Apparently perjury and obstruction of justice is worthy of impeachment but not 30 months in prison. That's the stance of President Bush, who decided that he's more important than the legal system, overruling a jury and a judge, eliminating the punishment given to former aide Scooter Libby, commuting Scooter's 30 month prison sentence. The conviction and fine stand (big deal) but Scooter no longer has any fear of going to jail.
What a joke. President Bush, defending his actions, wrote today that:
Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation.
As David Shuster pointed out on MSNBC tonight, the reason nobody was charged with violating the law was BECAUSE people like Scooter Libby were lying to prosecutors and preventing them from learning the truth.
And now, commuting Scooter's jail sentence, President Bush took away the only bargaining chip which was available to prosecutors to get to the bottom of whether or not any laws were broken. Facing a 30 month jail sentence, having exhausted his pre-detention appeals, if Scooter Libby would have ever been looking to cut a deal, now was going to be the time. He tells special prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald everything he knows, and he would have been spared jail. Now, we'll never know the truth, because there's no reason for Libby to roll over on anybody in the White House administration. He's already free.
As much as this is protecting a former aide, this is protecting President Bush and Vice President Cheney (and Karl Rove and others) from future liability. Must be nice to have that kind of power. I don't want to hear Republicans, ever again, talk about President Clinton and how perjury and obstruction of justice were impeachable offenses, because, as we all learned today, it's only worth $250,000.