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The Libby Commutation

The one fundamental question that Bush's commutation of Libby leaves unanswered is; how much was Libby protecting the vice-president and the president, that compelled such an extraordinary act by President Bush in mid-term, to commute the prison portion of Libby's sentence? Two articles in Brad DeLong's blog have attracted my attention.

The first one, and here real credit is due, because it was written with foresight, a few weeks ago, (but not published as an op-ed piece) by Jeff Lomonaco is 'Why Bush will Commute Libby's Sentence - but Not Pardon Him'

If Bush were to pardon Libby, he and Vice President Cheney would give up the rationale they have used successfully for four years to avoid addressing their own roles in the case..

At the trial, the event that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said was at the heart of the case was Libby's July 8, 2003 conversation with New York Times reporter Judith Miller at the St. Regis Hotel....

That in turn raises troubling questions about Cheney and Bush's role in sending Libby on his secret mission? And what was the substance of Cheney and Bush's discussion shortly before Libby went on his secret mission to disclose previously-classified information to the press with the President's permission? Published reports have indicated that Bush told Cheney something to the effect of "Get it out," or "Let's get this out,"...

But more importantly, it would enable Bush and Cheney to continue the strategy they have successfully pursued in deterring journalists seeking their explanations with claims that they shouldn't comment on an ongoing legal proceeding. If Bush were to pardon Libby, he and Cheney would no longer have such a rationale for evading the press' questions - nor would Libby be able to claim the right against self-incrimination to resist testifying before Congress about the role that Cheney and Bush played in directing his conduct.

The second article written by Mary Wheeler in 'the Guardian' and picked up Brad DeLong as well, underscores the allegation that Libby is protecting both the president and the vice-president Just another obstruction of justice 'There are lots of unanswered questions surrounding the Valerie Plame saga, but Scooter Libby's commutation ensures they won't be answered.'

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Comments (6)

"'There are lots of unanswered questions surrounding the Valerie Plame saga, but Scooter Libby's commutation ensures they won't be answered.' "

Let's hope the Wilson/Plame civil litigation provides a venue to get answers to LOTS of questions.

Lee Ward:

It should -- the criminal trial verified the motive and actions of the White House in discrediting their critics, and the lying Libby's felonious obstruction of justice was verified by his conviction --

I'd say the only question now is how many commas and zeros will there be in the amount of the damages awarded the Plaintiffs.

Having all of the play out in front of the voting public as we lead into the elections is pure gold.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, this definitely looks 'bad' on the Bush administration if you believe that 'all men are equal before the law'. And here's the "it was excessive" Bush argument for commuting Libby destroyed. Check out a thread from Steve Benen's column in 'The Washington Monthly'concerning a very similar case to Libby's apples to apples and how the judiciary handled it.

From your link...

"Defense attorneys can't wait to take advantage of the can of worms the president has opened. One legal expert said, "I anticipate that we're going to get a new motion called 'the Libby motion.'"

What are they waiting for? To think there's going to be some major precedent estblished, precedent so monumental that it will have a particular name (Libby motion) is ridiculous.

Here is why it is ridiculous. The issue here is called sentencing disparity. Was Libby's sentence fair? I don't think so but that's NOT the point. I could find fifty excellent attorneys to argue either side and no conclusion would be had because the ultimate sentence rests with the lattitude of the Judge.

Do you actually think Federal Judges, appointed for life, are going to allow some thing called a "Libby Motion" to restrain their power? These Judges did not even like sentencing guidelines forced down their throat in 1987(?). The "Libby Motion" is a pipe dream.


Exactly from what and whom is Libby supposed to be protecting?

Folks, THERE WAS NO UNDERLYING CRIME HERE. If outing Plame was a crime, then Armitage would have been indicted.

Say what you want about politicians trying to discredit critics, as that is what was happening here, but there was no crime committed.

Steve Crickmore:

Where did blabber-mouth Armitage learn Plame's identity and didn't Novak confirm this from at least one other source? "That Armitage was the original source for Novak's column revealing Plame's identity is not inconsistent with Libby's disclosure of Plame's identity -- specifically, to then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller -- before the publication of Novak's column"...Why else would Libby be so close-mouthed now?.
I admit the case is a little frustrating..It is not a Agatha Christie novel..'The butler did it'...Rove, Cheney, Bush are so secretive..that even with the book thrown at Libby and an excellent organized crime busting prosecutor in Fitzgerald, we are only a little closer at getting to the heart of this case, than when he was appointed by then Attorney- General Ashcroft to solve it.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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