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July 02, 2007

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Yes. Justice denied. Raw absolute power being exercised ruthlessly.

Time to get Scooter disbarred, stat. Scooter at Hudson, Wolfowitz at AEI, now all we need is Doug Feith at Heritage.

I'm going to go throw up now.

I agree that Scooter can avoid pleading the 5th while his appeals remain alive, but not afterwards. Also, Bush can still pardon Scooter later, on the way out the door, via impeachment or otherwise. The clemency power is not a one-shot deal, one mercy per customer. This is Sat Night Massacre big, IMHO. I think the impeachment machine just got a jump-start, and not just in prog-blog land.

Impeach NOW!!

Libby will lose his right to take the Fifth if he is given immunity by either Fitzgerald or the Congress. It would be hard for even this president to explain an invocation of executive privilege to keep Libby from testifying about his crimes in front of congress, don't you think?

Bush is a coward, and he just proved it.

sad to hear, marcy et a l

Also Marcy, based on your other observations today, could PF resurrect the espionage act charges, there would be no double jeopardy to prevent the prosecution. PF must be having some agonizing decision-making this week.

I just wrote Boxer, Feinstein, and Big Hank, pointing out that it's Impeachment Time. Hank got the long list of reasons, including the non-compliance with subpoenas and the appointment of incompetents.

I may become less p*ssed off in, oh, two or three years. My pitchfork is now be-ribboned and ready to use.

By the way, if Shrub is going to use the 'excessive prison time' argument, shouldn't he at least have waited until Libby had served at least a day, just to make it look nice?

So thirty months is excessive?

Does that mean that 0 days is just right?

I never thought he'd actually do it. Does this mean that Bush gave the leak order? Why else would he taint himself like this?

We are now going to see whether Patrick Fitzgerald is just a very skillful lawyer, or a principled instrument of Justice.

So Bush has made his move.

I'm very curious to see how we, our elected representatives, the CIA, and Patrick Fitzgerald respond.

but retaining Libby's right to invoke the Fifth.

I agree that Scooter can avoid pleading the 5th while his appeals remain alive, but not afterwards

The thing is, he hasn't taken the fifth even when he has a right to. If the investigation were to continue, why would he not tell the exact same story he has already told?

Let's not forget, Bush was the trigger man on the Plame-out - with Cheney playing him on like Iago. This is real Nixon, obstruction of justice territory, and the US v. Nixon criminal investigation exception to executive privilege will apply, and PF can keep things going. Bush had much to gain from the commutation, and we need to get this message out - cui bono from the commutation as least as much Scooter?

Listen to this bullshit from shrub:

"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."

No mention, no sympathy for the actual victims in the case. It's all about poor libby.

Wow. Didn't think he'd actually do it. Your move, Mr Fitzgerald. I have little hope that our Congress will do the right thing.

xyz asks:

...why would he not tell the exact same story he has already told?

If, under oath, he continues to "tell the exact same story" he will be committing new crimes of prosecutable perjury.

Memo to the White House Press Corpse: The "ongoing investigation" and "until the appeals process is completed" dodges are now null and void. Please start asking questions now.

Ishmael

I was wondering just that, whether he held those in reserve for precisely this moment.

I'd do it. But then again, I'm perhaps more zealous than the runaway PatFitz

I just called my congresscritter, and the conversation devolved into a screaming match

and if that putz on the phone thinks I'm pissed off, he's got another thing coming

I don't get mad

I get even

it's time we put the "Bluedog Democrats" on the endangered species list

Our country is a dictatorship being run from a man-sized safe. It has to stop. Waxman, Leahy??? God knows, we can't turn to the Justice Department, which obviously was the plan all along.

Sponson, could you elaborate on your comment, "We are now going to see whether Patrick Fitzgerald is just a very skillful lawyer, or a principled instrument of Justice."? I'm not a lawyer, so I don't get what Fitzgerald's move could be.

geez this is sickening. not shocking, but sickening.

about that excessive 30 month sentence... i'm waiting for Bush is going to commute Gov. Siegelman's sentence. if 30 months is excessive, what's 7 years? so anytime now...

The shrub confesses and declares a general challenge to all those who are responsible for the administration of justice in the United States. It is the clearest test of Congress and the Courts.

I'm surprised that anyone is shocked by this. Given this administration's contempt for the law, why would they give a crap about sentencing guidelines or recommended procedures? Also, for those who were shocked by this, don't hold your breath on impeachment hearings.

With that said, Bush's statement is a joke. The prison sentence is "excessive"? This from a guy who spent minutes reviewing death penalty cases -- and laughed (and then lied about it later) as he signed off on Karla Fay Tucker's death warrant? As *xyz wrote above, I guess Bush thought 1 day in jail would have been excessive. Yup, Paris Hilton was more deserving of punishment than Scooter Freakin' Libby.

I'm happy that I have no family members or friends serving any time in prison. Without even looking ,I see outrageous prison sentences all the time that Bush has seen fit to not act on. I outraged (albeit not surprised) by this commutation, and even moreso by his disingenuous reasons for granting it.

Saw Pat Buchanan give three reasons why Bush commuted the sentence. Fascinatingly, none of the reasons mentioned that Bush wanted to keep Libby from cutting a deal with Fitz.

I hope Fitzgerald has a move he can play, and that he goes on and plays it. But I also recall that at every public statement he has made about this case, he has clearly invited Congress to take the steps it can take. I think he would rather not be the lone lawman in High Noon on this one, but that is just the nasty picture I'm beginning to get.

This is upsetting. The Democrats' response will probably be more upsetting.

Frank Probst,

I think the appeals process will continue. (Scooter's still facing a mark on his record, a fine, and some probabtion.) Therefore, I fully expect Cheney and Bush to not comment further until everything has played itself out. Then Scooter will be pardoned in Jan '09.

Obstruction is it exactly. This bunch really is capable of anything. We had better collectively stand up to these guys before we are looking at the end of democracy as we know it.

So much for the knaves, now for the fools: Andrea Koppel on CNN just played it as a big game--this is more political "red meat" for the Democrats, she said, and the biggest question on her mind is how much "blow back" there will be from Republicans.

Watching CNN - Harry Reid calls commutation "disgraceful", Conyers and Schumer give harsh statements. Will PF need the spur of being called before Congress before he takes action? I think that HJC and SJC should provide all possible cover for PF to do what has to be done. Ken Starr kept expanding Whitewater from real estate to blowjobs - time for Bushco to see what a real runaway prosecutor could do!

Watching CNN - Harry Reid calls commutation "disgraceful", Conyers and Schumer give harsh statements. Will PF need the spur of being called before Congress before he takes action? I think that HJC and SJC should provide all possible cover for PF to do what has to be done. Ken Starr kept expanding Whitewater from real estate to blowjobs - time for Bushco to see what a real runaway prosecutor could do!

I'm stunned! Nothing should surprise me from these punks, but I really didn't believe they'd do it this soon.

Well, BMAZ. Hope your theory is correct. If congress doesn't act quickly and decisively, jeezs I honestly can't process this.

I e-mailed Waxman, Pelosi and Leahy indicting that this commutation(Obstruction of Justice) is a travesty.

Excessive? Excessive? Thirty months for Libby--Karla Fay Tucker and all those sent to their deaths when Bush was governor of Texas--that was NOT excessive?

Commutation Subsequent War Crime

Bush's decision on Libby is arguably a war crime: He's rewarded retalation against witnesses who have provided evidence of Geneva violations.

Bush's actions are not consitent with Geneva, Article 82 which requires legal counsel to fully enforce Geneva, not reward others for thwarting its enforcement:
http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/29245#comment-8912

There was no imminent threat; yet Libby and others misled the Grand Jury in their efforts to find who revealed Plame's name.

the libby case,

and todays decision by pres bush

stands in extraordinary contrast to the outcome of the persecution-thru-prosecution of former alabama gov don seigelman.

in that case, the charges, the prosecution, the judge, and the sentence were the rigged by republicans in the state, the doj, and the whitehouse.

wonder if seigelman will get a pardon soon as a way of shielding the whitehouse from some of the fallout of the libby pardon.

be that as it may,

i cannot imagine that pardoning libby does anything to endear the bush admin to the federal judiciary.

and the bush admin is going to need all the help from this judiciary they can get in the next 18 months.

so, with respect to that federal judiciary, this may prove to be a disastrous decision.

I'm so upset that I feel nauseous. But now that the President has interfered with the ongoing judicial process, every journalist in the country better re-ask all those questions that previously got answered, "We can't comment b/c we don't want to interfere with the investigation, the trial, etc". And I think Leahy should add some stuff to his contempt charge.

They must not have had as much confidence in Libby as everyone thought, either that or Dick really is crazy. Unbelievable. Wonder what the news cycle will be like. I betting on barely a puff in MSM.

No comment from Fitzgerald yet (as per CNN) -
What is his next move?

Ishmael: Nobody has to ask Fitz to do anything. He is already empowered to investigate any obstruction of justice involved in his investigation. This counts. They can fire him if they want, but he doesn't need any authorization to talk to Bush. And here's the fun part: He won't be calling Fred Fielding. He'll be calling Bush's personal lawyer.

What happens to all that money in Libby's defense fund? Can he use it to pay his fine, or for anything besides attorney's fees?

President Exercised Non-Delegated Power of Commutation To Sanction War Crimes

The President only has the power to eliminate a sentence; he has no power to reduce the sentence. This is a judicial power. Only a court can reduce a sentence; the President can only suspend or eliminate all the punishments. The President today exercised judicial power. This is unconstitutional.

The President was not granted any power of "commutation" [reduction of a sentence, as from death to life imprisonment. ] only the power to pardon or reprieve [suspension: an interruption in the intensity or amount of something ].

he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

The President may not "partially" pardon someone; nor can he interrupt "part of" a sentence. It's either all or nothing. the Constitution delegates the President no power to do what he did today.

Impeachment Prohibits Presidential Pardons

This issue of "will he get pardoned" [for violating Geneva, witness retaliation, obstruction, thwarting enforcement of Geneva] would be moot if Congress impeached.

Congress can impeach Libby to trump the President's attempt at a "half pardon". Presidential power may not be asserted to reward Geneva violations; or condone unlawful retaliation against witnesses of war crimes.

Commutation violates this Constitutional requirement, tied to Geneva:

he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

George Bush has reckless disregard for the rule of law.

He also has no idea of the damage he has caused to the quintessential American value, equal protection under the law.

We - those of us who do not work in the White House - have a zero percent chance of having a perjury or obstruction of justice felony conviction commuted by the President of the United States. Only powerful men, specifically men who work in the White House with George Bush, have that privilege. After Libby’s jury, Judge Walton and the appeals court spoke - and they spoke in unison - George Bush, the decider, exercised his commutation powers to relieve his VP’s Chief of Staff from the consequences of having broken the law. YOU have a zero percent chance of having a sentence resulting from legal conviction commuted by George Bush or any other President.

While Mr. Libby was not the only White House employee and government official involved in the CIA leak case investigation - a national security case - his lies and obstruction were critical to protecting the others who were involved in the leak.

Libby’s boss, Dick Cheney, was named five times in the prosecutor’s sentencing memorandum. Mr. Cheney has yet to explain involvement.

Here we have a senior White House official who lied and obstructed an investigation, and who was sentenced to 30 months, and not just 15, because of the significance of his law breaking. Now, as a result of Bush’s commutation of his prison sentence, he will spend no time in jail, not 15 months, not 30 month but zero months. If Libby made a deal: take the conviction and you’ll serve no jail time, then dealmaker broke the law too.

In George Bush’s America, White House employees who break the law are granted exemption from their prison sentence. The powerful, the privileged, can break the law and serve no jail time.

In the eyes of 80% of the American people who oppose a pardon for Libby, commuting Libby's prison sentence is one in the same.

My predictive qualities are imperfect, but there's no way Fitz is going to do anything. What is there for him to do? What Bush did, while totally inappropriate, is totally legal.

I've always thought Fitz was too conservative in his charges. He seemed to be trying hard to not charge anyone, and shied away from Rove and Esponiage charges. Now Libby defenders -- including Bush -- are emphasizing that Libby didn't harm national security. I guess for these folks, Al Capone merely mixed up a few numbers on his tax returns and wasn't a mobster. Anyways, Fitz won't comment, Fitz won't do anything.

I hope I'm proven wrong.

Vote on Bush's decision:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19570520/

Sorry to be OT, but you have got to watch the video from the Putin-Bush presser today. When Bush says that they approach each other "with mutual respect," Putin looks over and up at Bush with a look that is just priceless.

Wonder if the Judge considering whether Valerie Wilson has standing for her Civil Suit will be influenced by these moves? That decision is rather overdue isn't it?

And there are no 5th Amendment rights in a Civil Deposition.

Likewise, there are few such protections in a Cheney Impeachment action. Apparently 11 members of the House have signed on to such resolution -- we need at least 90 more to create the storm that might just move Pelosi to let Conyers move ahead with investigations, where Libby could commit some lovely Contempt of Congress acts that can be taken up by the next administration.

Let's start pushing some of these options.

I've done more time than this for being drunk and disorderly... apparently that's far more serious than being a principal obstructor of justice in a case involving the outing of a CIA spy for political reasons during the run up to a war of choice. God fucking damn.

Fitz won't do a damn thing. The straight arrow could use a few curves.

Unless, of course, he finally indicts Rove and Cheney...

The aspens are turning together, aren't they?

*xyz is right!

Vote in poll against Commutation:

82% Against (6202/1361)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19570520/

desertwind: Patience. Fitz just backed Bush into a major forced error. Bush's statement doesn't help, either. Bush is definitely in the hotseat, and his statement makes it sound like they tampered with the probation office. I don't think Fitz is done, and this is the kind of stunt that's really going to offend his sense of justice.

Traitors, I'm watching MSNBC David Shuster is doing a good job explaining the facts. This is going to backfire on Bush. EW you are right it is obstruction.


But, Frank! I ain't known for my patience...

my little cupcake for this particular
party reads thus: this is not lawful. it
is -- itself -- a prima facie case
of obstruction of justice. the public
documents -- including dick cheney's press
release, of june 5, 2007, FOR WHICH WE PAID,
as taxpayers
, clearly urged this result.

a result that closes the mouth of the perjurer,
and obstructor of justice, to protect -- yep!

one dick cheney. this is criminal. patrick
leahy or henry waxman or john conyers -- or all
of them -- need to convene hearings, and take
testimony from scooter libby -- and issue new
subpoenas to BOTH cheney and bush -- what was "the deal" here?

i mean, c'mon!

not two weeks ago, bush said he would
stay out of it, until mr. libby's appeals
were exhausted. mr. president, his appeals
have not been not exhausted
-- they've barely begun.

what has become clear -- is, like all
convicted criminals of his ilk -- he
was going to go to jail. and, really soon.

what!? WTF! -- the president -- after a public-
urging, on the whitehouse.gov web-server, by the vice-
president, dick cheney -- has stepped into the
middle of a pending criminal case, and prevented
i. lewis "scooter" libby from receiving the natural,
predictable, criminal, consequences of perjury, and
obstruction of justice -- this, from the man, who is
now protecting the man, who is protecting the
vice-president! that, in and of itself, may well
make out a prima facie case of. . .
yep! you guessed it! -- obstruction of justice.

no justice? -- no peace.

Foremost, I see the commutation as TX politics and only the president's own rendition of that atmosphere, and Bush's instinct to protect his crew. Then again, remembering the more hybrid presidency of this president's New England bred, TX snowbird parent, and Bush Sr's presidency's Fourthbranch Quayle Council, likely the prime mover Commuter was Cheney; Libby executed the plan at minor personal cost. Our local paper today is reporting a closeup cameo of Bush's intellectual work currently as pondering what possibly could be changed to make the Iraq war more moral. What worries me almost as much as that oversimplifiedNewSpeak theme is the training the Secretary of State had in cold war politics as her soft spot into which Cheney could push her as a fallback way to bind her energies nudging US policy toward re-seeking standoff with Russia as a frame Rice can relate to better than the new mix of tensions. I hope the New England father has an opportunity to infuse the Kennebunkport summit proceedings with some increment of dignity; the conflicts and tensions in the middle east and other parts of the world near the boundaries of former CCCP states elicit many reactions from the Kreml.

As for the Libby phase, Fitzgerald sought only conservative charges that seemed iron clad, and proved to be so for both jury and judge, even the sentencing appeals panel. But there is a wider interface, as the MTP comments Leahy made yesterday adumbrate.

I think it really is obstruction of justice.

Here's the relevant law
TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 73 > § 1512

§ 1512. Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant.

Section C

Whoever corruptly—
(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Will Fitz investigate?

Commutation is a power for governors, not the President. A review of caselaw finds nothing supporting this action.

However, the "clinton did it too"-argument is falsely mentioning an illusory "commutation"-power which does not exist in the Constituion; and does not related to the President, only governors. This is misleading, Clinton pardoned people and did not commute sentences:

The Clinton Administration ended in January of 2001 with quite a bang. President Clinton chose to depart office after "granting 177 presidential pardons and commutations of sentences on his last night in office."

From: [ 90 Iowa L. Rev. 601 The Unitary Executive in the Modern Era, 1945-2004; Authors: Christopher S. Yoo et al]

Small problem: "Commutation" isn't a power of the President, but a governor. The only way the President can "commute" something is if he issues a pardon. Bush didn't do this.

This is illegal. "Commutation" is an illusory power, a connected with a discredited "Unitary" theory of Presidential power. Commutations are not mentioned in any Federal Courts, only State Courts. This is power of a Governor, not President.

Questions From Congressional Committees to POTUS

Conyers and Leahy need to send a joint letter:

  • "What Federal precedent, not connected with any State or Governorship, is the President relying on to "commute" this sentence?" There is none.

  • "Why was a pardon not issued?" This information needs to be disclosed. Deliberations to exericse non-delegated powers are related to illegal activity, and not protected by any privilege.

  • "How can this 'commutation" find any grounds in the Constituion that only delegates two options: Reprieves or pardons to the President?" There is no legal foundation in this Constitution. Perhaps the President may wish to point to a State Constitution he is relying on.

  • Frank - agreed that Fitzgerald is empowered to investigate w/o Congressional involvement, it falls squarely within his powers in this matter. But he should be given political cover against the runaway prosecutor meme - I think even some Rethugs will go along.

    OMF****** God, CNN has switched over to TERRA coverage in London and the Doctors without Borders Terror Cell. ARGGHHHHHHH!

    Frank Probst at 19:22

    I hope you're right.

    From both a legal and political standpoint, Bush may yet reap the whirlwind for his actions.

    30 months for treason is excessive? Patrick Fitzgerald, HELP.

    Nancy!

    DO IT!

    For God's sake pull the straps off of the fucking impeachment proceedings and bring these cocksucking pieces of shit to justice.

    Imagine the glory of Madame President standing astride the gallows on the Capital Mall with millions of Americans singing America the beautiful as you give the order to drop the door under Cheney and Bush.

    We live for the day, when these criminals shout their last Sieg Heils before falling to their deaths and hear you shout from sea to sea, "Death! Death to the traitors and fascists! Long live the Republic!"

    Avenge us!


    .


    For clemency precedents, see:
    http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/pardons5a.htm

    I'm curious about the timing. Tomorrow is the equivalent of a Friday before a 5 day weekend when everybody wants to be outdoors. Why couldn't they announce this then? Did someone on the inside finally crack out of embarassment and leak early? Or was Libby about to roll on them?

    Is it realistic that Libby could still proceed with an appeal, given Bush's statement?

    canuck: I don't see why not.

    gordbrown: I think Libby was about to roll if they didn't take care of him.

    Fitzgerald will not want to lose - he is being painted as a loser on CNN tonight - he must have one move left?

    At Paris Hilton was given four days. Member the LA sheriff or whatever who said that Hilton's time served was up to him.

    Now we know the comapny Georgie keeps.

    Well this is a really exciting day!

    Bang, bang, and there it is!

    I was in a meeting and missed it, but when I got out, a man much my senior in age, but about the same level in another group, who does take these things personally just like those on this blog, though on the conservative Republican side, grinned, gave me the high sign, and said

    "George W. ain't afraid of no stinking liberals!

    Wow. Just unbefugginlievable. Well, not really, unfortunately. I just think, these are insane times in which we live.

    Knowing it was coming in no way lessens the sting.

    MARCY ON HARDBALL RIGHT NOW!!!!!

    Great job EW on Hardball with David Shuster!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Shit, my cable's out. Will this be on Crooks-n-Liars hopefully?

    "When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Abraham Lincoln

    emptywheel answering questions via phone on Hardball from David Shuster!

    emptywheel, no surprise, you were MAGNIFICENT in your "RIFLED" answers to Shuster's questions. I hope it's the first of many more appearances

    Contempt for the rule of law.
    Contempt for decency.
    Contempt for each and every American not among the privileged few.

    Shame, shame, shame on this administration, its apologists and its enablers.

    We and Congress need to be hammering this every day and in every way. The criminals ultimately will not get away with trashing this country. Impeachment must be back on the table, as well as criminal prosecutions not encumbered by a January, 2009 cutoff date.

    So Judy Miller spent 3 months more in jail than Scoots. Go figure!

    I share everyone's outrage on this thread, but do not expect Patrick Fitzgerald to do anything, or even think he's "lost" anything--and that is not a criticism of Fitzgerald at all.

    Fitz respects the system--that in fact has been his strength through all of this--and therefore he will accept, and respect, the right of the President to commute the sentence. Fitz did not lose--he got his conviction of guilt, and that conviction stands.

    And as to speculating that Bush has further obstructed justice--though that in fact has a strong level of truth in it b/c his acts continues the cover-up of Cheney's involvement--from a strict legal standpoint, such a charge against Bush is simply not going to happen, certainly not at the behest of Fitz.

    Well, since Scoots is not going to serve jail time, and will likely be pardoned in '09, why not just grant him blanket immunity and put his ass on chair in front of a joint congressional committee, where he will be questioned by a real lawyer (not reps, ugh).

    Or better yet, impeach his ass, so Bush can't pardon him.

    Well,at least Jodi's just gone smug and quit pretending to be anything but a troll.

    John Dean on Olbermann stating that Fitzgerald or Congress can immunize Libby and get his accurate and complete testimony.

    Does anybody expect Scooter to provide accurate and complete testimony?? Any more than Kyle Sampson did??

    I have not thought since the Libby trial that Fitz was goign to do anything more. Regardless of his suspicions about Cheney, i think he thinks that is for the political arm of gov't (Congress) to deal with.

    The Judic Committee should call both Fitz and Libby as witnesses. Fitz can be asked to explain the last few filings that pointed to Cheney's guilt.

    But I doubt Congress will impeach even Gonzales unless their contributions start to dry up. They think that their future lies in passing legislation, even if Bush vetoes it or the Senate GOP obstructs it. I think they think of impeachment as a circus.

    Maybe war with Iran will change the calculus, but only if the public REALLY objects to a new war sucking the lifeblood out of the country.

    not that he would give it.

    This is the time for Congress to use the power of inherent contmpt. Call Libby in and grill him about Cheney and throw him in jail if he refuses to cooperate.

    Next bumper sticker:

    Paris Hilton did more jail time than Scooter Libby!

    So much for law and order Republicans. Another conservative core principle shot down by Bush/Cheney.

    Pat Fitzgerarld: "sentence not excessive" and it sounds as though Fitz will appeal.

    Dang, Keith is on fire tonight. More Marcy please!

    Boo,

    Pat Fitzgerarld: "sentence not excessive" and it sounds as though Fitz will appeal.

    IANAL, but I understood Fitz's statement about continuing to enforce the Libby conviction "through the appeals process" to mean that the Libby appeal was still going on, and that as prosecutor, he would be fighting to uphold the convictions, even though Bush may have commuted the sentence for those convictions.

    We knew Bush was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and we have known it for years. This just proves it to a wider group of people.

    Actually, if I were Scooter Libby, I would be a little nervous about Bush 'commuting' my sentence the way he did. If it is true that the president has no powers of commutation (based on Anon @ 1908), and that he just took it upon himself to do that, I would spend a lot of time looking over my shoulder.

    I do hope that Patrick Fitzgerald has a rabbit he can pull out of his hat. I don't have much faith in our elected officials to do what needs to be done. I really need to feel like we still have straight arrows who can bring down the chief wrong-doers. Maybe the whole country needs to feel that.

    We theoretically have a constitution that prescribes how things must work, and a lot of people have fought and died to defend it. Now we have this chickensh*t little man who struts around on aircraft carriers to show how tough he is, and signs commutation letters for convicted friends to show how loyal he is -- and there is not a single elected person in our country who is brave enough to take him on and beat him.

    It is a sad day for America...

    Ok. A lot to take in.

    For those who think that Mr Libby won't or can't take the Fifth under questioning, I see this.

    ~I honestly have began to question my memory about those events. People say I did things that I thought I hadn't done, and a Judge and Jury thought I was wrong with what I said happened.

    So all I can say at this time is that my memories don't seem to conincide with the realities, and therefore I can only say at this time, that I don't know or don't remember.

    Perhaps I had a breakdown under stress, and didn't even realize it.~

    Fitz did not lose--he got his conviction of guilt, and that conviction stands.
    Posted by: Robin | July 02, 2007 at 20:11

    Fitz has not been able to get a clear view of the facts in the CIA leak investigation BECAUSE of Libby's obstruction. As such, Fitz has been blocked from convicting responsible parties for an IIPA violation, or alternatively refer the case of Bush's or Cheney's unlitaral and impeachable declassification of Plames NOC identity to Congress.

    The influence of the 30 month prison sentence could have motivated Libby to speak the truth. It worked for Judy Miller. Bush has removed that incentive in contravention of our country's long standing principle, equal protect under the law.

    Fitz's public statment recognizes the President's power to pardon and Fitz's responsibility as special counsel to uphold the conviction through the appeals process.

    I don't think Fitz has anything up his sleave. He can only wait for Cheney or Libby to make a mistake.

    Fitz statement took issue with Bush's statement. Bush claimed Libby's sentence was excessive. Fitz said the sentence was not excessive, it was appropriate according to the law, and that would be the same sentence under the same laws applied to anyone standing before the court.

    I don't think Fitz has any mechanism to contest Bush's commutation of Libby's incarceration. Fitz's statement is for the record and it challenged Bush's assertion that the sentence was excessive. Fitz reommended 30-37 and justified it under the law.

    Fitz's statement is also clever in recognizing that any person standing in front of the court with the same fact pattern would receive the 30-37 month sentence. IN other words, when it comes to the law, White House folks shouldn't get speacial treatment... unless the President is exercising his clemency authority, under the law.

    The feeling I have at this moment was that Bush's veto on this was long expected. Although it is repugnant what is the response? Now is the time for Congress to step up to the plate. They must have also expected this outcome.

    What will be the US Congress's response on how to safeguard justice and the rule of law? The important question now is - were the dems ready for this "Hail Mary" pass to protect the current administration.

    If no investigations are initiated by the US Congress on this political miscalculation, the Democrats can then be sure the 2008 elections will not be a given in their favor. Now too many Americans of all political flavors are waiting to see what the Democratic blowback will be and how diligently it is pursued.

    Today the American judicial process was slapped up the side of it's balding eagle head with a five pound pipe wrench. Does anyone in power protecting American's legal system still care?

    By what authority do Bush and Cheney claim to hold office? Conduct preemptive war? Intervene in ongoing criminal investigations? Violate the law? Gut the Constitution and Bill of Rights? My suggestion: file writs of quo warranto against Bush and Cheney, and let their lawyers explain it to a judge. Probably no court would hear it; but a judgment against them would render everything they've done null, and remove them from office.

    A friend of mine hads a cleaning lady (every two weeks) whose son got two years for picking up and holding a gun used in a drive-by shooting.
    One of my brother's high school classmates got two years for refusing induction (after 1969).
    Those are excessive sentences.

    Can we change our official national flag to the Black Flag of Piracy, if we're not going to be a nation of laws any more?

    (BTW, called Waxman's office and told the nice guy on the phone that we need to impeach these #$%^&*s. I was polite in spite of being mad as h*ll.)

    I wish to say that EW's influence has extended to my husband coming to tell me that Libby's sentence had been commuted when he saw it on the news. My husband then happily agreed that the new sentence was a "guilt-offering". I may not RC or know what the law is, but I think if someone was a witness and refused to testify, that person brought a guilt-offering. I also thought that it was appropriate to feel sorry for Libby's family.
    (Here's what I am thinking of: Leviticus 5:1-6, and it is a variable offering: it depends on means. Artscroll: "If a person will sin: if he accepted a demand for an oath, and he is a witness--either he saw or he knew--and he does not testify, he shall bear his iniquity...or if a person will swear, expressing with his lips to do harm or to do good, anything that a person will express in an oath, but it was concealed from him, and then he knew---...When one becomes guilty regarding one of these matters, he shall confess what he had sinned. [He shall bring the variable offering.]" Of course, no one has given any of these offerings for two thousand years, but this being George Bush he may have had the same thing in mind.)

    jw: The White House waited until the appeals court rejected Libby's request for appeals bond to commute his sentence. My guess is that Libby was ready to roll over on them, and they couldn't afford to wait any longer once the appeals bond issue was resolved.

    I think it is worth taking a look at what your president has told you:

    “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.”

    The appeals process has not been exhausted. Mr. Libby has not told the whole truth; he has failed to lift the cloud over the White House. Despite this your president has reversed himself. In the absence of a credible explanation for reversing himself reasonable people must conclude that he is fearful of what might have been revealed if his former senior official had gone to prison.

    Your president asserts that: “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.”

    There can be no doubt about Mr. Libby’s behaviour; he has not co-operated fully. He has not been dutiful and he should suffer the consequences, like any other citizen found guilty of a crime by a jury of his peers. Anyone who encourages or assists him to evade his duty to cooperate with the prosecuting authorities quite reasonably attracts suspicion.

    Your president acknowledges that: “Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.” And Mr. Fitzgerald, who is a highly qualified and professional prosecutor, has pointed out that the jury in the Libby case discharged its responsibilities fully. Indeed, Mr. Fitzgerald has also pointed out that the judge in the Libby case considered extensive argument from all the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws of the United States.

    A president who swears to uphold the laws of the United States is under a duty to do all he can to ensure that: all citizens come before the bar of justice as equals. Your president’s actions make it clear that he does not regard himself as having any such duty. How can such a man be fit to be your president?

    Your president declares that: “Mr. Libby…was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.” He does not justify this assertion and it is a claim that flies in the face of his insistence that he respects the verdict of the jury. Unlike the jury and the judge he was not in court to hear the case against Mr. Libby.

    If your president respected the jury’s verdict but not the judge’s sentence he could have made it clear to Mr. Libby that no pardon would ever be forthcoming. There can be little doubt that your president has no more respect for the jury’s verdict than he does for any other part of the trial of Mr. Libby.

    A president who will overrule a court to save a former member of his staff from going to prison and keep another in high office, responsible for the administration of justice, despite his unfitness for office, is not a fit person to remain in the office of president.

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