View Full Version : President Bush commutes prison sentence for Lewis 'Scooter' Libby

07-02-2007, 05:58 PM

President Bush commutes prison sentence for Lewis 'Scooter' Libby

WASHINGTON - President Bush Monday spared former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby from going to prison for 2 1/2 years for obstructing the CIA leak investigation, a White House official said.

The official said Bush "has commuted the prison sentence ... leaving intact the probation and fines handed down by the court."

"That means he is not going to jail," the official said.

Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was sentenced to prison for lying and obstructing an investigation into who blew the cover of a CIA agent whose husband criticized the Iraq war.

This breaking news story will be updated.

07-02-2007, 06:00 PM
Cocksucker, but no surprise.

07-02-2007, 06:01 PM

07-02-2007, 06:11 PM
Yet again proving that if you have enough money or know the right people, you can get away with anything. Thus, nothing in this country is illegal on those grounds.

Sad, Sad, Sad.

07-02-2007, 06:41 PM
Libby still has to pay 250,000 at least.

07-02-2007, 07:17 PM
Libby still has to pay 250,000 at least.

That's probably a drop in the bucket for him. Or, I'm sure he can "raise" the funds from his rich MIC friends.

07-02-2007, 07:19 PM
Expected, but it shows that even treason (outing an intelligence officer) is not a crime for which this administration can be held accountable.

You can't even go to jail if you are caught lying about treason, like Libby was.

This really winds me up. The arrogance of it all. Goddammit.

07-02-2007, 07:23 PM
As an unnamed Bush official told reporter Ron Suskind,

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality--judiciously, as you will--we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

For those who didn't like it, another Bush adviser explained,

"Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered two to one by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read the New York Times or Washington Post or the LA Times."

07-03-2007, 02:56 PM
Joe Wilson: 'Did he do this so that Libby would shut up?'

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Joe_Wilson_Bush_administration_corrupt_from_0703.h tml

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday July 3, 2007

CNN interviewed Ambassador Joseph Wilson, husband of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame, about the commutation of "Scooter" Libby's sentence soon after it was announced on Monday. "There's very little that surprises me from this administration any more," said Wilson. "I think it's corrupt from top to bottom."

"I don't give really a darn whether Scooter Libby goes to jail or not," he continued. "What I care about is that the rule of law and the system of justice that has undergirded our democracy for 220 years is upheld. And that is what has been subverted by the president's actions today. ... By commuting the sentence, I think the president raises the very real suspicion that he is party to the obstruction of justice or the coverup of the original crime. ... I think the public has a right to know whether there was a quid pro quo in this. Did he do this so that Libby would shut up?"

"I believe the president owes the American people an explanation," Wilson concluded, "so the American people themselves can see what it was the prosecutor was talking about when he talked about a cloud over the vice president's office. And if he doesn't do so, I think Congress should use its full authority to investigate."

NBC's Today Show offered more extensive coverage of the Libby commutation on Tuesday, including reactions from Democratic and Republican candidates and interviews with Joseph Wilson and with conservative Bill Kristol, who applauded the president's "courage and character" and claimed that "there was no underlying crime."

Wilson expanded on his own earlier remarks, saying, "The fact that the president short-circuited our system of justice by giving Scooter Libby a get-out-of-jail-free card, thereby eliminating any incentive that he would tell the truth to the prosecutor, guarantees that there is a cloud of suspicion put over the office of the president and makes him potentially a suspect in an ongoing obstruction of justice case. ... This was a coverup."

When asked about the fact that Libby was not convicted of any underlying crime, Wilson replied, "Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a mobster."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball concluded the segment by pointing out that "the president had to act ... or else this guy would have gone to prison."

"This war is immensely hated by most Americans," Matthews continued. "They don't trust the way it was sold to us. And now it will look like one more seal has been closed on us. ... Scooter Libby knows so much ... All this information now goes with Scooter Libby into freedom and one less chance to get the information. You have to make your own conclusions. ... There's not a journalist in Washington that wouldn't like to have Scooter Libby today under sodium pentathol and find out exactly what happened."

The following video clip is from CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, broadcast on July 2.

Video At Source

07-03-2007, 05:16 PM
White House hits back at Libby outrage


Published: Tuesday July 3, 2007

The White House on Tuesday dismissed a storm of political outrage over President George W. Bush's decision to spare former top aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a two-and-a-half-year jail term.

Bush insisted he had made the right decision and refused to rule out an eventual full pardon for Libby, a day after commuting the sentence handed down after a trial bound up in the drive to war with Iraq.

As well as flak from Democrats, Bush faced the ire of conservatives angry that he had not wiped out the conviction entirely for Libby, once a trusted former member of Vice President Dick Cheney's inner circle.

"I thought that the jury verdict should stand, I felt that the punishment was severe," Bush told reporters Tuesday.

"As to the future, I, you know, rule nothing in or nothing out," Bush said, when asked whether Libby could ever benefit from a full presidential pardon.

White House spokesman Snow rejected claims Libby was getting off lightly, after he was convicted of obstructing an investigation into the outing of CIA spy Valerie Plame, wife of a vehement critic of the administration over Iraq.

"This is hardly a slap on the wrist, in terms of penalty. It is a very severe penalty," said Snow, noting Libby still faced a 250,000 dollar fine, two years of probation and was saddled with a felony conviction.

"The president also believes, for those who are arguing on behalf of a pardon, that you need to respect the jury system. Scooter Libby was tried before a jury of his peers."

Democrats kept up the heat on the White House on Tuesday seeking political advantage from Bush's move.

"I'm outraged," senior Democratic senator Chuck Schumer told supporters in an email.

"President Bush commuted Scooter Libby's prison sentence, wiping away two-and-half-years of jail time with the stroke of a pen.

"We expect more from our president. We expect honor and integrity, we expect moral leadership."

The Wall Street Journal, which normally takes a conservative line on its editorial page, warned that Bush had evaded responsibility on the Libby case -- by not granting a full pardon.

"Mr Libby deserved better from a president whose policies he tried to defend when others were running for cover," the paper said.

Snow interpreted the fact that Bush was also being "pounded from the right" as proof his move was not made for shallow political gain.

Bush critics claim Libby was part of a White House effort to punish former US ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was sent by the CIA to Niger in February 2002 to investigate claims Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium for nuclear bombs.

Wilson later criticized the administration's rationale for the Iraq war, and a probe was launched into whether top Bush aides deliberately blew Plame's cover as revenge.

Democrats reacted swiftly on Monday to news of Bush's move.

"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," House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

"The president's decision to commute Mr. Libby's sentence is disgraceful," Senate Majority Reid said.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who brought the case, disputed Bush's use of the term "excessive," stressing in a statement that Libby "remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process."

Wilson added :"I would remind people that this is the president who was governor of Texas (and) refused to commute the first death sentence of a female prisoner, even after the Pope pleaded for clemency."

New York Senator and 2008 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said the Bush administration "simply considers itself above the law."

07-03-2007, 05:23 PM
Paris Hilton served more jail time than Libby .... now that really sucks!

07-03-2007, 07:45 PM
Paris Hilton served more jail time than Libby .... now that really sucks!

Not really


07-05-2007, 06:25 PM
Wexler: Censure Bush Over Libby


By Larry Lipman | Thursday, July 5, 2007, 10:37 AM

Rep. Robert Wexler says President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence “is nothing short of (a) political quid pro quo, and Congress must go on record in strong opposition.”

WEXLER07.jpgWexler has drafted a resolution to censure Bush and plans to introduce it when Congress returns next Tuesday. A censure is a rare public reprimand but does not carry any other penalty.

House leaders could take the resolution directly to the floor, but that’s unlikely. More likely is that the resolution will be sent to the House Judiciary Committee of which Wexler is a member. Since this is a “sense of the House” resolution, it would not require Senate approval.

Wexler said Bush’s “intervention is an unconscionable abuse of authority by George W. Bush, and Congress must step forward and express the disgust that Americans rightfully feel toward this contemptible decision.

“Scooter Libby was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice by a jury and was appropriately sentenced by a judge President Bush himself appointed. This deceitful chain of events began with the administration’s falsifying of intelligence on Iraqi nuclear capabilities. It is clear that the perjury of Mr. Libby in this case effectively protected President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and other administration officials from further scrutiny regarding the clear political retaliation against former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, a covert CIA agent.”

The last president who was censured was James Buchanan in 1860, so the odds are pretty long against this one being adopted. Previous censured presidents were Andrew Jackson in 1834 and John Tyler in 1842. The House did not use the word “censure” in those instances, but its meaning was the same.

Here’s the text of Wexler’s censure resolution:

Resolution relating to the censure of George W. Bush

Whereas President George W. Bush has failed to comply with his obligations under Executive Order 12958 concerning the protection of classified national security information in that the covert identity of Valerie Plame Wilson as a Central Intelligence Agency operative was revealed to members of the media, and in June 2003 Bush Administration officials discussed with various reporters the identity of Ms. Wilson as a covert Central Intelligence Agency operative;

Whereas on July 14, 2003, the name of Ms. Wilson and her status as a CIA operative was revealed publicly in a newspaper column by Robert Novak, and on September 16, 2003 the Central Intelligence Agency advised the Department of Justice that Ms. Wilson’s status as a covert operative was classified information and requested a federal investigation;

Whereas knowingly leaking the identity of a covert agent is a criminal violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (P.L. 97-200);

Whereas Arthur Brown, former Asian Division chief of the CIA, stated that, “cover and tradecraft are the only forms of protection one has and to have that stripped away because of political scheming is the moral equivalent to exposing forward deployed military units”;

Whereas Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, effectively stopped the investigation into this potentially grave national security crime by lying to FBI investigators, and Mr. Libby’s perjury shielded the Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush from further inquiry;

Whereas on March 6, 2007, in U.S. District Court a jury found Mr. Libby guilty on four counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to FBI investigators regarding an investigation into the actions of the White House regarding leaking the identity of Ms. Wilson in retaliation for her husband’s contention that the Bush administration twisted intelligence facts to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq;

Whereas on June 5, 2007, Mr. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000;

Whereas President George W. Bush had appointed both the Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, and the US District Court Judge, Reggie Walton, who were involved in the trial of Mr. Libby;

Whereas in February 2004, President George W. Bush stated that if anyone in his Administration “has violated [the] law, that person will be taken care of”;

Whereas on July 2, 2007, President Bush commuted the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison;

Whereas in commuting Mr. Libby’s sentence, President Bush has finally and unalterably breached any remaining shred of trust that he had left with the American people and rewarded political loyalty while flouting the rule of law: Now, therefore let be it —

Resolved, That the United States Congress does hereby censure George W. Bush, President of the United States, and does condemn his decision to commute the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison, his unconscionable abuse of his authority with regard to the deceitful chain of events concerning the falsifying intelligence on Iraqi nuclear capabilities and the exaggeration of the threat posed by Iraq, his involvement in the clear political retaliation against former Ambassador and Ms. Wilson, and his decision to reward the perjury of Mr. Libby, which effectively protected President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and other Administration officials from further scrutiny.

07-05-2007, 07:33 PM
One intersting thing I heard about this on tv is that Bush problably didn't give Libby a pardon right off the bat because he wants to drag this out as long as possible with the appeals and what not. The longer this case goes on the longer Bush doesn't have to talk about this since he "doesn't discuss ongoing investigations".

07-05-2007, 09:13 PM
Bush spokesman: Clintons have chutzpah for criticizing Bush

http://www.examiner.com/a-814300~Bush_spokesman__Clintons_have_chutzpah_for_ criticizing_Bush.html

Jul 5, 2007 11:58 AM (9 hrs ago)

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - The White House on Thursday made fun of former President Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for criticizing President Bush's decision to erase the prison sentence of former aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

"I don't know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it," presidential spokesman Tony Snow said.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has scheduled hearings on Bush's commutation of Libby's 2 1/2-year sentence.

"Well, fine, knock himself out," Snow said of Conyers. "I mean, perfectly happy. And while he's at it, why doesn't he look at January 20th, 2001?"

In the closing hours of his presidency, Clinton pardoned 140 people, including fugitive financier Marc Rich.

The former president tried to draw a distinction between the pardons he granted, and Bush's decision to commute Libby's 30-month sentence in the CIA leak case.

"I think there are guidelines for what happens when somebody is convicted," Clinton told a radio interviewer Tuesday. "You've got to understand, this is consistent with their philosophy; they believe that they should be able to do what they want to do, and that the law is a minor obstacle."

Sen. Clinton, seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said the Libby decision "was clearly an effort to protect the White House. ... There isn't any doubt now, what we know is that Libby was carrying out the implicit or explicit wishes of the vice president, or maybe the president as well, in the further effort to stifle dissent."

Former Vice President Al Gore said he found the Bush decision "disappointing" and said he did not think it was comparable to Clinton's pardons.

"It's different because in this case the person involved is charged with activities that involved knowledge of what his superiors in the White House did," Gore said on NBC's "Today" show Thursday.

Snow also tried to clear up confusion about Libby's probation. While commuting Libby's sentence in terms of prison time, Bush left in place his two years of supervised release. But supervised release - a form of probation - is only available to people who have served prison time. Without prison, it's unclear what happens next.

Snow said the White House view was this: "You treat it as if he has already served the 30 months, and probation kicks in. Obviously, the sentencing judge will figure out precisely how that works."

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, earlier this week, said the law "does not appear to contemplate a situation in which a defendant may be placed under supervised release without first completing a term of incarceration."

He gave Libby's attorneys and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald until Monday to respond.

07-05-2007, 09:14 PM
I agree that Clinton shouldn't have waited until the very last day to pardon 140 people including Mark Rich. I also think the Executive Branch should not even have the power. No one person should be allowed to overrule a verdict simply because of he/she's elected office.

07-05-2007, 09:16 PM
However, two wrongs don't make a right Snowjob.

07-05-2007, 09:40 PM
Jailed conscientious objector hits out against Libby clemency


Submitted by Canada IFP on Thu, 2007-07-05 19:26.Americas | United States | News

A veteran who spent 14 months in prison for filing a conscientious objector application against redeployment to Iraq has spoken out against the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence by President Bush.

"I was imprisoned for 14 months after trying to apply for conscientious objector status after seeing the reality of the Iraq war," Kevin Benderman, who had to serve his sentence at a prison 3,000 miles from home, said.

Kevin Benderman had served as an army mechanic for 10 years when he developed moral and religious objections to the war in Iraq, after serving there in 2003, and refused to deploy there again. After seeing scenes of devastation in Iraq, and through his readings of both the Bible and the Qu’ran, Kevin Benderman filed an application for conscientious objector status on 28 December 2004.

He was then sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment at a court martial.

“Homes were bombed, people lived in mud huts and drank water from the mud puddles," Benderman wrote in his conscientious objector application. "I could not ignore the little girl standing by the side of the road with her mother. Her arm was burned to her shoulder, and she cried in pain. To be aware of the mass graves throughout the area that we were in, full of bodies of women and children and men, all who had died by the hand of war, maybe not our war, but war.”

His wife Monica Benderman, who organized a campaign to obtain her husbands released, also hit out at Bush's action.

"Parole was denied to Kevin because he had not been 'sufficiently rehabilitated.'", she said. "What were they rehabilitating him from? Not wanting to go to war. During those 14 months Kevin would be sitting in a plastic chair getting shouted at; he was denied his mail at times, they tried to prevent his talking to his attorney and our congressperson. Meanwhile, Libby -- who covered up the truth on issues of war that affect the lives of people like my husband -- is going to walk away."

The couple are currently helping America 's veterans through their new organization, Benderman's Bridge.

President Bush commuted Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence saying "I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."

Libby was convicted in federal court for obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury in the CIA leak grand jury investigation into the "Plame affair", and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

07-12-2007, 07:09 PM

07-12-2007, 08:04 PM
Where in the constitution is the president granted commutation/ clemency privileges?

07-12-2007, 08:06 PM
I dunno.

07-12-2007, 08:08 PM
Article. II./Section. 2.

Clause 1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

07-12-2007, 08:25 PM
Huh. Why would those dummies put that in there?

07-12-2007, 09:55 PM
but that Bush commuted Libby when Bush is connected to the crime is impeachable:

In the [Constitutional] convention George Mason argued that the President might use his pardoning power to "pardon crimes which were advised by himself" or, before indictment or conviction, "to stop inquiry and prevent detection." James Madison responded:

[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty...

Madison went on to [say] contrary to his position in the Philadelphia convention, that the President could be suspended when suspected, and his powers would devolve on the Vice President, who could likewise be suspended until impeached and convicted, if he were also suspected.

07-13-2007, 06:02 AM
YEah but who's the third alt? Since we're in dream world (although I just saw on Drudge that sen. Boxer said impeacjment should be on the table.... YAY) lets just say they were both impeached. Who comes next?

07-13-2007, 07:04 AM
Nancy Pelosi. If Cheney and Bush are impeached simultaneously then the House majority leader gets the job.

07-13-2007, 08:18 AM
Blech. That's what I thought. No happy ending there...

07-13-2007, 08:28 AM
LOL! yeah in some respects I think we would be better off, but really the only thing I think that can save this country is revolt.