(Courtesy of Solidarity Mail)
Bush Commutes Libby Prison Sentence
The Associated Press
Monday 02 July 2007
Bush spares Libby from prison term.
Washington - President Bush commuted the sentence of former aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Monday, sparing him from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case.
Bush left intact a $250,000 fine and two years probation for Libby, according to a senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced.
Bush's move came hours after a federal appeals panel ruled Libby could not delay his prison term in the CIA leak case. That decision put the pressure on the president, who had been sidestepping calls by Libby's allies to pardon the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Libby was convicted in March of lying to authorities and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative's identity. He was the highest-ranking White House official ordered to prison since the Iran-Contra affair.
Reaction to Bush's Libby Decision
The Associated Press
Monday 02 July 2007
Some reaction to President Bush's decision Monday to commute the sentence of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, sparing him from a 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case.
"In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing." - Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
"When it comes to the law, there should not be two sets of rules - one for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and another for the rest of America. Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail. No one in this administration should be above the law." - Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
"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." - Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.
"Accountability has been in short supply in the Bush administration, and this commutation fits that pattern." - Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
"President Bush did the right thing today in commuting the prison term for Scooter Libby. The prison sentence was overly harsh and the punishment did not fit the crime." - House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.
"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. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
"After evaluating the facts, the president came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct." - former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
"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." - former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.
"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." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
"This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice." - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.
"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." - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"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." - Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.
"President Bush's 11th-hour commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence makes a mockery of the justice system and betrays the idea that all Americans are expected to be held accountable for their actions, even close friends of Vice President Cheney." - Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
"By commuting Scooter Libby's sentence, the president continues to abdicate responsibility for the actions of his administration. The only ones paying the price for this administration's actions are the American people." - Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.
"This decision sends the wrong message about the rule of law in the United States, just as the president is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. How can we hold the line against injustices in other countries when our own executive branch deliberately sets out to smear its critics, lies about it and then wriggles away without having to pay the price in prison?" - Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif.
"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?" - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Statement From Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald
t r u t h o u t | Press Release
Tuesday 03 July 2007
We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.
We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as "excessive." The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
Although the President's decision eliminates Mr. Libby's sentence of imprisonment, Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process.
All Spin Zone: Perspective on the Libby Commutation