July 4th, 2007


Dear Mr. President...


It's been a while since I bugged you here, and I realize it's a holiday and all, but I really wish you'd checked with somebody who knows about these things before deciding to commute Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison term for perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to the FBI, from "thirty months" to "not a single day." Had you asked around, you might have found out that, say, executive clemency isn't supposed to be considered until someone's already serving his term, and his appeals process is over; or, at the least, that you're supposed to wait for the guy to apply for clemency before, y'know, granting his application. As it is, though, within hours of the appellate court unanimously agreeing with the trial judge that the sentence was fair, you vacated it...and that, sir, sorta leads to a problem for you, personally.

There's actually a reason the federal sentencing guidelines are pretty harsh in perjury/obstruction cases -- the courts hope that a little prison time might make the perpetrator "remember" what actually happened in his case, rather than the lies he told about it, see? This is so widely understood, in fact, that a lot of people could really see only one motive for a President to grant instant clemency to a former aide -- that is, to let a criminal co-conspirator off the hook before he can rat out the President's own criminal conduct. I mean, ouch!, you know?...particularly considering we have the authority of James Madison himself that such a use of presidential clemency powers would itself be an impeachable offense, calling for charges from the House, and removal from office by the Senate. And, hey, there was already a perception problem here, right? -- people saying "He can't fire Gonzales as Attorney General, because he couldn't replace him. Professional GOP prosecutors are one thing; criminal co-conspirators are a lot harder to find."

People say awful stuff about you and the Vice President, sir. I hate to see you add fuel to the flames.

Still, I wouldn't worry about it overmuch. This is America, and a lot of people take acts of high treason very seriously. I'm quite certain that the full truth will come out about this matter sooner or later, and that the guilty parties will be punished. Doubtless you're praying that will happen, just as so many millions are, all over the world.

93 93/93 -- AJ
July 4th 2007 EV - Two hundred thirty-first anniversary of America's Independence
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