Congressman Calls For Impeachment Proceedings After President Commutes Libby Sentence
(CBS) CHICAGO President George W. Bush commuted the 2 1/2 year sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former White House aide convicted in a CIA leak scandal.
As CBS 2’s Katie McCall reports, there was negative reaction in Illinois to the announcement Monday.
”Since the president has intervened in this process, it is now the Congress’ obligation and responsibility to intervene in the executive process and begin an inquiry into these very serious crimes against the constitution of the United States,” said Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago).
Jackson says this time the president went too far. After word that Bush commuted Libby’s sentence Jackson plans to call on House Democrats to start impeachment proceedings.
“I certainly hope Nancy Pelosi will withdraw her initial remarks that impeachment is completely off the table,” Jackson said.
Libby was convicted of lying under oath to cover up the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame.
"I respect the jury's verdict,” Bush said in a statement about his rationale for lightening Libby’s load. “But I have concluded that the sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."
Jackson's weren't the only angry words on the matter.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin evoked another famous convict, saying, “Even Paris Hilton had to go to jail. No one in this administration should be above the law."
There were detractors in the president's own party, including north suburban Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Northbrook), who expressed his disappointment.
“He was indicted by a grand jury and convicted beyond the shadow of a doubt by one of the best prosecutors in America, Patrick Fitzgerald, and didn’t have a single member of a 12-member jury stand up with him,” Kirk said. “At that point, if you’ve done the crime, you should do the time.”
Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who prosecuted Libby, said all citizens should stand before what he called the bar of justice as equals.
Libby still has to pay a $250,000 fine and will be on probation for two years. The president says that is still a harsh punishment.