"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." - George W. Bush
There he goes again, putting himself and his cronies above the law. So he really doesn't respect the jury's verdict or the law. What do you want to bet a complete pardon is just around the corner? After all, one can't have Libby spilling the beans about what Cheney and Rove really got up to vis a vis leaking Valerie Plame's name to the press.
Bush's move came hours after a federal appeals panel ruled Libby could not delay his prison term in the CIA leak case. Libby was convicted in March of lying to authorities and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of covert CIA operative Valeire Plame's identity. As former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, he was the highest-ranking White House official ordered to prison since the Iran-Contra affair.
From my poem on May 17, "Hard to see the funny side:"
"Why is Scooter Libby going to jail
when Cheney and Rove created the trail
in a deliberate rush to fell
a CIA agent whose husband wouldn't tell
their lies to hasten war?
"How do people in power
get away with misdeeds?
Whatever happened to honourable creeds?
Where lies the truth in attempts to deceive?
Is there a single word said we can really believe?"
From my poem March 22, "Fired up!:"
"...The emperor has no clothes
but his court jesters weave and bob
painting the scenes just so
no one can see behind the facade
focus that harsh light anywhere
but firmly on the truth."
Some reactions to Bush commuting Libby's sentence (from Editor & Publisher):
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois said the move “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.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mi.) released a statement saying that "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."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stated that "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."
Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor in the CIA leak case, released a brief statement: "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."
Charles Schumer, a Democratic senator, echoed this: "As Independence Day nears, we're reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under the law. This commutation completely tramples on that principle."