“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 of national 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.”
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.
Amb. Joe Wilson (whose wife is the outed CIA agent):
“From my viewpoint, the president has stepped in to short circuit the rule of law and the system of justice in our country. In so doing, he has acknowledged Mr. Libby’s guilt for, among other things, obstruction of justice, which by definition is covering up for somebody in a crime. By commuting his sentence, he 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.”
President Bush engages in ongoing obstruction of justice by commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence.
And all of the Wise Men of Washington cheered.
Politely tell the White House what you think about this.
….WH has closed the comment line. We can call tomorrow.
Demonstrating his complete contempt for trial by jury, rule of law and his own Department of Justice appointees, George Bush thumbed his nose once again at the very concept of democracy and the Beltway Brahmins are cheering. The dirty unwashed masses who populate our juries are fit to judge each other, but evidently not the ruling class. David Broder can breathe a sigh of relief that People Like Him are safe from those overly zealous US Attorneys who might want to hold them accountable to the same absurd standards that the little people must live by.
There is a conceivable argument — a very poor one but a conceivable one — for pardoning Scooter Libby, presumably on the argument that the entire prosecution was political and thus illegitimate. But what conceivable argument does the president have for micromanaging the sentence? To decide that the conviction is appropriate, that probation is appropriate, that a substantial fine is appropriate — just no prison sentence.
This is being treated in the press as splitting the difference, an elegant compromise. But it is the least justifiable approach. The president has decided that the sentencing guidelines and the opinion of judge don’t cut it.
The only basis for this decision is that Libby is the vice president’s friend, the vice president rules the president and this was the minimum necessary to keep the man silent.
“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.”
“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.”