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. Leigh

    Joe Wilson's response (over at talkingpointsmemo.com): "By commuting [Libby's] sentence, [President Bush] has brought himself and his office into reasonable suspicion of participation in an obstruction of justice. The commutation of (Libby's) sentence in and of itself is participation in obstruction of justice."

    July 2, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  2. Henry Murphy Sour Lake, Texas

    This is just more evidence of corruption at the highest level of government. WMD and now Libby. What next? Shame on you Mr President,

    July 2, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. Stuart - Parker, CO

    It's decisions like this that just cement his place in history as the worst President to ever serve our country. And, it just lends more credence that, until he and his cronies are booted out of office, to never trust our Government to stand for anything good for the people of this country.

    July 2, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Brian Hughes, Baldwin City, KS

    Not that I expected anything like honest reactions from Democratic politicians, fair coverage from CNN, or an inteligent response from the public, but did anyone happen to remember that it wasn't Scooter Libby who leaked Valerie Plame's identity? The person who DID leak her ID, a deputy secretary of state, was never prosecuted (nor was the reporter or the media outlets who actually published the information). What exactly did Libby do – lie about not doing something that hey, guess what, he really didn't do?

    If people didn't fall hook, line, and sinker for all the garbage that CNN and the rest of the media are spoon feeding us, maybe they'd pull their cranium out of your rectums long enough to learn the facts and stop the whining about how the Republicans aren't playing fair.

    July 2, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Maraliz Anderson, Corpus Christi, TX

    The hipocrisy from the Democrats! Clinton issued 62 pardons in his last days as president, some with ties to terrorist activities. No wonder the Bible says' they are all puppets of their master – Satan!

    July 2, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Tina, Dardanelle Arkansas

    The forefathers of this country are crying out in pain tonight. The blood that has been spilt in the making of this country is flowing cold this evening. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, they are all weeping loudly in heaven. Their dream of an honest, judicial, trustworthy government has now come to an end. The laws have been broken so many times in the past 6 years that we could not believe it, but at least we had one who was held accountable for lying to the FBI and the investegators, now there is no one. Our country is gone, it has been swept away by this president and his administration. There is no joy this 4th of July only sadness for what was and is no more.

    July 2, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |

    Unbelievable! This is not a president, Bush is a dictator. If our constitution is so strong and just...why is our country being overthrown? Laws are being broken every day by this administration and they are getting away with it.

    July 2, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Jim Grand Rapids, MI

    Why should Scooter Libby go to jail to cover for the Vice Presidnet?

    July 2, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. Lawrence A. Vigil

    Well there we go again, this president has no morals much less values. Unless it's to protect himself and his clonies.
    His father did the same thing buddie-buddie with Noriega then he attacked him and Panama. Americans would love to know what Noriega has to say about the scandals this Bozo was involved in. If this clown can commute Libby's prison sentence, then why can't he do the same with Leonard Peletier's sentence especially when they don't have any proof it was he that committed the crime.
    With Scooter their is all kinds of proof! How about Cheney's gopher Carl Rove if anybody should be in prison it should be Rover, Cheney and Bush to include Bush Sr. America has to do something, this is ridiculous that they can do as they please and nothing happens to them.
    Where is Lee Harvy Oswald when you need him? I can't believe that there has not been any attempts at least to impeach him and the rest of the administration!

    July 2, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Niquie, Westlake Village, CA

    So, when are we going to impeach Bush? What more does he have to do to warrant taking that action? He lied us into a bloody, endless war. He made an end-run pass around the FISA courts and illegally spied on Americans. He sanctioned torture. Katrina/Rita victims are still that...VICTIMS!

    What does he have to do? Diddle a willing adult?

    July 2, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Eric W, PA

    I can't believe that our (so called) president felt that it was his right to make a decision based off of his personal feelings ....once again, instead of letting the judicial process take its course. I am beside myself with frustration feeling betrayed by a pathetic president. Everyone needs to rise up! This country is losing faith and all because of the selfishness of a crooked loser president Bush!!!!!!! GW ....how do you live with yourself?

    July 2, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  12. MJ, Seattle WA

    Not sure what the big surprise is on this one. It's George W we're talking about.

    July 2, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. Nick, Waterford, Ct.

    Of course bush pardoned libby and it's no surprise that the Dems will use this for political gain. As an American who has voted against incumbents for the last 20 years, I am ashamed of my elected officials and of my fellow Americans who continually elect the same idiots to govern the U.S.A. Change will happen when you people wake up and vote these bellhops out of office!

    July 2, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. Claudia, Monticello, Kentucky

    How much more is this country going to take? I can't beleive that the citizens
    have not stormed the White House!

    Democrats, please, please do something!
    These people can't continue to abuse us this way! They make Sopranos look meek!

    July 2, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  15. Ray Keith, Gainesville, Florida

    Every time I think there is nothing more mr. bush can do to offend justice and equality I am wrong. I don't know Mr. Libby and I wish him no ill, but the very closeness of mr. bush and mr. cheney to this alone would make a sincere person not intervene. This is so wrong. This country, under mr. bush, begins to resemble those we used to oppose.

    July 2, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. bill anderson, mahwah, nj

    interesting that your only "responders" are democrats, yet your article says "washington reponds". that's cnn for you. you are known for unbalanced rpting other than those who see things your way.

    anyone with a brain knows plame and wilson have been trying to obtain the spotlight throughout this entire saga. the entire process has been a waste of taxpayer monies and a complete waste of time – all about politics, nothing more. plame and wilson make millions on a book and we get to hear bozos like schumer shoot off his mouth. it's a great contry, that's for sure. one can be in the spotlight w/o an ounce of intelligence or common sense.

    you may want to remember that you are supposed to be journalists – that means you present all sides. tough for your network i know (esp with a founder like turner) but maybe once in awhile you'll want to open your journalism book and remind yourselves what journalism is supposed to be.

    everyone you quote is w/o ethics – simple fact of US politics.

    July 2, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. Dong Workforyuda


    Wow, what can you say. Everything the average working class American feared has come true. I've had it, time to arm ourselves and take the country back by force. If this country can not impeach Bush and Cheney then we are doomed. The only thing left to do is fight.

    America is a piece of crap now, and the working person is being sold out and laughed at by the greedy power hungry scum that has sold us out and positioned themsleves for wealth and power.

    July 2, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. Andrew Pappalau

    This ticker is a shameless partisan front for the Democrats. Joe & Valerie Wilson's attorney and a pack of Democratic congressmen and presidential candidates? Please CNN stop treating us like fools and just change your name to Democratic News Network.

    In the end, no amount of false Democratic outrage can change the fact that it was Richard Armitage who first leaked Valerie Plame's name. However, we don't see any Democrats screaming for his head. Nor do we seem them screaming for the head of Sandy Berger for removing and destroying classified documents. So much for Democratic concern for issues of national security. Scooter Libby's only mistake was not retaining legal councel during his grand jury testimony – something he did because he had nothing to hide. He subsequently fell into a perjury trap set by an out of control prosecutor and took the fall for the true guilty parties. He is owed an apology from many people, from the White House to the Special Prosecutor to all the people quoted here. Shame on you all.

    July 2, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. Ray Fleming Jackson, MS

    If you don't like it see numbers and email addresses below to contact the White House. I'm sure it won't do any good but if we crash their phone systems with calls at least we will have done something.

    Contacting the White House

    Mailing Address

    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20500

    Phone Numbers

    Comments: 202-456-1111
    Switchboard: 202-456-1414
    FAX: 202-456-2461


    Comments: 202-456-6213
    Visitors Office: 202-456-2121
    Please send your comments to comments@whitehouse.gov. Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to every message. For further up-to-date information on Presidential initiatives, current events, and topics of interest to you, please continue to use the White House website.

    Vice President Richard Cheney: vice_president@whitehouse.gov

    July 2, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. Thomas, NYC

    Bravo! I dislike many things this administration has done. Nevertheless, this is a man who did not deserve 30 months in prison. It is time to remind people that President Clinton lied under oath to protect his self interest and did not do any prison time. Let's focus our attention and resources on something else.

    July 2, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Gina Louise, Ventura, CA

    This is just sickening. Libby already had his fair day in court, with the best lawyers money could buy. But Bush just easily brushed off the idea of justice to spring a friend from jail. Again, this shows the gulf between the haves and have-nots in this country. A poor person on a drug rap could go to jail for life, and a man who compromises national security gets off.

    July 2, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. RA - Chattanooga, TN

    These comments today from partisan demobrats is the type of political rhetoric that myself and the other 90 percent of Americans who are dissatisfied with congress are sick and tired of.

    If you are so concerned with the Presidents action in this case, ignoring the very harsh sentence that the President left in tact for Mr. Libby, then who is going to take a lead in prosecuting appropriate charges against Sandy Berger, who committed an immensely greater crime than anything Mr. Libby was set up for.

    The sort of declamation that came from members of congress today after the Presidents rightful, thoughtful and appropriate decision is the sort of thing I firmly believe will remove these crumbsnatchers from power in the next election.

    July 2, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |


    July 2, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. Mike Stewart

    This is an outrage with a silver lining, at least for the Democrats. Scooter could become the Willie Horton of the 2008 presidential campaign. All the Republican candidates lining up to say what a wonderful thing Bush did should get hammered in '08.

    By the way, if Martha Stewart gets a sentence of about 5 months, and Paris Hilton does about 22 days in jail, why should Libby, an acacessory to treason, walk?

    July 2, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. Phil Burk, San Rafael, CA

    Bush and Cheney has left us with no choice. The only tool we have left to make them accountable is to IMPEACH them. I think the Judiciary Committee should approve HRes 333 calling for the impeachment of Dick Cheney.

    July 2, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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