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Bush’s double standard

By
July 4, 2007

At the outset of the CIA-leak investigation, President Bush sternly warned that if any person in his administration “has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.” The person was taken care of, all right, just not the way we were led to believe.

Late Monday afternoon, the White House announced that Bush had commuted the pending prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the influential vice-presidential chief of staff found guilty of four felony counts of lying to the FBI and a grand jury about the outing of a CIA agent’s identity.

That followed the court’s rejection of his plea to remain free pending appeal, meaning Libby was weeks away from prison. Libby had been sentenced to 30 months, fined $250,000 and given two years’ probation. The fine and the probation remain.

Bush, showing a newfound judicial expertise, said he found the sentence “excessive,” a judgment vehemently disputed by the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, who said it was “consistent with the applicable laws.”

So, the compassionate conservative showed compassion to fellow conservative Libby, although he has shown little toward anyone else. In 6-1/2 years as president, Bush has commuted only three other sentences and issued only 113 pardons, the fewest of any president since John Kennedy’s foreshortened term.

The commutation was unique in another way. They are typically granted only after a review and recommendation by the Justice Department. Bush did this on his own. And department policy is not to recommend a commutation without the petitioner serving some of the sentence. The department’s former top pardon lawyer said, “I can’t think of a recent commutation that was granted before at least some prison time was served.”

The Democrats predictably denounced the commutation as typical of the Bush White House’s hypocrisy, lack of accountability and holding itself above the law. However, some of Libby’s stronger partisans were irate that the president didn’t issue a full pardon, which would have erased his conviction and restored his rights and ability to practice law.

But, between the short time left in his presidency and his abysmal standing in the polls, Bush surely thought he had little to lose. And Bush may well pardon Libby before leaving the White House. He has two Christmases to go, and his father, in his last Christmas in the White House, pardoned six Reagan-Bush officials convicted in the Iran-Contra affair.

Despite the shabby brand of politics that brought Libby to this pass, it would be overly vengeful to begrudge this disgraced official his avoidance of prison. One does wonder about all those other white-collar criminals without Libby’s connections who are serving time for nonviolent offenses like perjury and obstruction.

3 Responses to Bush’s double standard

  1. Carl Nemo

    July 4, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Spot-on clifcabbage, but one must “never” lie to Federal prosecutor’s because they’l hang one out to dry! Speak the truth and they’l always work some type of deal that’s accommodating to a defendants aspirations and lifestyle as long as you’ve helped them get much closer to the truth for an honest conviction of the true perps…a fact!

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. JudyB

    July 4, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    “We’re smoking them out. They’re running. And now we’re going to bring them to justice. I also said we’ll use whatever means necessary to achieve that objective — and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” GWB 11/01

    “Mission accomplished!” GWB 5/03
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    FOLLOW THE ROAD TO HOW THIS WORKS IN GWBs DELUSIONAL WORLD FOR ONE HIS HENCHMEN…..

    “Scooter” Libby Jr., was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the CIA leak onvestigation, a politically charged case that casts a harsh light on President Bush’s push to war.
    10/05

    Pres. Bush accepted “Scooter” Libbys resognation and praised him for his outstanding service. 10/05

    Former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was found guilty Tuesday of four of five counts of perjury. 3/07

    “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison. 6/07

    Today, President Bush commuted the sentence of “Scooter” Libby. On commuting Libbys sentence. Bush remarked…” I felt like some of the punishments that the judge determined were adequate should stand, but I felt like the 30-month sentencing was severe. “I felt like some of the punishments that the judge determined were adequate should stand” and, when asked about whether he might pardon Libby before leaving office in January 2009. “I rule nothing in or nothing out,” 7/07

  3. clifcabbage

    July 4, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    THE CIA-LEAK INVESTIGATION WAS SUPPOSED TO FIND OUT WHO LEAKED THE NAME OF VALERIE PLAME. I.LEWIS “SCOOTER” LIBBY WAS NEVER CONVICTED OF LEAKING HER NAME BUT OF HAVING A FAULTY MEMORY. THE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY LEAKED VALERIE PLAME’S NAME WAS RICHARD ARMITAGE WHO WAS NEVER EVEN QUESTIONED ABOUT HIS ROLE IN THE MATTER. THIS WAS NOTHING BUT A WITCH HUNT WITH KARL ROVE AND DICK CHENEY AS IT’S TARGETS.