“Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail. No one in this Administration should be above the law.”--- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on President Bush’s clemency grant for Lewis “Scooter” Libby
For the record…source documents and reactions on the Libby pardon :
*President Bush proclamation of clemency grant
*President Bush explanation of clemency grant
*Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald
*Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.)
*Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.)
*Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
*Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean
*House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
*House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
*Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan
*Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
*Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)
*Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
*Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
*New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
*Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 2, 2007
GRANT OF EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WHEREAS Lewis Libby was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the case United States v. Libby, Crim. No. 05-394 (RBW), for which a sentence of 30 months' imprisonment, 2 years' supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and a special assessment of $400 was imposed on June 22, 2007;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, pursuant to my powers under Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, do hereby commute the prison terms imposed by the sentence upon the said Lewis Libby to expire immediately, leaving intact and in effect the two-year term of supervised release, with all its conditions, and all other components of the sentence.
IN WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand and seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 2, 2007
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby’s request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice. As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.
I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby’s appeals have been exhausted. But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision.
From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department. Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated.
After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.
This case has generated significant commentary and debate. Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame’s name to columnist Robert Novak. Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.
Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable. They say that had Mr. Libby only told the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place.
Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.
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.
The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby’s case is an appropriate exercise of this power.
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STATEMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL
Statement of Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald regarding today’s decision by President Bush to commute the 30-month prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby:
“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.”
JACKSON CALLS ON DEMOCRATS TO PUT IMPEACHMENT BACK ON THE TABLE
Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), issued the following statement regarding President Bush today commuting the sentence of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby:
"In her first weeks as leader of the Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi withdrew the notion of impeachment proceedings against either President Bush or Vice President Cheney. With the president's decision to once again subvert the legal process and the will of the American people by commuting the sentence of convicted felon Lewis "Scooter" Libby, I call on House Democrats to reconsider impeachment proceedings.
"Lewis Libby was convicted of lying under oath to cover up the outing of active, undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame. It is beyond unthinkable that the president would undermine the legal process to protect a man who engaged in treason against the United States government, threatening the security of the American people.
"In November's election, voters put Democrats in charge of Congress because they believed our pledge of oversight and accountability. Now it's time for us to honor that pledge. The Executive Branch should be held responsible for its illegalities.
"Our democratic system is grounded in the principle of checks and balances. When the Executive Branch disregards the will of the people, our lawmakers must not be silent. Today's actions, coupled with the president's unwillingness to comply with Senate and House inquiries, leave Democrats with no other option than to consider impeachment so that we can gather the information needed to achieve justice for all Americans."
Rudy Giuliani’s Statement on Lewis Libby
New York City – Mayor Rudy Giuliani released the following statement on Lewis Libby:
"After evaluating the facts, the President came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct."
REID: BUSH’S COMMUTATION OF LIBBY’S PRISON SENTENCE ENDORSES ADMINISTRATION’S CULTURE OF CORRUPTION
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.”
Dean: Bush Gives Scooter Libby A Get Out of Jail Free Card
Washington, DC – Following the announcement that President Bush commuted the sentence of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a crime since the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement:
“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.”
Pelosi Statement on Bush’s Commutation of Libby
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement on President Bush’s commutation of Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison sentence today:
"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.”
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BLUNT: PRESIDENT BUSH DID
THE RIGHT THING IN LIBBY CASE
WASHINGTON - House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) issued the following statement this afternoon after President Bush commuted the prison sentence for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby:
"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. The sentence was based on charges that had nothing to do with the leak of the identity of a CIA operative."
Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan Statement
WASHINGTON – Statement from RNC Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan regarding press releases from Senators Clinton and Obama this evening:
“Where was the promise of commitment to national security from the Democrats after Sandy Berger destroyed classified national security documents?
“How quickly Senator Clinton has forgotten her own head-in-the-sand stance during her husband's impeachment proceedings for misleading the country.
“Rookie politicians like Senator Obama should also take the time to understand the facts before leveling opportunistic charges for political gain.”
Hillary Clinton on Libby Commutation
Senator Clinton issued the following statement on President Bush’s decision to commute the sentence of Scooter Libby:
“Today's decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. This case arose from the Administration's politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies. Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House's efforts to quell dissent. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.”
EDWARDS STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT BUSH COMMUTING LIBBY’S SENTENCE
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Senator John Edwards released the following statement today about President Bush commuting Scooter Libby’s prison sentence.
"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."
Obama statement on Bush decision to commute Libby's sentence
Barack Obama today released the following statement on President Bush’s decision to commute the sentence of Scooter Libby.
“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.”
Governor Bill Richardson Calls Bush Commutation of Libby Sentence "Breathtaking Arrogance"
Administration clearly thinks it is above the law
For Immediate Release
SANTA FE, NM -- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today issued the following statement regarding President Bush commuting the sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was convicted on federal charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators.
"It's a sad day when the President commutes the sentence of a public official who deliberately and blatantly betrayed the public trust and obstructed an important federal investigation," said Governor Richardson. "This administration clearly believes its officials are above the law, from ignoring FISA laws when eavesdropping on US citizens, to the abuse of classified material, to ignoring the Geneva Conventions and international law with secret prisons and torturing prisoners.
There is a reason we have laws and why we expect our Presidents to obey them. Institutions have a collective wisdom greater than that of any one individual. 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?
Biden Issues Statement on President Bush Commuting Scooter Libby's Sentence
Wilmington, DE (July 2, 2007) - Today Senator Joe Biden issued this statement following President Bush's decision to commute Scooter Libby's prison sentence:
“Last week Vice President Cheney asserted that he was beyond the reach of the law. Today, President Bush demonstrated the lengths he would go to, ensuring that even aides to Dick Cheney are beyond the judgment of the law. 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."