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White House spokesman Tony Snow says maybe there are a few issues left for the Democrats to address if they return to power in the White House.
He was responding to a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, about this week’s commutation of the 30-month prison sentence for former vice presidential aide “Scooter” Libby.
Lewis “Scooter” Libby
“Among those protesting the president’s refusal to allow the Libby imprisonment was Maryland Sen. [Benjamin] Cardin, who announced that he was ‘shocked’ at what he called the president’s ‘double standard.’ And my question: Does the White House recall any such expressed Cardin shock at the non-imprisonment of Democrat lawbreaker Sandy Berger, and Marion Barry, as well as no imprisonment for that convicted perjurer Bill Clinton, and his pardon recipient Marc Rich?”
First, Snow answered that he was “not familiar with that.”
Then he dropped a hint. “But perhaps they are waiting to go back and revisit those issues when they have ….”
The rest of the line was left unfinished.
Most of the news conference dealt with the Libby commutation.
“The president has the power to commute, and he used it, and he used it in a manner that he saw fit,” Snow explained. “What the president said is that he is not going to go in and overturn what the jury did. On the other hand, again, he thought that the penalty was excessive. He is certainly permitted to do that. You’ll concede that the president does have that power, constitutionally, and furthermore, that this president has done it very carefully.”
The comments from Cardin, a Democrat, had been reported earlier.
The member of the Senate Judiciary Committee denounced Bush’s announcement, calling it a “travesty” and saying it sends the message “the White House and its employees are above the law.”
“We are a nation of laws and a jury of his peers convicted Mr. Libby of the serious charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am shocked and greatly disappointed that President Bush has decided to commute the sentence [for Libby],” he said.
Libby had been convicted of lying about the leak of the name of an undercover CIA operative, and a court had ruled just hours before Bush made his announcement that Libby would not be allowed to remain free while appealing, meaning he would have to report for his prison term quite soon.
In the other cases Kinsolving referenced, Clinton was caught making misstatements during an investigation during his administration, and Sandy Berger admitted taking classified documents from the National Archives and disposing of them under Clinton’s tenure.
Berger reached a plea agreement and was exempted from any prison time, and then failed to follow through and take a polygraph test he’d promised as part of the plea bargain.
U.S. Rep. Tom Davis and more than a dozen other Republican members of the U.S. House, unsuccessfully, have called on U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to have the test completed.
The polygraph was part of the resolution of a case that developed in the spring of 2002 and the fall of 2003. That was when Berger, Clinton’s national security adviser, visited the National Archives to review classified documents to prepare for being interviewed by the 9/11 Commission.
WND has reported that Clinton signed the letter authorizing Berger’s access to the classified documents that later came up missing.
Berger pleaded guilty in April 2005 to one misdemeanor count of removing a classified document and was given two years probation, 100 hours of community service, a $50,000 fine and revocation of his security clearance for three years.
And another high-profile leader, former Washington Mayor Marion Barry, was exempted from jail time when a federal judge declined to revoke his probation, which would have sent him to prison for failing to file his 2005 tax returns on time.
He had pleaded guilty that year to misdemeanor charges for failing to file returns from 1999-2004 and agreed to file future returns annually. Prosecutors said, however, he failed, and should be jailed.
He served four terms as mayor, and during his third term was videotaped in 1990 in a hotel room smoking crack cocaine in an FBI sting. He was then re-elected, and now serves on the city council after leaving the mayor’s office.
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