WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime confidant Roger Stone, a Republican operative convicted of lying to Congress to protect the president’s campaign from an investigation into Russian election interference.
The White House announced Trump’s decision late Friday, days before Stone was set to report to prison for a 40-month sentence handed down in February, a stunning outcome for a well-known consultant who advised political campaigns for decades.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany described Stone as “a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump presidency.”
But congressional Democrats slammed the move, the latest in series of instances in which the president has wielded his broad clemency powers in highly political criminal cases. The grant, which wiped out Stone’s sentence but left his conviction in place, brought the years-long battle over Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election back to the forefront in the middle of Trump’s bid for reelection.
Stone was the last person charged in the nearly two-year probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a leading figure in the congressional Russia investigation, said Stone repeatedly lied to the House Intelligence Committee that Schiff chairs.
“Stone knew that telling the truth about his interactions with senior campaign officials and Trump himself would expose the president’s eagerness to obtain foreign help,” Schiff said. “So he lied.”
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that while “the United States was founded on the rule of law” it seemed that Trump “has nothing but contempt for it.”
The Justice Department declined to comment on Trump’s decision Friday.
Grant Smith, an attorney for Stone, said his client was “incredibly honored” that Trump used “his awesome and unique power under the Constitution of the United States for this act of mercy.”
The Justice Department told a federal appeals court this week that Stone should begin his sentence July 14, despite his plea to delay it over concerns about the coronavirus. Hours later, the president presaged his decision during an interview with the conservative news organization Newsmax.
“He was framed. He was treated horribly,” Trump said of Stone. “His prayer may be answered.”
An injustice was shown to Stone, something that would have never happened in the past. Still, the left’s hatred of Trump is so terrible they are still willing to leave a trail of wasted lives behind them as they continue with their obsession to destroy Trump and everyone around him.
Trump did away with the last travesty left in the wake of the Mueller investigation; the only question is when will justice be served on the people that instigated this whole thing?