After President Bush commuted Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s sentence, he came under intense criticism for his actions. Senator Obama said:
“This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law.”
He is not alone in his outrage. Nancy Pelosi said, “The president’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct and is a betrayal of trust of the American people.” Senator John Kerry said, “President Bush’s 11th hour commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence makes a mockery of the justice system and betrays the idea that all Americans are expected to be held accountable for their actions, even close friends of Vice President Cheney. It’s a tragedy that with young Americans paying the ultimate price in Iraq for this administration’s mistakes, this White House continues to avoid accountability and reward deceit for their friends and supporters.”
Notably, Senator Rodham Clinton stated,
“Today’s decision is yet another example that this administration simply considers itself above the law…. This case arose from the administration’s politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies.
“Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House’s efforts to quell dissent. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.”
Criticism from Edwards, Obama, Kerry, and Pelosi can be expected, but not from Ms Rodham Clinton. Seven years ago, in the wake of her husband’s controversial pardon of Marc Rich, then-President Clinton defended his actions, in part, based upon Mr. Libby’s support of Mr. Rich. In his letter to the New York Times, he stated:
I decided to grant the pardons in this unusual case for the following legal and foreign policy reasons: … (7) the case for the pardons was reviewed and advocated not only by my former White House counsel Jack Quinn but also by three distinguished Republican attorneys: Leonard Garment, a former Nixon White House official; William Bradford Reynolds, a former high-ranking official in the Reagan Justice Department; and Lewis Libby, now Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff;
Mr. Libby had come to Mr. Rich’s defence, stating that he believed that prosecutors “misconstrued the facts and the law.” Mr. Libby had represented Mr. Rich from 1985 until 2000. Mr. Libby engaged in the following exchange with Rep. Kanjorski (D-Penn.):
“Did you represent a crook who stole money from the United States government, was a fugitive and should never have been given or granted a pardon by the facts that you know?” snapped Kanjorski.
“No, sir,” Libby responded. “There are no facts that I know of that support the criminality of the client based on the tax returns.”
The ultimate irony: Mr. Libby inspected Mr. Rich’s tax returns, advocated for his pardon across party lines (Mrs. Denise Rich is a major fundraiser for the Clintons) under the belief that he did not violate any known law, and was convicted by a lynch mob seven years later. When Mr. Bush went to pardon him, the wife of Mr. Rich’s pardoner criticised the action. Hypocrisy? Par for the course for Hillary.