|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 5, 2007
Press Gaggle by Dana Perino
Aboard Air Force One
En route Rostock-Laage Airport, Germany
6:53 P.M. (Local)
MS. PERINO: All right. We're on our way to Germany, the start of the G8. Just a recap, the President said he very much enjoyed his trip to Prague, meeting with the President, the Prime Minister, the opposition leader, and then capping it off with that speech at the democracy conference -- met with 30 democracy leaders. Those leaders were chosen by the conference.
Tomorrow, just a quick thing on the schedule. He meets with Chancellor Merkel for lunch at 1:00 p.m. He's going to have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe, and then he and Mrs. Bush will attend the G8 leaders and spouses' dinner that evening.
Also, tomorrow morning -- I think at 9:00 a.m. -- we're going to try to get Jim Connaughton to the file in Rostock -- tomorrow morning, Wednesday morning, 9:00 a.m., at the file in Rostock, to be able to give a briefing on the meeting that happened today in Berlin, regarding climate change. They said they had a good meeting and that they're increasingly finding common ground. And he'll be able to provide more tomorrow morning.
And then I'm hoping that tomorrow afternoon I would try to get Mr. Hadley to be able to come back to the file. If logistically that can't happen, we'll try another way to make sure that he can wrap up the day for you on the record.
Q Any reaction to the sentencing for Scooter Libby?
MS. PERINO: Yes, Dan Bartlett and Chief of Staff Josh Bolten informed the President right after take off -- as you know, that news came in just as we were taxiing -- so they informed the President. The President said that he felt terrible for the family, especially his wife and his kids, and that he wanted to wait until we heard more about the judge's decision.
I don't know if you know that when we took off he had initially announced his decision on the sentencing issue, but then he said the court would break, and then came back. When the court came back, according to reports from the ground, the judge has set up a process for which Scooter Libby and his attorneys can appeal both the judge's decision today, as well as the jury verdict. And given that and in keeping with what we have said in the past, the President has not intervened so far in this or any other criminal matter, and so he is going to decline to do so now, as well.
Q Is Scooter Libby going to get a pardon?
MS. PERINO: As I said, we're not going to comment, the criminal justice system is still continuing and the judge has set up a process -- I think it's to be announced, the exact schedule later. It would start next week, when they start pursuing those appeals.
Q When do you consider the process over?
MS. PERINO: Well, I think when those appeals are exhausted is when it would be over.
Q And if Scooter Libby says, "I'm not going to appeal"?
MS. PERINO: Well, then we'd have to take that into consideration and I'd have to come back with more reaction.
Q Does the President think at some point it would be appropriate just to speak out about this? The guy has been sentenced. I mean, is he going to run out the clock and wait for all the appeals to be done before the President of the United States speaks about a pretty important matter that was perpetrated by a member of his staff?
MS. PERINO: What I can tell you is how the President reacted today, which is to say that he does feel terrible for them, he thinks they're going through a lot right now, they've been through a lot. But given the fact that the judge has set up a process for appeal and given the way that the President has handled this for the past year or so, he's not going to intervene.
Q Does he feel sympathy for Scooter Libby?
MS. PERION: Yes, he says he feels terrible for them; he's sorry for the way that -- for all that they're going through and he can --
Q Did he include Scooter Libby in that?
MS. PERINO: Yes.
Q Has justice been served in this case?
MS. PERINO: Brendan, I think that as regards to anyone, any American who has the right to see out a criminal justice procedure, I think that we have to afford him the same rights, just as we would give to anybody else and allow them to exhaust those appeals.
Q Dana, if the appeals process is still going on, on January 20, 2009, will the President continue to not get involved?
MS. PERINO: That's very speculative and hypothetical and I think let's just let that process start next week.
Anything else? Okay.
END 6:56 P.M. (Local)