And The President Said, "Be Free"
Bush Commutes Sentence For "The Most Insidious Of Traitors"
Cannot understand why so many Americans are so cynical about Bush Co. and Washington and the laws that govern their nation.
If you're the president and you cannot keep one of your operatives out of jail, then what's the point of being president?
Sure 'Scooter' Libby was an odious fucking traitor, and yes he was sentenced to 30 months jail, but he was once a key member of Dick Cheney's staff, goddammit, and he took a fall to protect the office of the Vice President and the White House. The FBI and a grand jury wanted to get to the truth, and Libby's lies stopped that from happening.
Surely you didn't really think he was going to spend two and a half years in jail for doing what the White House needed him to do?
And yes, it is true, that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans in jail for smoking joints when they had previously been busted a few times before for smoking joints, but this has nothing to do with ordinary people.
Bush Co. looks after its own. And when one of their own takes a fall for Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, well, then they really get looked after.
A short recap :
'Scooter' Libby obstructed justice. Libby lied to both the FBI and a grand jury to hide the truth, and to protect his bosses. He was sentenced to 30 months jail for his crimes. President Bush has now commuted the sentence, and will surely grant Libby a full pardon in the last weeks of his presidency.
Mr. Libby was convicted of lying to federal agents investigating the leak of the name of a covert C.I.A. operative, Valerie Wilson. Mrs. Wilson's husband, Joseph Wilson, was asked to investigate a central claim in Mr. Bush's drive to war with Iraq whether Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Africa. Mr. Wilson concluded that Iraq had not done that and had the temerity to share those conclusions with the American public.
It seems clear from the record that Vice President Dick Cheney organized a campaign to discredit Mr. Wilson. And Mr. Libby, who was Mr. Cheney's chief of staff, was willing to lie to protect his boss.
A statement from Bush :
Be in no doubt about what has happened here. President Bush decided that the sentence was too harsh, and so he got rid of it.
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…
It's almost cliched to say it, but it remains true : there is one rule of law for them, and another rule of law for you. You go to jail for breaking the law, they don't.
Here's what Bush father, George HW Bush thinks of traitors to the nation like Libby :
“I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.”To help cope with all the expressions of support from the American people for the Bush decision to override justice, the White House turned off their phone lines.
A statement from the office of the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald :
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.More from Crooks And Liars here and here.
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.
A good summary of the events, and Bush's full statement, from Raw Story.
An extremely thorough round-up of comments from American senators from Think Progress.
The New York Times knows exactly what Bush's intervention was for - to stop Libby spilling his guts once he was in jail :
This will be an extremely unpopular decision with the American people. Various polls have shown that 70-80% of Americans believe Libby should serve his full sentence, and not be pardoned.
Mr. Bush's assertion that he respected the verdict but considered the sentence excessive only underscored the way this president is tough on crime when it's committed by common folk. As governor of Texas, he was infamous for joking about the impending execution of Karla Faye Tucker, a killer who became a born-again Christian on death row. As president, he has repeatedly put himself and his team, especially Mr. Cheney, above the law.
Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.
But what the fuck do they know? They're just the American people.
This is Bush Co. And don't you ever forget it.
Raw Story : Scooter Libby Gets Out Of Jail Free - The Full Statement From Bush
Hilary Clinton : "Cronyism And Ideology Trump Competence And Justice"
More Reactions From American Senators And Presidential Candidates
Americans 3 To 1 Against A Libby Pardon