Cheney may have been consulted in Scooter Libby deliberations, White House admits
In a White House press conference on Tuesday morning, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow appeared to suggest that Vice President Dick Cheney's views may have been considered by President George W. Bush as he deliberated on whether to commute or pardon the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
"Everybody had an opportunity to share their views," Snow said in the Tuesday morning press conference.
Snow later clouded up his statement that the Vice President had been involved in the deliberations.
"I'm sure that the Vice President may have expressed an opinion," Snow said, then adding. "He may have recused himself, I honestly don't know."
But Snow insisted that the commutation of Libby's sentence was not a 'personal favor' to Cheney.
"The president does not look upon this as granting a favor to anyone," he asserted. "To do that is to misconstrue the nature of the deliberations."
In June, Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) had urged Cheney to recuse himself from the proceedings.
"It would be deeply divisive, and invite deep cynicism and disrespect for the legal process, were the American people to conclude that Mr. Libby undertook actions that subjected him to criminal liability to protect you, knowing...that you would thereafter take steps to protect him from the consequences of his criminal conduct," they wrote in the June 7 letter.
Snow offers 'flip' apology, slammed by Wilsons' lawyer
Snow later was challenged as to whether or not the White House would apologize for the leaking of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity.
"I'll apologize...there it's done," he answered curtly.
When challenged that he was responding to this issue in a flippant manner, Snow showed little remorse.
"In the Washington culture, things get leaked all the time," he stated.
Melanie Sloan, the Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington who is also representing the Wilsons in a civil suit against Libby and other current and former top White House officials, said Snow's remark showed his disdain for America's intelligence community.
"To claim that leaking the identity of a covert operative is simply part of the 'Washington culture' suggests a deep disdain for those patriots who risk their lives to protect our national security," she said in a statement e-mailed to RAW STORY. "Mr. Snow’s comment was insulting not just to Valerie Wilson, but to all covert operatives who believe that in return for their sacrifices, our government will do everything it can to protect them. The White House continues to owe Mrs. Wilson and the entire intelligence community a deep and sincere apology."
Snow and Bush hedge bets on likelihood of later pardon
Earlier in the press conference, Snow appeared to rule out the likelihood of a later pardon of Libby's conviction, saying that Bush was "dealt with this situation appropriately."
"The President also believes for those who are arguing on behalf of a pardon that you need to respect the jury system," he said. "It is important to make clear what is really a pillar of the American justice system."
Snow said that his refusal to completely rule out a later pardon was a matter of legal process because Libby and his attorneys might still petition for a pardon which had to be given consideration as all such petitions are.
"I do not want to create expectations that there will be one," he added.
But the President went further in not closing off the possibility of a later pardon.
"As to the future, I rule nothing in or nothing out," Bush said in the exchange with reporters Tuesday afternoon when asked "Mr. President, are you willing to rule out that you will eventually pardon Scooter Libby?"