President George Bush pseudo-pardoned Scooter Libby today just before Libby was to enter prison. Commuting Libby’s sentence was widely expected although perhaps not until the end of Bush’s presidential term.

Conservatives called for a pardon, while liberals will be livid about it. Technically, the move isn’t a full pardon. Bush left Libby on probation and with a large fine to pay so the criminal record remains. Nevertheless, Scooter Libby will be a happy and free tonight inside the beltway.

Read more about the sentence here. The story of Bush commuting Libby was broken by Bloomberg.

President Bush called the sentence “excessive.” We will have Bush’s announcement and any video if he chooses to make a statement. We doubt that will happen, but we do think Scooter Libby will issue a statement shortly. We’ll carry the update here.

Update: Read Bush statement on Executive Clemency.

“I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.”