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BREAKING: Bush Commutes Libby Sentence — The Bush Statement

cheneylibby.jpgPresident Bush’s statement on the commutation is up on MSNBC.  And he flat out lies in it.  See this:

…Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting….

Wrong. Wrong. Entirely wrong. The sentence as laid out carefully by Judge Walton was well within the sentencing guidelines — in fact, it was mid-range in the guidelines. The President may well feel that a 30 months sentence is excessive for someone who has been convicted of multiple federal felonies — but, it is entirely false to say that the sentence is excessive within the guidelines. It is an attempt at spin and shold not be allowed to stand unchallenged.Further, as Marcy says:

Well, George did it. Made sure that Scooter wouldn’t flip rather than do jail time. He commuted Libby’s sentence, guaranteeing not only that Libby wouldn’t talk, but retaining Libby’s right to invoke the Fifth.This amounts to nothing less than obstruction of justice.

Amen. And now that the President has concluded that the proceedings are at an end and has acted thereon, I’m certain that the members of the Bush Adminsitration, including President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove, among many, many others, would be more than happy to answer questions publicly about their conduct and involvement in this betrayal and the investigation thereof.

Oversight, please.

UPDATE:  Just got this from Harry Reid’s office:

Washington, DC — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today after President Bush commuted the prison sentence of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby for obstruction of justice:

“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.”

UPDATE #2:  More statements from Dem. leadership:  Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Louise Slaughter, and Sen. Chris Dodd:

“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.”

Still waiting for the Presidential apology to Valerie Plame Wilson for his Administration betraying her cover and her work on Iranian WMDs, among other important national security investigations.  Not exactly holding my breath for it, though…

UPDATE #3:  Statement from former Sen. John Edwards:

“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.”

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com