This morning on NBC’s Today show, Vice President Al Gore called last week’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence “very disappointing” and “improper,” specifically highlighting the fact that Libby had “knowledge that could incriminate his bosses in the White House which included the vice president and the president.”
Asked how Bush’s commutation was different than some of President Clinton’s pardons, Gore said, “Well it’s different because in this case the person involved is charged with activities that involve knowledge of what his superiors in the White House did.” Watch it:
Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney authorized leaks of classified national security information to the media to defend the Iraq invasion, and Cheney wrote notes on Joseph Wilson’s original Iraq op-ed asking, “[D]id his wife send him on a junket?” But the full extent of their direct involvement in the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity remains unknown.
As the New York Times opined last week:
Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.
On the day of Libby’s guilty verdict, juror Denis Collins famously told reporters, “It was said a number of times, ‘What are we doing with this guy here? Where’s [Karl] Rove … where are these other guys?’”
Q. Before I let you go, I’d like to ask you about the Scooter Libby case and the fact the president commuted his sentence. What was your reaction to that?
GORE: Well, I thought it was very disappointing.
GORE: Well, I thought it was improper. He is charged with having knowledge that could incriminate his bosses in the White House which included the vice president and the president. I thought it was very disappointing.
Q. And how is it different than when President Clinton pardoned, in some controversial cases…
GORE: Well it’s different because in this case the person involved is charged with activities that involve knowledge of what his superiors in the White House did.