Breaking: President Bush to commute Libby's sentence; Update: Fred celebrates! Update: "Disgraceful," says Reid; Update: "Holy sh*t," says Rosie! Update: Snap poll -- Americans oppose 21/60; Update: Bush is an accessory, says Wilson Update: Video, Olbermann & Wilson rage

John Gibson just announced it on The Big Story. Details to follow.

More: Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to put Libby’s sentence on hold, meaning he would have had to go to jail while his appeal was ongoing.

Update (AP): I guess this is his way of splitting the difference between people who want Libby pardoned and people who think he should serve out the sentence prescribed by the judicial process. It should earn him a point or two with the base after the shamnesty debacle.

Update (AP): Splittin’ the difference:

“My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby,” Bush said in a statement. “The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.”

The president’s action means that Libby’s conviction still stands and he is still required to pay the $250,000 fine ordered by a federal judge.

Update (AP): Rush appealed for a pardon this afternoon. No doubt this will be played by advocates of the Fairness Doctrine as Bush having done talk radio’s bidding.

Update (AP): Here’s Bush’s full statement. “Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.”

Update (AP): Reaction:

“As Independence Day nears, we’re reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under the law. This commutation completely tramples on that principle,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said through a spokesman.

Libby’s supporters celebrated.

“That’s fantastic. It’s a great relief,” said former Ambassador Richard Carlson, who helped raise millions for Libby’s defense fund. “Scooter Libby did not deserve to go to prison and I’m glad the president had the courage to do this.”

Update (AP): More reaction — from Fred: “I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the President’s decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.”

Update (AP): “I don’t underrate the seriousness of perjury, but in sentencing, or using the pardon power, you consider mitigating factors. Unlike the Paula Jones case, no individual litigant was harmed by obstruction of the discovery process. And unlike the Sandy Berger case, there was no successful coverup.”

Update (AP): Stories like this are so transparently partisan that it’s almost not worth covering the reaction.

Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Majority Leader, called the commutation ‘disgraceful.’

“The President’s decision to commute Mr. Libby’s sentence is disgraceful. Libby’s conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War. Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone,” Reid said in a statement. “The Constitution gives President Bush the power to commute sentences, but history will judge him harshly for using that power to benefit his own Vice President’s Chief of Staff who was convicted of such a serious violation of law.”

Update (AP): More from Raw Story — the Wilsons’ lawyer, who doubles as the head of CREW, is none too pleased.

Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who is representing the Plame and her husband Ambassador Joe Wilson in a civil suit against Libby and other top Bush administration officials, slammed the decision on behalf of the Wilsons.

“First, President Bush said any person who leaked would no longer work in his administration. Nonetheless, Scooter Libby didn’t leave office until he was indicted and Karl Rove works in the White House even today,” Sloan said in a statement sent to RAW STORY. “More recently, the vice president ignored an executive order protecting classified information, claiming he isn’t really part of the executive branch. Clearly, this is an administration that believes leaking classified information for political ends is justified and that the law is what applies to other people.”

Update (AP): CNN compares Bush’s record on pardons and commutations to the last 10 presidents’. Plus: reaction round-up, featuring Joe Biden calling on Americans to flood the White House phone lines the way amnesty opponents did in sinking the POS immigration bill!

Update (AP): Now we know for sure it was a bad decision.


Update (AP): Filled with heart-ache is the NYT.

Update (AP): Survey USA has already conducted a snap poll. The White House won’t like the results.

Update (AP): “The jury said Scooter Libby did the crime. He should do the time.”

Update (AP): Holy Joe Wilson speaks!

In an interview with ABC News Radio, Joseph Wilson said Bush’s commutation of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison term demonstrates that “this administration is corrupt to the core – from top to bottom.”…

In commuting part of Libby’s sentence, Wilson says, President Bush is complicit in Libby’s crimes.

“He is an accessory to the obstruction of justice in this commutation of the sentence,” Wilson told ABC News. “He, himself, is now under a cloud.”

Update (Bryan): Courtesy Ms Underestimated, here’s a meeting of the addled minds. Keith Olbermann and Joe Wilson discuss the Libby pardon. You get it all, from Wilson’s loopy lies to Olby’s wacky conspiracy theories. It’s just what you expect, which makes it perfect. Perfectly insane, but perfect.

Update (AP): WaPo reports that Bush’s friends and most aides were told not to bug him about Libby. Why? “The White House’s handling of the Libby case appears to have been designed to make it possible for Bush to say he was not the subject of undue political pressure in the same manner that President Bill Clinton was lobbied to make controversial pardons in the final days of his administration.”