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. Mike B, Norwood, NJ

    What did Sandy Berger get as a sentence for stealing classified documents? Seems rules are different for both parties in Washington DC then for "average" citizens elsewhere.

    July 2, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. Tom, Phoenix, Arizona

    The title of your article is, "Washington responds". You quote 7 democrats & the lawyer for the Wilsons, not a single republican or independent. Yet the politicians say talk radio is biased! Are we to believe you couldn't get a single republican or independent to go on the record with their thoughts?

    July 2, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Charity, Ewa Beach HI

    Gee, were all the Republicans unavailable? Like actually working? I'd like to know when President Bush will pardon the 2 border patrol agents who were convicted mostly on the part of a drug smuggling criminal given immunity to testify against them.

    July 2, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Dan D., Hagerstown, IN

    The bad news: another rich, Washington beltway insider gets away with a felony crime. The good news: the Dems are guaranteed the White House and continued control of Congress in '08.

    July 2, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Jerry Sager, Birmingham AL

    It's humorous how all the Democrats are blasting bush for commuting the Scooter Libby sentence. Where was their concern when Bill Clinton lied to a grand jury?

    July 2, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. Pat, Minneapolis, MN

    To the 25% or so of you who still support this president – is this enough? If not this, when will you finally admit you've been had and join the rest of us? This president is destroying everything this country has stood for....

    July 2, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. Donna Jacksonville Florida

    bush and cheney have always believed they were above LAW ....and this proves it. the real reason iu because LIBBY told them if they didnt get him out he was going to tell the world all the things they have done, they are protecting each other from other crimes and misdeeds that I am sure would make this TREASON, WMDs, the Iraq war debacle, Haliburton, Border Protection and the GONZALES fiasco look like childs stuff..today is a very sad day for America. Its almost like we are all present at the BURNING OF ROME... And we are to blame for what these MEN did, they shouldve been arrested long agoooo....

    July 2, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Adam, San Francisco, CA

    There's only one word to describe this – disgusting. This is like LBJ pardoning Lee Harvey Oswald for killing JFK. Give me a break.

    July 2, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. V. Miller, Charlotte, N.C.

    Just as Bush feels "the Constitution is just a G-D piece of paper", neither does Bush have any respect for the law.
    When is our Congress going to wake up and impeach this criminal? Along with the other criminal he calls his vice president.
    This was a crime.

    July 2, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Cliff, Marlton, New Jersey

    Its a shame that two border agents that were doing their job to protect our borders and our country are still in prision, for 11 and 12 years, respectively. Our decider has once again played judge, jury and God, by not letting Mr. Libby see the inside of a jail cell. I can write all night, but, what's the use, until the third week in January, 2009, we have to endure this type of foolishness while our once great country goes down the toilet. Lord help us.

    July 2, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. Mike, Orange County, CA

    I just wish there was something the commen man could do! Didn't they kick Nixon out for less & Clinten got roasted for way less what is wrong with this Government?

    July 2, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Scott Snell, Greenbelt, MD

    Judging by this CNN "ticker," only Democrats have commented on the commutation of Libby's sentence. Please interview some leading Republicans as well.

    July 2, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. Kar3en, Tucson, AZ

    WHY oh WHY has this president not been impeached?? He ignores the laws of this land, thumbs his nose at the Congress of the United States and proves over and over what a complete moron he is. He has made us a target for terrorism, and lowered out standing in the world. Heaven help US.

    July 2, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. Wing McCallister, Chicago IL

    As usual, the American government has let the people down. We live in a country where laws no longer apply to a select group of individuals, and those individuals have "rights" that exceed our "privileges". Time to rise above.

    July 2, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. Tracy Los Angeles CA

    If a black woman who was not involved in politics had commited the same crime as Scooter Libby and been given the same sentence, would Bush have commuted her time in jail? Would Bill Kristol and so many other prominent right-wing voices have called for *her* to be pardoned?

    July 2, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. Glenn Laba St Marys, Ohio

    IMO, the only reason the sentence was commuted was a promise to keep his mouth shut. I'd bet that shortly, Scooter will be murdered...or fall out of a plane, or die in his sleep....and they'll be some story about a disgruntled liberal who will supposedly take Scooter's life.
    Our Gov't is starting to look like the Midlle east!

    July 2, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. William Hambaugh - Athens TN.

    Hell, this demonstrates the essence of being a conservative republican. Corrupt, criminal, mean spirited, (except in cases where someone could throw you in by squealing). Bush said the consequences he did get are enough. Libby will be well taken care of by his conservative buddies. The 250k will probably be paid by Cheney or with our tax dollars. His probation officer will probably be his wife.
    They can all go to hell.

    July 2, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. Robert, Fresno, CA

    Today, the democrats, once again, show there two faces when it comes to accountability and breaking the law. Valerie Plame was NOT outed by Mr. Libby, the drive-by(liberal) media made him a scapegoat for something that nevfer happened. All this was was an all-out assault on conservatives and their majority values and morals. Democrats are digging there own graves. Deeper and deeper. See you on election day!

    July 2, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. Camille, CT

    Just another example of the Bush double standard with regard to crime and punishment and national security. There are two justice systems in this country: the one for the wealthy and well connected and another for the rest of us.
    Exposing an undercover agent is considered treason and is definitely a national security concern. I guess the Bush administration doesn't take our national security seriously.

    July 2, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. Bill, Pittsburgh, PA

    This is so sad. That sentence was light and it should have been for someone much higher (Cheney) Even the Patsy gets off. There is little accountability in such a corrupt administration. I had hopes for Bush, but he is much worse that all the rest.

    July 2, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Jay Radtke, Sequim WA

    Good grief! When will it stop?

    July 2, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Robert, Blue Ridge, GA

    Glad to see that the President is upholding one of the principal beliefs of his administration – that well-connected Republicans get special treatment, regardless of the crimes they may have committed.

    July 2, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Michelle, Philadelphia, PA

    This is another disgusting disgrace for our country. How can President Bush be allowed to act in such authority? He is completely out of line with this decision, outside of the law and out of his mind. How can this man continue to lead our country? I am completely disturbed by this news and something must be done.
    The biggest problem I see is that even under such scrutiny...a very public legal trial...there were people fighting to bring this man to justice. And the system failed. How are we to fight back against a government such as this? Who will hear us??? What will be rectified?

    July 2, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Ed Buck -Alto,NM

    In regard to Scooter Libby, was he threatening to tell the truth and the
    whole story? Maybe there should be an investigation to see whether the President was blackmailed.

    July 2, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. nettie fenton mo

    why does Bush think libby is above the law this president has gone so far down hill with the war now this be glad to see him gone before more damage is done

    July 2, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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