"Scooter is a loyal American ... I felt he had paid enough of a penalty," Bush told Matt Lauer in the first interview of his book tour. "I let the jury verdict stand after some serious deliberation, and the vice president was angry."
Bush also said he was worried his friendship with Cheney would suffer, but said he's "pleased to report we are friends today."
As for foreign policy, Bush reportedly wrote that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked Bush to bomb a suspected nuclear facility in Syria in 2007. Bush declined.
"Your strategy is very disturbing to me," Olmert told Bush, according to the book.
Finally, Bush talks in the book of a moment, as a teenager, that strengthened his pro-life beliefs and his relationship with his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush.
Via the New York Post, which already watched Lauer's full interview with Bush airing tonight:
"She said to her teenage kid, 'Here's the fetus,' " the shockingly candid Bush told NBC's Matt Lauer, gesturing as if he were holding the jar during the TV chat, a DVD of which The Post exclusively obtained.
"There's no question that affected me, a philosophy that we should respect life," said the former president, who had to drive his distraught mother to the hospital at the time.
"I never expected to see the remains of the fetus, which she had saved in a jar to bring to the hospital," Bush writes in his new book, "Decision Points," in an excerpt Lauer read during the interview.
"There was a human life, a little brother or sister," Bush told the "Today" host during the sit-down to promote his tome, which hits stores tomorrow.
Bush said his mother gave him special permission to recount the private story in print.
A series of interview excerpts and other leaks has shown that Bush, according to his book, personally gave the order to waterboard, considers himself a "dissenting voice" in the lead-up to the Iraq War, and more.