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Libby Skates – Washington Responds

by Pamela Leavey

Scooter Skates – Washington Reponds…

As Hart reported below, Bush has pardoned Scooter Libby, “sparing him the 30-month term to which he was sentenced last month for lying to federal investigators about his role in the White House leak of a CIA officer’s identity.”

Bush took the action just hours after a federal appeals court ruled that Libby was not entitled to remain free while he was appealing his conviction on four felonies.

“With the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision,” Bush said in a statement issued by the White House early this evening. Although the president said he “respected” the jury’s verdict, he added that he had “concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.”

EXCESSIVE? EXCESSIVE? We all should have seen it coming and perhaps we did… True to course, Bush while on vacation has pulled another fast one on the American public and it’s a doozy!

CNN has some early responses from Washington on Bush’s big gift of Liberty to Scooter, just in time for the 4th of July:

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, and 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?”

There’s a firestorm in the blogosphere… Weighing in on the big PARDON… Hart on the Dem Daily, Shamanic on Newshoggers, Jill on Brilliant at Breakfast, The Anonymous Liberal, The Mahablog, Needlenose, Rachel on KnoxViews, The Poor Man Institute, BradBlog, Susan on No Quarter, and Libby on The Impolitic. Memeorandum has all the buzz here.

REALTED POST: John Kerry on Bush’s Decision to Commute Libby’s Sentence.

9 Responses to “Libby Skates – Washington Responds”

  1. Let the backlash go forward, multiply and overcome these usurpers.

    I want my country back.

  2. Oh let’s do point out that all that time Bush was not responding to the pardon Libbey questions and pleas, he already had his plan. To commute the sentence rather than pardon Libbey. Which, as CNN points out, he can still do before he leaves office.

    That would leave Libbey out $250,000 and 18 months of not being able to practice law. Unless he finds a way to delay paying the fine until Bush pardons him. And gives legal counsel to people who are willing to pay for it under a cover description.

  3. Here’s Fitz’s comment. Pamela was clearly channelling:

    the corner at NRO.

  4. We’re the party of “governing, law, and accountability”.
    When we canvass voters across the country in the next 16 months, they will understand that instantly.

  5. […] lor Marsh, darkblack, TalkLeft, Dr. Sanity, Brilliant at Breakfast, The Anonymous Liberal, The Democratic Daily, Political Insider, Rook’s Rant, The Reaction, The Mahablog and WorkingForC […]

  6. I would wager a bet that the money for Libby’s fines have already been collected through donations and not one penney will come from Libby’s pocket. The probation is nothing but a bit of a nusense. Then, Bush will pardon him near the end of his term.
    I have not gone along with the impeachment chorus until now, but I worry what this administration is capable of when they have such blantant disregard for accountability and the laws that govern us all and have no concern about the consequences of their actions and the public reaction. This latest move by Bush concerns me and makes me wonder what he may be capable of. It may be time to get him out of office before he does more harm to this nation.

  7. Wisteria

    I’ll wager you are right about Libby’s fine.

    It’s time for Impeachment. No doubt.

  8. wisteria,

    I think it was Rachel Maddow on Air America who said that the group collecting money for Libbey’s legal fund is headed by Tucker Carlson’s father. (It really astounds how flagrant they are in many ways.)

    “This latest move by Bush concerns me and makes me wonder what he may be capable of.”

    That would be hitting it on the head for a lot of people. It certainly drove the group who were determined to impeach Clinton.

  9. My newspaper had a slightly bigger headline last week when a kid on a camping trip was killed by a bear. And a much bigger one when an inmate disarmed a guard and killed him. Please, please don’t let that be the norm.