Bush commutes Libby prison sentence
[UPDATE: see reactions from various pols after the flip.]
Is it any surprise that these crooks protect their own. (AP):
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.
Comments on the matter (check out Fred Thompson’s at the end…
“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.”
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
“Until now, it appeared that the President merely turned a blind eye to a high ranking Administration official leaking classified information. The President’s action today makes it clear that he condones such activity. This decision is inconsistent with the rule of law and sends a horrible signal to the American people and our intelligence operatives who place their lives at risk everyday. Now that the White House can no longer argue that there is a pending criminal investigation, I expect them to be fully forthcoming with the American people about the circumstances that led to this leak and the President’s decision today.”
— Michigan Congressman John Conyers
“Once again President Bush and the GOP have undermined a core American value: equal justice under the law for every American. By commuting this sentence, President Bush is sending a clear message that the rules don?t apply to the Bush White House or loyal Republican cronies. After promising that anyone who violated the law would be ‘taken care of,’ President Bush instead handed Scooter Libby a get out of jail free card. Though Libby was convicted by a jury of lying about a matter of national security, President Bush is sparing him the consequences ordinary Americans would face. This conviction was the first moment of justice in a Bush Administration void of accountability. It?s a sad day for America when the President once again puts protecting his friends ahead of equal justice under the law.”
— DNC Chair Howard Dean
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.
— Illinois Senator Barack Obama
“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.”
— Senator Chris Dodd
“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.”
— former NC Senator John Edwards
“I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. 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.”
— all-but-declared GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson