examples that show why the Bush administration is out of touch with the American people.

    July 2, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. Bruce B., Chicago, IL

    President Bush did the right thing.

    It was apparent that Mr. Libby did not get a fair trial or, consequently, a just verdict. It is amazing to me that even today, Democratic critics are still accusing Mr. Libby of leaking Valerie Plame's identity (see article above).

    Mr. Libby was not charged, was not convicted, nor was he sentenced for that "alleged" crime.

    Today, justice has finally been served.

    July 2, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  15. Private, Franklinvile NJ

    IS anybody really surprized? Libby was protecting the "Executive Branch". Most certainly he knew that he would be convicted and Bush would pardon him. It's time for the American public to wake up. This New World Order business is starting to get scary.

    First they shread parts of the Constitution limiting our freedoms and now he commutes the sentence of a convicted felon that was covering up a crime that Bush or Cheney committed.

    What's next?? Nazi like rounding up of people who voice oppostion to illegal government conduct? It's coming folks.........WAKE UP !

    July 2, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  16. Gavin, Merrillville, Indiana

    Atleast Clinton waited until his last day in office, George Bush has no shame. This should be taken as yet another slap in the face from Mr. Bush. I'm afraid the Dems nor anyone will not be able to tame this man–we are hopeless until Nov. 2008.

    July 2, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Gary Holloway

    once again Mr. Bush shows no regard for our system of laws and justice. It seems that the only justice he upholds is of his own making. When does it end. Jan 2009 couldn't come soon enough.

    July 2, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. Curtis - Port Orchard, WA.

    Does anyone really believe that this President, and I use that term loosely really cares about American and it citizens. His blatent disregard for the laws that govern this once proud nation is not only a slap in the face to every citizen who obeys them, but today, he has made us the laughing stock of the world. George Bush has sold this country out and he should be impeached for treason.

    July 2, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. Garth Wilson Los Angeles, CA

    Talk about getting hit in the face with a wet fish. I HAVE to believe this has to anger all Americans. Not just left and right.

    I believe it's time to look past the candidates the 'main stream media' offers up as the front runners and look for substance and character in some of the lesser-known candidates. If nothing else, just to avoid this kind of thing.

    July 2, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. The rev. Thomas Robinson, Easton, PA.

    It's like every sinister political movie ever written. If this isn't a sure sign of proof that there was criminal actions on the part of the President anf Vice President, I don;t know what is. Republicans and Democrats shoud band together to impeach, or at least censure this crooked administration. It is just an outrage.

    July 2, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. Britt Sieger, San Diego CA

    President bush should be impeached!!

    July 2, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. Roy L Glover Lexington KY

    Personally I believe this is an outrage and is indicative of how the Executive Branch has been ran under Bush/Cheney. So you break the law and are found guilty, but your sentence is commuted IF you are protecthing these charlatans acting under our revamped Constitution. I was a member of our military serving in Desert Storm and am proud of what we accomplished, but since Baby George took office, he has lied repeatedly to the American people and the World in order to support his own views of what the world should be. Then he protects those who lie to support and protect him. It's an outrage and I am beginning to support Jefferson and his views on Revolution. To quote “Every generation needs a new revolution.”. Additionally this great man and author of our Constitution stated.. “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”. We would do well to think over these words and express out outrage a bit more "vocally" than we have been, else we will find this is how Liberty dies. Silently.

    July 2, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. Ireca, Virginia Beach, VA

    So, now that Libby has been basically commuted, will the two boarder officers that were imprisoned for actually tring to protect this country, also be pardoned.

    July 2, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. Leigh, Sterling CO

    We'll be lucky if there's any justice or a country left by the time Bush leaves office. If anyone deserved impeachment, it's HIM. God bless America and protect it from GEORGE W. BUSH!!

    July 2, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. David, Piscataway, NJ

    Ms. Pelosi should know that the American people are tired of standing by as she places the interests of her party's presedential ambitions above those of the American people and her constituency. She must put impeachment back on the table and before the House, before Mr. Bush destroys every last vestige of those principles and values that for so long made our nation great.

    July 2, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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