Clintons Criticize Libby Commutation

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have criticized President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s jail sentence, despite some rather controversial pardons issued during the final hours of Bill’s presidency.

It would be laughable if it wasn’t so outrageous. The crimes of Scooter Libby pale in comparisons to those of Marc Rich and the FALN terrorists. And Libby isn’t even a relative or a major donor.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. M. Murcek says:

    Other sites are saying that Libby was Rich’s lawyer. Don’t know if that’s true, but if so, it’s a hell of an irony…

  2. Bithead says:

    I ran across an article last night, written by Alan Dershowitz.

    His point of view on this whole thing, was rather interesting. (I examine it here, if you’re interested)

    He comes right out and says that the judicial decision in this case was entirely political. He backs that by saying that in nonpolitical cases they’ll probably would have been granted on the issues of the kind raised by Libby and his lawyers.

    He goes on to claim that the reason that the judges did not allow bail, was completely political.

    But the court of appeals’ judges, as well as the district court judge, wanted to force President Bush’s hand. They didn’t want to give him the luxury of being able to issue a pardon before the upcoming presidential election. Had Libby been allowed to be out on appeal, he would probably have remained free until after the election. It would then have been possible for President Bush to pardon him after the election but before he left office, as presidents often do during the lame duck hiatus. To preclude that possibility, the judges denied Libby bail pending appeal.

    I must admit, that I hadn’t thought along those lines, previously. I certainly considered the handling of the case to be political and motivation, but hadn’t quite arrived at the logic that Dershowitz suggests.

    However, his claim does seem to make sense with the known facts and the timing. So, I wonder, will this charge of political corruption in our courts be investigated by the democrats in Congress? Somehow, I get the feeling they won’t be.

  3. MarkT says:

    he judicial decision in this case was entirely political

    The decisions in this case were made by Republicans.

    The justice department leaders, Fitzgerald, the judge, etc. were all Republicans and/or Republican appointees, right?

  4. MarkT says:

    Do you have any evidence that Hillary is being hypocritical here?

    You may have a decent case to criticize Bill with “but Bill Clinton did it too”, but I’m not sure it is fair to lump in Hillary.

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Right. The Clintons never discuss political matters in their marriage. So, to make it convenient for Hillary supporters, we will just act as though they are not married. Right?

  6. Tara says:

    MarkT, think again.

    Hillary Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, was paid tens of thousands of dollars in his successful bid to win pardons for a businessman under investigation for money laundering and a commutation for a convicted drug trafficker. Her other brother, Tony, lobbied successfully for clemency on behalf of a couple convicted of bank fraud.

  7. MarkT says:

    MarkT, think again. Hillary Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, was paid…

    If you want to address my point, I will be happy to listen. But you have not done so.

    I pointed out that Bill is not the same person as Hillary and asked for something that showed Hillary being hypocritical.

    You respond by trying to tie in her brother. That’s not relevant unless you show me Hillary’s role. Did she work with her brother on the case? Did she get paid? Otherwise you’ve got nothing.

  8. Stormy70 says:

    Mark T – Bill doesn’t take a political dump without Hillary’s input. How about the pardon for the Jewish group in NY right before her Senate election.
    Hillary not involved? Please.

  9. vnjagvet says:

    Mark:

    I guess when Hillary! “points with pride” to the accomplishments of the Clinton Administration and expresses or implies that you should vote for her because she can be counted on to continue the good times, you acknowledge the problems with that approach.

  10. MarkT says:

    Hillary not involved? Please.

    You are just making an assumption. Maybe you are right, maybe not.

    If you have any evidence she was involved in the Marc Rich affair, I’d be happy to read it.

  11. MarkT says:

    I guess when Hillary! “points with pride” to the accomplishments of the Clinton Administration

    She can use the accomplishments of the Clinton Administration as examples of how she would govern.

    She can use things in which she was personally involved (i.e. failed Health care reform) as examples of her contributions.

    I don’t think she gets to claim every success of the Clinton administration as her own. Nor do I think she has to own every failure.

  12. Len says:

    And Libby isn’t even a relative or a major donor.

    No, he was just Special Adviser to the President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President.

    Besides, do you really want to justify George W. Bush’s actions by comparing them to those of President Clinton? That’s kind of like saying that what Jeffrey Dahmer did was okay because Charles Manson did something similar before him.

    Y’all need to learn to stand by your man and not be constantly comparing him to Clinton. They are not comparable entities.

  13. davod says:

    Len:

    The only issue here is why a three judge panel appelae panel wouldn’t leave Libbey out on bail while his appeal was processed.

  14. Do you have any evidence that Hillary is being hypocritical here?

    Read the link on the word “Hillary”. She criticizes Bush while defending her husband. She didn’t have to lobby for the pardons herself in order to be a hypocrite.

  15. Len says:

    The only issue here is why a three judge panel appelae panel wouldn’t leave Libbey out on bail while his appeal was processed.

    That’s an easy one, though it truly is not the only issue. The panel did not believe he had sufficient grounds for appeal and saw no reason to delay his sentence.

  16. davod says:

    How was the three judge panel selected.

  17. MarkT says:

    Posted by The Unabrewer: Read the link on the word “Hillary”. She criticizes Bush while defending her husband. She didn’t have to lobby for the pardons herself in order to be a hypocrite.

    I just read the link and agree is does support your point. Here’s a summary quote from the link:

    Her husband’s pardons, issued in the closing hours of his presidency, were simply routine exercise in the use of the pardon power, and none were aimed at protecting the Clinton presidency or legacy, she said.

    I guess the question is: do you all think she must either be completely for or completely against all pardons in order to not be hypocritical? Or is it OK to make a distinction like she does?