Commutation Now, Pardon Later

Oica6rnipcca52gnpgcaay9fyjca2dxts9c ""I hope it puts pressure on the president. He’s a man of pronounced loyalties and he should have loyalty to Scooter Libby," said former Ambassador Richard Carlson, a member of Libby’s defense fund. "It would be a travesty for him to go off to prison. The president will take some heat for it. So what? He takes heat for everything.""  Yahoo


This gets President Bush off the hook for now.  He will pardon Libby, nullifying the felony and fine just before he leaves office.  The pressure must have been severe.  pl

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42 Responses to Commutation Now, Pardon Later

  1. Matthew says:

    Col: It’s not like Libby lied about sex. Now that is serious…..

  2. lina says:

    A jailed Scooter might make friends with the prosecutor who has never officially closed this case. Libby knows too much about the crimes of this White House to ever spend a minute behind bars.

  3. steve says:

    Rather artfully done from Bush’s standpoint.
    The president splits the baby with a commutation, and avoids the political heat with a pardon in January, 2009.

  4. avedis says:

    “The pressure must have been severe. pl”
    Ah…but from whom exactly. The answer to that question would potentially be revealing concerning larger and more important issues.

  5. Arun says:

    If you are in HUMINT, don’t let your spouse annoy the President.

  6. J says:

    here’s bush’s proclamation of his commutation of libby’s sentence.

  7. JfM says:

    When there is no shame, much more is possible.

  8. Leila A. says:

    Guess they’re worried Libby might squeal on the higher ups. The Family takes care of its own; rewards loyalty and all that.
    I don’t know why anybody thinks these guys are any better than a pack of gangsters. They have all the honor of thieves. And they can command whole armies, with thousands of lives snuffed out at their whim. Gangsters look good compared to this crowd in the White House.
    If it’s a comedy it’s the blackest darkest tragicomedy ever made. Rent Juliette Tamor’s Titus Andronicus. That’s the kind of comedy it is. Bah.

  9. zanzibar says:

    Commutation still allows Libby to invoke the 5th – keeps Libby silent and prevents any accountability or justice. If ever there was a case of obstruction of justice at the highest levels here is one.
    An example to all the co-conspirators – keep silent and/or lie – you will be taken care of. Justice is for the little people. Cheney must be enjoying that cigar.

  10. Cold War Zoomie says:

    So, Colonel.
    Do I win the prediction bet?
    He technically hasn’t been pardoned. I didn’t see this option, though.

  11. jang says:

    Sounds like Bush has become “My Pet Goat” in 6 short years.

  12. mlaw230 says:

    Artful it is. The commutation leaves Libby’s appeals in place, and his 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Had he been pardoned outright, as he surely will be sometime in December 2008, he could be called to testify before Congress or in civil matters, and have to answer.
    The question that remains is whether this constitutes obstruction of justice.

  13. TR Stone says:

    God told George personally to pardon Scooter!

  14. Montag says:

    Reminds me of the tale of the “Sin Eater.” In Medieval times the rich would pay a poor man to eat food from around a newly dead corpse, thus eating the dead man’s sins, so that the dearly departed could go to Heaven, no matter how wicked he’d been in life. The trouble was that the Sin Eater would accumulate the sins of his customers, so that his son would have to perform the same service for him when he died, or he’d be doomed to eternal damnation many times over.
    Now Bush has eaten Scooter’s sins and must hope that the incoming President will be his Sin Eater in turn, by pardoning him. It sure would be a pity if the system broke down somewhere along the line now, wouldn’t it?

  15. robt willmann says:

    The commutation of part or all of a person’s sentence in a federal criminal case nullifies the execution of that part of the sentence specified in the commutation, and the finding of guilt remains intact, as has been noted in news reports today.
    Something else this disgusting move by Bush jr and the White House does is to allow Irving Lewis Libby, Jr. to assert his 5th Amendment right to remain silent as long as his appeal has not been decided. With the appeal of his conviction going
    forward, the judgment signed by the Court is not legally “final”. Thus, if Libby is called before Congress or elsewhere to talk about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson’s line of work and the
    destruction of any intelligence gathering networks she may have been involved in, he can still refuse to answer. Had he been pardoned, which would have
    wiped out the finding of guilt, he could not “take the 5th”. Since the appeal will take a while, his testimony cannot be compelled during that time. If the court of appeals reverses his conviction and sends the case back for a new trial, his right to remain silent continues, because the case would be back to square one.
    I agree that there is a pretty high probability that Bush jr will pardon Libby before leaving office. However, to do so, he will have to contradict his “statement” of today (written for him by somebody) in which he says, “I respect the jury’s verdict”. If he issues a pardon, he will “disrespect” the jury’s verdict.
    It has never been shown, to my knowledge, that Bush jr had no role in disclosing Valerie Plame Wilson’s occupation. Thus, this could be a situation in which there was no pressure on the president to help Libby. He planned to all along because he was right in the middle of the vicious deed.
    And the Richard Carlson of Libby’s defense fund mentioned in that article is the father of Tucker Carlson, who has a television show (MSNBC) named after him and who has been attacking the prosecution of the liar Libby.

  16. Michael says:

    I’d love to say this decision caught me off guard, but with this administration in power I’m sad to say nothing they do, nor will do suprises me. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, lying, corruption.. its sickening. I just hope the people of the United States look up from their TV’s long enough to care about what’s happening to their country.. and make some major changes soon..

  17. Comment says:

    Scooter’s future pardon is contingent on Team Scooter’s behaving well and not dumping on Bush – or tattling.
    Gee Dubs is instinctually excellent at this game – He tries to keep people in the tent pissing out, rather than outside the tent pissing in.
    Poppy was not as clever at this type of politics.

  18. Pony says:

    We’re still a nation of laws, right?

  19. Ben says:

    What’s next? How would Mr. Bush thinks of his legacy? He purged the ghost of his father being one term presidetn, yet he put himself in a position of bleeding America dry.

  20. ked says:

    With E Howard Hunt now dead, who’s going to deliver the $250k?

  21. robt willmann says:

    ked asks a good and funny one–
    “With E. Howard Hunt now dead, who’s going to deliver the $250k?”
    Answer: Probably Marc Rich, former (or current) client of Lewis Libby, and former (or current) Mossad agent, and former (and current) beneficiary of a pardon from Hillary Clinton’s husband.

  22. John Shreffler says:

    The entire Libby case is OT. The real story is that briefing yesterday in Baghdad about al-Quds, Hizbullah and the Karbala attack last January. We’re about to bomb Iran, folks. Libby is small potatoes.

  23. taters says:

    Commuter looked out for the Shooter, hence the commute for Scooter.
    I agree with your assessment regarding the pardon, Col. Lang.

  24. Nicholas Weaver says:

    “God told George personally to pardon Scooter!”
    Correction, Cheney’s voice on the intercom…

  25. meletius says:

    If this doe not spark a national effort to repeal the president’s constitutional power to pardon, nothing will. This “power” is simply nothing but a recipe for political abuse. It certainly has not historically been used to dispense justice (its supposed rationale), especially under a corrupt Repub “president”.
    This particular exercise of the power is an unprecedented abuse.
    First, the supposedly “excessive” sentence was within the sentencing guidelines, used by courts around the country every day–as Fitzgerald acidly observed in his response to Bush’s “excessive” lie.
    Second, if Bush agreed with the verdict, (which is his story), but not the sentence, he should have let Libby serve whatever portion of sentence he thought “fair” and commuted the rest, right? That this was not done speaks volumes as to the real motive behind the commutation.
    Finally, Bush (and Cheney) had a clear conflict of interest in protecting his own WH advisor who had committed perjury in order to protect Bushco. This is an outrageous abuse of the pardon power.
    Impeach Cheney.

  26. jamzo says:
    “richard Carlson, former ambassador to the Seychelles, was standing near his wife when he heard the news from an Associated Press reporter.
    “My wife burst into tears,” Carlson said”
    tucker carlson’s dad,
    also father of Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson (Executive VP, right-wing PR firm McCarthy Communications)
    early career journalist
    later career as republican office holder and media
    director of voice of america 1986-1991,
    director of corporation for public broadcasting 1992-1997
    bush 1 appointee as US ambassador to the Seychelles, 1991-1992 – a country of more than 100 islands off the coast of East Africa,
    board member of the Institute for the Study of Terrorism & Political Violence in Washington, DC
    Chairman of the Board of InterMedia, the global research consulting firm which conducts opinion surveys (for clients like the BCC and US government agencies) in 76 foreign countries.
    libby defense fund board raised $5 million – the board includes
    fred thompson
    Ambassador Dennis B. Ross served as Special Middle East Coordinator, from 1988-2000, playing the leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and in dealing directly with the negotiations
    Former CIA Director, R. James Woolsey joined booz Allen Hamilton in July 2002, as a Vice President and officer in the firm’s Global Assurance practice located in McLean, Virginia.
    Ms. Nina Rosenwald
    Chairman of the Board of the Middle East Media and Research Institute and Vice President of the Jewish Insitute for Near East Policy.
    Francis Fukuyama is Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University, and the director of SAIS’ International Development program.

  27. Martin K says:

    I knew about the POTUS ability to pardon criminals, but I didnt know that he could interfer with the actual sentencing. Pony asks wether you are still a nation of Law, and between this and the Padilla case my answer is no. Your president can have anyone locked away as a enemy combatant, and he can free the guilty as he pleases. Without having to tell anyone why. Good night, & good luck.

  28. Steve says:

    “Empires are broken down when the profits of administration are so great, that ambition is satisfied with obtaining them, and he that aspires to greatness needs do nothing more than talk himself into importance. He has then all the power which danger and conquest used formerly to give; he can raise a family, and reward his followers.”
    Samuel Johnson, Letter to John Taylor, January 24, 1784

  29. Michael says:

    Is there not some mechanism that stops the President from commuting or pardoning people with whom he has a conflict of interest with? Or is it just wide open? I know Clinton was guilty of this.. but come on.. there has to be SOME form of check in balance there..

  30. Rider says:

    Libby was the small fish. Bush really commuted the sentences of Rove and Cheney – Juan Cole

  31. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Moral outrage.
    Patrick “Bulldawg” Fitzgerald sums it up best. According to the media, Fitzgerald said, “It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals.”
    So it looks like “Lina” got it exactly right at the earlier thread “Poor Scooter”. Indeed, the Imperial Vice President cut a deal when Colson et al. popped him with a subpoena.
    As we speak, I can promise you that the following is happening in all the courthouse holding cells, the county jail cells, and among those wearing orange in the system around the US. You have the incarcerated saying (pardon my French), “That pissant is walking free and I am having to serve 10 years…what kind of */#@ is this?”
    Trust me, defense attorneys in front of jurors are mentioning Bush’s latest. After all, why should a recidivist shoplifter go to jail if one of the architects of an unconstitutional invasion — a convicted liar — walks free while the innocent die in Iraq?
    Cynicism in the administration of justice not only poisons society but also leads to chaos. If you don’t believe me, check out the work of various historians and social theorists, such as Roberto Unger, who tracked the disintegration of the court justice in the Weimar Republic to the rise of a particular type of fire in the mind called Nazism.
    Bulldawg Fitzgerald has it right.

  32. James Pratt says:

    We have seen political sycophancy rewarded and professional competence punished in the Pentagon, Justice Department and CIA. If I were a supervisor in the intelligence community I would worry about the future of my agency and the country. This is an emblematic episode in a process of decadence. Unfortunately, it will probably take a lot of economic pain to motivate the necessary political will to turn this around.

  33. webley webster says:

    Had to be done “Scooter” after all lacks the moral fiber of a Paris Hilton.

  34. TR Stone says:

    To N. Weaver:
    Like I said “God told Geotge to pardon Scooter”.

  35. meletius says:

    Michael, as far as I know, the pardon power is essentially wide open—unchecked in any way, other than “public opinion” and the good sense and public morality of the president, which is clearly non-existent with Bush (or our actual president, Cheney).
    Again, Repubs propose one absurd, foolish constitutional amendment after another. Why don’t Dems (now in control) propose an actual sensible one: repeal this overly broad presidential pardon power!
    We are (supposedly) a nation of laws, with an extremely well developed system of courts and procedure. Why should we continue this anachronistic throwback to the days of all powerful monarchs dispensing “justice” and “clemency”–especially when the historical record by presidents has been mischief and clear abuse of this power, merely to benefit their corrupt cronies, or worse, to frustrate further investigations into executive lawbreaking, as has happened here.

  36. Comment says:

    Commenter above noted the news stories suggesting Nasrallah and Hezbollah are now directing terrorist attacks in Iraq.
    If this is true – that’s a big deal.

  37. Jon Tupper says:

    June 19: George Bush and Ehud Olemrt meet.
    July 2: George Bush and Vladimir Putin meet.
    No real “news” from either event. However, meetings of such magnitude are not for sharing food.
    What “news” came from Yalta and Potsdam?
    What’s coming from these meetings?
    Any clear word on deployments/movements of Aegis equipped Arleigh Burke class destroyers or Marine Expeditionary Units?
    Colonel Lang, for a non-military man, can you please state the military chain of command responsibilities? If a command is issued by The President Of the US to launch a tactical nuclear device by whatever vehicle, is an in-the-field military Command Officer locked into obeying that order?
    Who has the suitcase, if that is still what the fail-safe device for nuclear command launch sequences is still called?
    Does Israel have a similar fail-safe system?
    Thank you.
    I don’t listen to the news.
    I do pay attention here, and I admit I have been working and unnable to read the HUMINT postings, which I would have liked to have done. Just because Chain-y’s Corporations have a good portion of the money does NOT mean they have all the people in their pocket.

  38. tons15 says:

    behavior of this governement – is not good for business, and business of America is business — if the USA is behaving like a banana republic, than it will be treated as such, the consequences will be dire. Kissinger was avid reader of Spengler and he and his ilk would be well adised to re-read Spengler and draw conclusions.
    Sic transit gloria mundi – was said in roman times. Now we see the palpable signs of the decline of the american century, american empire, decline of the West. Painful to watch.

  39. Arun says:

    The Administration knows its enemies are not in Iraq – where the more the mayhem the longer the war – but in the US.
    “Now, one of these DOD programs was something called TALON (Threat and Local Observation Notice), a program to collect information on Americans involved in anti-war protests. This evening I saw this post from Emptywheel which discusses the recently release Pentagon IG report on the program (released June 27th).
    There’s quite a lot of interest contained in the report. But emptywheel immediately fixes on the key finding, or rather impediment to findings. In the report’s words, “all TALON reports were deleted from their database in June 2006 with no archives.”
    In other words, right about the time the Cunningham prosecutors started seriously looking into this dimension of the case, and around the time information was starting to come out about the DOD’s domestic ‘surveillance’ operations, somehow the entire record of the TALON program, every report that had been collected, was scrubbed.”

  40. GSD says:

    Don’t bother celebrating the 4th of July with fireworks. Just get some lime to throw on the corpse of American democracy.
    It’s smelling really bad.

  41. Rider says:

    “Paris Hilton did more time than Scooter Libby.” – Josh Marshall

  42. DH says:

    As commenters note above there seems to be indications of movement toward attacking Iran (while we are conveniently diverted by the Scooter Show). Here is a section from Firedoglake suggesting that once again we are being bamboozled by the press reporting, using the government as their source:
    “Late last night CNN started hyping an “exclusive” report claiming Hezbollah involvement in Iraq – at the behest of the Iranians. Michael Ware was the reporter and his sole sources were “US Intelligence.” This morning, we learned the tale was not so “exclusive” since our old friend Michael Gordon ( Judy’s pal at the New York Times) had apparently gotten the same info from a new, fresh-out-of-the-White-House US military briefer – General Bergner*.”
    This makes me think of Cheney and the saying, ‘the dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.’ It seems that so far he has almost single-handedly wrought his will, and if he wants the bombing of the beautiful, ancient country of Iran, it will occur. Am I being melodramatic?

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