Jul 02 2007

Bush Commutes Libby Sentence

Published by at 4:59 pm under All General Discussions,Plame Game

Apparently from all the hits my site is getting and an alert at DrudgeReport it seems President Bush has commuted Scooter Libby’s jail sentence in the lame Plame Game.

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.

This is what I backed as the proper solution a while ago. Libby was tried by an abusive prosecutor out for fame and name who knew Libby had nothing to do with the exposure of Valerie Plame’s identity to the media, but all the same caught Libby in misrecollections of events.

One misrecollection, with Tim Russert, was where Libby recalled DISCUSSING Plame with Russert, but Russert and Fitzgerald claimed this NON-EXPOSURE of Plame’s identity was perjury in covering up for other times Libby also did not expose Plame’s identity. Only in the warped world of DC can someone be tried for perjury for wrongfully admitting to have had the conversation which would be a crime and the prosecutor claiming no such discussion happened.

And for these non-events Fitzgerald convinced a judge, in dire need of a lesson in the law, to sentence Libby to the crime he was not convicted of! Bush is right to let this whacked out judgement stand (because it is a product of our courts, just like the OJ verdict) and simply apply some justice to the sentence. Good decision on the President’s part. At least he did not do what Clinton did which was pardon drug dealers and tax evaders.

And thus ends another chapter in the lame Plame game. Next up, the Wilson’s go to civil court where all their efforts to plant a political story in the DC press to help Kerry’s Presidential aspirations come out.

Update: Bush’s statement on the commutation:

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.

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.

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 far right might howl in rage because Bush will not do “a Clinton” and just wipe the slate clean, but Bush has proven to be above partisanship and an American first. Good decision and a well expressed rationale for the decision.

Update: I said the far right would not be satisfied and they are beginning to moan. They far right has showed its impatient, bow-to-us-alone, side so much they do not feel the need to hide their arrogance any longer. Don’t forget, this Plame mess was all Bush’s fault!

27 responses so far

27 Responses to “Bush Commutes Libby Sentence”

  1. satrist says:

    Thank you, President Bush.

  2. WWS says:

    Watch for all the howling about this tonite and tomorrow! But as was demonstrated by the Marc Rich affair, the President’s power to pardon and commute is absolute, and no one can do a thing about it.

    Ironically, the death of the immigration bill probably made this move much easier. There’s no working relationship left with Congress – Leahy’s already declared a separation of powers fight so there’s really nothing left to lose.

    Reminds me of an old work pal, we’d all go out after a late night and sometimes stay out way too late. He had a wife who was easily upset (he deserved it, of course) and about 1 or 2 we’d start asking him “hey, shouldn’t you be getting home? your wife’s gonna pitch a fit!” And he’d just say “oh hell, she’s already pitchin’ it right now. They can only get so mad, and after that it’s all the same, so I might as well enjoy myself!”

    He had a good point.

  3. reader2007 says:

    From Powerline:

    “I also think the President’s commutation of Libby’s sentence will go over well with the party’s conservative base and will contribute, to some degree, to a restoration of Bush’s standing with conservatives.

    Posted by John at 05:00 PM”

    From Captainsquartersblog:

    “The politics of this moment seem rather delicious. The President just enraged his base by attempting to push a deeply unpopular immigration bill through the Senate. He could regain a lot of that ground with a commutation of Libby’s sentence, or an outright pardon. Will he take advantage of the opportunity?

    Posted by Ed Morrissey”

    Somehow, I don’t think Bush’s motive was to satisfy the base….

    It is this type of thinking by the radical right that makes them hissyfit when Bush’s decision doesn’t go their way.

    I am truly proud of the day that I voted for President Bush, an American first and foremost.

  4. satrist says:

    I agree 100 percent, Reader.

  5. biglsusportsfan says:

    I suspect he might get a full pardon at the end of his Bus;s term.

  6. biglsusportsfan says:

    I suspect he might get a full pardon at the end of his Bus;s term.

  7. Cobalt Shiva says:

    I love this (expletive deleted)!

    Give ’em Hell, W!

  8. WWS says:

    I doubt that there will be any full pardon; that would be far too disrespectful of the judicial process. Remember that the probation office recommended a much lighter sentence, but this judge decided on his own to make a political point and go for the max. The pardon and commutation powers exist in order to provide some way to correct judges who ignore procedure and guidance themselves, which happened here. This commutation does not comment on the jury’s verdict at all, which is appropriate – a jury’s verdict should be respected. This commutation only reflects on the Judge’s handling of the case, not the jury’s decision.

    Interesting side issue – I don’t know if the appeals still go forward, or if this moots it. I suspect the appeals process can still proceed, but I’m not sure.

  9. AJStrata says:


    Appeal goes forward. And I agree, there will be no pardon which is why ‘the base’ will rage.

  10. Jacqui says:

    AJ – From what I have been reading and hearing the base is fine the President’s decision regarding Libby.

    Also, I don’t understand why you want to have the base angry with Bush on everything just because they disagreed with him on immigration. Adults can disagree on some issues and agree on others.

  11. Boghie says:


    Everyone wants to find a Clintonesque Polical Reason for ‘W’s actions. Especially those that damage him politically.

    After dealing with him for 6 1/2 years I think I’ve got him pinned.

    He tries to do the right thing.
    He understands that timing is important.
    He makes decisions with the information available.
    He lives with those decisions, made in a timely manner, with partial information.

    His Presidency is not a small one. It is not insignificant. He is not insignificant. Why should we elect Presidents to do the small and insignificant things. He acted in the GWOT when he got his turn – when others kicked the can forward (including his Pops). He made a viable case for Social Security Reform – he lost, but I think his discussion will win in the end. He put a hugely controversial topic – immigration – front and center. We can no longer hide from a war we had chosen not to fight for 25 years, from the impending failure of our ‘benefits’ package which we had band-aided for two decades, and from issues surrounding the mass immigration of unassimilated individuals into our nation which we used and abused for decades.

    He is a good man I do not always agree with.

    I know where he is coming from…

  12. Bikerken says:

    I think George made just the right move here. Scooter can still win his appeal to clear the conviction and I think he probably will if it goes to the Supremes. Right move, right time.

    Oh and by the way, SOOT, where are ya boy? Come out and amuse us with your deep snarling insight!

  13. lurker9876 says:

    Bush’s decision allows Libby to pursue his appeals process without spending time in prison. Sounds like Bush stepped in mainly because of Walton’s illogical decision on the 30-month sentence and no bail.

    I think Libby will continue to pursue the appeals process.

    This also alleviates Bush from having to pardon Libby until the last minute, especially if a Democrat wins the WH in 08.

  14. smh10 says:


    Well said and may I second all your points.

  15. owl says:

    Very good description of Bush, Boghie. A man with a steel spine trying to do the right thing. Not hiding under his desk from the Big Untouchables while the chicken-little Congress Critters sway in the wind. After all, they had full time jobs = Adminstration supervisors.

    President Bush is a giant among midgets.

  16. The Macker says:

    Agree mightily!

    And Bush has an especially tough job, with a congress devoid of character, ideas and courage.

  17. Libby – Reactions From The Authoritarian Right…

    The authoritarian right is starting to weigh in. (Note – Read the comments at these blogs at your own risk.) The Strata-Sphere Libby was tried by an abusive prosecutor out for fame and name who knew Libby had nothing to……

  18. reader2007 says:

    If you want to see something curious, look at this link:


    Michelle Malkin is so hissyfitting about “shamenesty” that she has absolutely nothing to say about Bush commuting Libby’s sentence on her website. Perhaps she says something at Hotair, but still….

    Now this is pathetic. HA HA HA.

  19. reader2007 says:

    From Hotair:


    “Update (AP): Rush appealed for a pardon this afternoon. No doubt this will be played by advocates of the Fairness Doctrine as Bush having done talk radio’s bidding.

    Update (AP): Here’s Bush’s full statement. “Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.”

    end quote.

    Out of all the possibilities, Hotair chooses this particular quote from Bush’s official statement.

    How pathetic is this. She is definitely way over the edge on this. She has reached Michael Savage irrelevance. Pathetic. All the hissyfitting cause of “shamenesty”.


  20. Terrye says:

    So, why should Bush care what the likes of Malkin think? The woman is turning into a shrill hysterical caricature.

    No, Bush did this because he thought it was the right thing to do. I hope Libby wins on appeal.