July 3rd, 2007
Bush Commutes Libby Jail Term info
Justice in Republican America, Libby will not go to Prison.
Link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19570081/?GT1=10150 Will President Bush go any lower in the Polls because of this? I say yes, he will.
Bush spares Libby from 2 1/2-year prison term |
President leaves fine, probation intact for convicted ex-White House aide
WASHINGTON - President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from a 2½-year prison term in the CIA leak investigation Monday, delivering a political thunderbolt in the highly charged criminal case. Bush said the sentence was just too harsh.
Bush’s move came just five hours after a federal appeals panel ruled that Libby could not delay his prison term. That meant Libby was likely to have to report soon, and it put new pressure on the president, who had been sidestepping calls by Libby’s allies to pardon Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.
"I respect the jury’s verdict," Bush said in a statement. "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."
Bush’s decision enraged Democrats and cheered conservatives — though some of the latter wished Bush had granted a full pardon.
"Libby’s conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq war," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush’s decision showed the president "condones criminal conduct."
Unlike a pardon, which would have wiped away Libby’s criminal record, Bush’s commutation voided only the prison term.
The president left intact a $250,000 fine and two years probation for his conviction of lying and obstructing justice in a probe into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity. The former operative, Valerie Plame, contends the White House was trying to discredit her husband, a critic of Bush’s Iraq policy.
Bush said his action still "leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby."
Libby was convicted in March, the highest-ranking White House official ordered to prison since the Iran-Contra affair.
Testimony in the case had revealed the extraordinary steps that Bush and Cheney were willing to take to discredit a critic of the Iraq war.
Reputation 'forever damaged'
Libby’s supporters celebrated the president’s decision.
"President Bush did the right thing today in commuting the prison term for Scooter Libby," said House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.
"That’s fantastic. It’s a great relief," said former Ambassador Richard Carlson, who helped raise millions for Libby’s defense fund. "Scooter Libby did not deserve to go to prison and I’m glad the president had the courage to do this."
Already at record lows in the polls, Bush risked a political backlash with his decision. President Ford tumbled in the polls after his 1974 pardon of Richard M. Nixon, and the decision was a factor in Ford’s loss in his bid for re-election.
White House officials said Bush knew he could take political heat and simply did what he thought was right. They would not say what advice Cheney might have given the president.
On the other hand, Bush’s action could help Republican presidential candidates by letting them off the hook on the question of whether they would pardon Libby.
A message seeking comment from Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s office was not immediately returned.
Bush said Cheney’s former aide was not getting off free.
"The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged," Bush said. "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."
A spokeswoman for Cheney said simply, "The vice president supports the president’s decision."
★INITIAL SUCCESS✫or✫TOTAL FAILURE★