Democrats Don't Want Libby to Be Pardoned By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent2 hours, 20 minutes ago The Senate's top Democrats challenged President Bush on Tuesday to rule out a pardon for I. Lewis Libby, a former top White House aide who faces trial on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury in the CIA leak case. "We also urge you to state publicly whether anyone in the White House â including White House counsel Harriet Miers or Vice President Cheney â has already discussed the possibility of a pardon with Mr. Libby," added the letter, signed by Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and three other members of the leadership. White House spokesman Scott McClellan declined to rule out a pardon when asked about the issue by reporters before Democrats sent their letter. "I'm not going to discuss an ongoing legal proceeding. And I'm not going to speculate about any matters relating to it," he said. At a news conference, Reid launched an extraordinary attack on Cheney, whom he said had been involved in the "manipulation of intelligence to sell the war in Iraq" as well as "leaking classified information to discredit White House critics." He challenged the president in personal terms, urging him to "avoid falling in the footsteps of his father who pardoned six men, some were convicted, some were indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal." Shortly before leaving office, President George H.W. Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger and five other former government officials who had served in the Reagan administration. The five were involved in the Iran-Contra affair, in which arms were secretly sold to Iran to win the freedom of American hostages, then the money was funneled to anti-communist guerillas in Nicaragua despite a congressional ban on military aid. "Swift public action on your part will make clear that you take seriously perjury and obstruction of justice at the highest levels of our government," the letter said. On a day that top Republicans sought an investigation into the leak of the existence of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, Reid swiftly turned the question to a related issue â Bush's denial that the United States tortures prisoners held in the war on terror. "I know it was embarrassing for the president to be in South America and have to respond to questions about American torturing prisoners. And he denied it and I hope that it's accurate," he said. Asked whether he believed Bush's denial, Reid sidestepped. "I would hope that we haven't been involved in torture," he said. The letter to Bush marked the second time in as many weeks that the Democratic leadership has tried to raise the discomfort level for Republicans in the White House and Congress. Last Tuesday, Reid surprised Republicans by putting the Senate into a rare closed session to dramatize Democratic claims that the GOP has failed to investigate allegations that Bush used faulty intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. In addition to Reid, the letter was signed by Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Chuck Schumer of New York and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.