Dan Froomkin had a great run-down of the coverage of the Libby commutation yesterday, including a link to a Dana Milbank piece on Tony Snow’s idiotic, self-contradictory press briefing. Josh Marshall takes a trip down Scott Stanzel’s bizarre follow-up bits, and digs out this gem:
Question: Scott, is Scooter Libby getting more than equal justice under the law? Is he getting special treatment?
Scott Stanzel: Well, I guess I don’t know what you mean by equal justice under the law.
Pretty much sums up the whole Administration in a nutshell with that one, doesn’t he?
It really is a fairly simple thing to understand: President Bush wanted the judge to give Libby special treatment — and when Judge Walton treated him like any other American who would have been convicted of that conduct (and actually cut him a break by sentencing him to 30 months instead of 37, which he could have done), President Bush thought that was being too harsh.
But only because it was Libby. Anyone else in America would have gone to jail and done the time for his crimes.
And they have, as the LATimes easily demonstrated by looking at the actual sentencing records of federal defendants convicted of the same criminal charges as Libby. Further, the Bush Administration failed to follow its own internal standards that it established for consideration of pardons and commutations: (H/T to Andrew Sullivan on this link.)
Judge Gonzales told me three things about President Bush’s policy in considering requests for commutation. First, that President Bush would not consider commutation if he believed that the case had already received full and fair consideration by the jury and the courts who heard the case. Second, that the President would not consider the request until he had a recommendation from the Department of Justice. Finally, he said that the President would not act on any request for commutation until all judicial avenues in the case had been exhausted.
As far as I have been able to ascertain from all public reports and the President’s own statement on the commutation, none of these conditions were met in Libby’s case. Not one. Maybe next time Larry Johnson is visiting his neighbor, he can mention that, too. (Do click through…)
Hypocrisy, thy name is Bush. The American public is subject to one standard, and your cronies and big money donors get an entirely different level of treatment. The justification for the Libby commutation of the sentence being “too harsh”? It doesn’t hold water.
UPDATE: Before someone starts the “Clinton did it, too” line of bullshit (as if that’s an excuse for George Bush playing favorites for his cronies and obstructing justice…hello?!?), Froomkin has an answer for you today. Thanks, Dan!
(A little Friday YouTube of Queen. Somehow “Liar” seemed apt…)