July 3rd, 2007
12:43 PM ET
12 years ago

Bush: Full Libby pardon possible

Bush said Tuesday he hasn't ruled out pardoning Libby.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush said Tuesday he wouldn't rule in or out a full pardon for former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, after having commuted his 30-month prison sentence Monday.

The president's comments came as he left the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he had been visiting military personnel wounded in the Iraq war.

White House spokesman Tony Snow also discussed the possibility of a pardon in the daily White House briefing.

"There is always a possibility or there's an avenue open for anybody to petition for consideration of a pardon," Snow told reporters. "As far as we know, that's not been done, and we don't know if it's contemplated by Scooter Libby or his defense team."

"The reason I will say I'm not going to close the door on a pardon is simply this: that Scooter Libby may petition for one. But the president has done what he thinks is appropriate to resolve this case," Snow said.

The tumultuous briefing, punctuated by pointed questions from reporters and repeated explanations by Snow, came a day after the president's announcement sparked an uproar by critics claiming the move was another example of the Bush administration believing that it is above the law.

Snow said the president respected the jury's verdict, which found Libby guilty in March of of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators in the case surrounding the leak of a CIA agent's identity, but he felt that the 30-month prison sentence was "excessive."

The spokesman reminded reporters that Libby still must pay a $250,000 fine and will be on probation for two years.

"So this is hardly a slap on the wrist, in terms of penalty," he said. "It is a very severe penalty."

Snow said politics played no part in the president's decision, which he made after "long consideration."

"The president spent weeks and weeks consulting with senior members of this White House about the proper way to proceed," the spokesman explained.

"And they looked at a whole lot of options and they spent a lot of time talking through the options and doing some very detailed legal analysis."

Snow would not comment on whether Vice President Dick Cheney, Libby's former boss, had weighed in on the decision.

Filed under: Scooter Libby
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Ryan, New York, NY

    Jon from Sacramento,
    The only reason multiple people in this administration haven't been impeached is due to the fact that there aren't the numbers in this incredibly partisan Congress to make it happen.

    The House could impeach him, but with a 50-50 split in the Senate what would be the point if it won't go anywhere. The American people would just be upset that Congress wasted a bunch of time on the impeachment process and yet again got nothing accomplished. Especially at a point when we're at war.

    If you recall, when Clinton was impeached by the House, the Republicans held the House and there were 55 Republicans and 45 Democrats in the Senate, so they thought they had a chance.

    I'd say if it were up to a popular vote that wasn't rigged, at least one of them would be gone. I'm not really up for having Pelosi move in, but at least she couldn't do the damage that these wastes of life will in 18 months.

    July 3, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Gary M. Olson, San leandro, CA

    I have been watching the major news commentators and reading the newspapers and I am seeing a selected (p)resident of the American people who has perverted the principles of the legal system. Even though what was done was legal under the Constitution, the very act of what he did seems to cover-up the attempt to gain the truth about the Iraq that the American people deserve to know in order to maintain a belief in the American system that has suffered since the dark days of Nixon. There are many in America that must rise this 4th of July to defend our right to liberty from a secretive government, equal justice for all citizens who have been found innocent and equal punishment for those justly found guilty, and that the governing of our nation is of the people, for the people, and by the people. The outcry against the Bush Administration must stand up to reassert our demands for civil liberties and that these rights not be abused by an oligarchy of power hungry Machiavellians huddled under the umbrella of the Grand Old Party!

    July 3, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. D. Endo, Honolulu HI

    This is just the icing on the criminal behavior cake that our president is party to. If Scooter Libby gets a pardon, we are truly in the "end times" if Paris Hilton does more time for probation violation than Scooter does for an act of treason, that was "outing a CIA Agent." That is truly disgraceful. Shame on you Bush and Cheney.

    July 3, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. reuven benyuhmin

    George just thinks what he wants to think. With regard to all issues and yes with regard to the commutation of Libby's sentence, he just perceives in the way that fulfills his views. In his mind he is completely justified in his position. He really thinks he's dong the right thing.

    And that's also what motivates suicide bombers. They think they're doing the best possible thing for society. To them they're doing the most compassionate thing they possibly could. That just shows you how far delusion can go. It's very easy to see how other people are deluded, but can you, George, see how YOU are totally deluded. That's a shocking thing .

    And that underscores why governments need wise, insightful, enlightened leaders who have removed the blindfolds of ignorance and ego. Wishful thinking:)

    July 3, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. Yvette Silver-Blue Seoul Korea

    You have got to be kidding me. They tried to impeach Clinton for sexual acts and lying about those acts but no one has even thought to impeach Bush for all of the atrocities he has committed since in office? Granted what Clinton did was immoral but is not lying about a war, attacking a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 (if you don't remember most of the terrorists were from Saudia Arabia),sending 3500+ soldiers to their death, is that not immoral enough to warrant impeachment. I am so disgusted with the government of the US that I am looking for somewhere else to raise my child and live. If the US was not a target before it definately is now, this war in Iraq has made the US a permanent enemy of Islam and target of terrorists.

    July 3, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  6. Concerned, Albuquerque, NM

    George Bush does not believe in the rules of Law and Order and should be removed from office. Scotter Libby lied to the FBI and Grand Jury any other person in this country would be in jail for that offense – why not Scotter? Is he going free to cover up deeper crimes committed by George Bush and Dick Cheney?

    July 3, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  7. Norma St. Louis MO

    What a legacy!

    The arrogance of George is remarkable.

    He is an embarrassment to the good people of this country.

    America has always been respected if not feared by the world. With this administration – we are neither.

    You may remember he was the moral candidate. His actions indicate otherwise.

    Governor Bush (it’s the last election he legitimately won) should go back to the ranch.

    God Bless America! We need it more than ever.

    July 3, 2007 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  8. al kraatz, skokie, IL

    The Dixie Chicks were way ahead of most of us in denouncing Mr Bullsh.
    They would probably do a better job of running the country – certainly couldn't do any worse!

    July 6, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
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