Jul 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

What they're saying: Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

Roger Stone leaving federal court in February.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump commuted the 40-month prison sentence of his longtime associate and confidante Roger Stone on Friday.

Why it matters: Stone, the seventh person to be convicted and sentenced for crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, will spend no time behind bars for obstructing justice, tampering with witnesses and making false statements to Congress.

What to watch: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in a statement alongside Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) called for an immediate briefing from the White House Counsel on the circumstances surrounding Stone’s commutation.

  • “The facts are clear: Roger Stone lied to investigators. He threatened to harm a witness to his crimes. A jury of our fellow Americans found him guilty of obstruction of justice," Nadler and Maloney wrote.

What they're saying: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) called the commutation "an act of staggering corruption" in a statement Sunday.

  • "Congress will take action to prevent this type of brazen wrongdoing" by pursuing legislation that would prevent a president from pardoning or commuting "the sentence of an individual who is engaged in a cover-up campaign to shield that President from criminal prosecution."

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tweeted: "Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president."

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement that Trump "once again abused his power, releasing the commutation on a Friday night, hoping to yet again avoid scrutiny as he lays waste to the norms and the values that make our country a shining beacon to the rest of the world."
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Trump commuting Stone's sentence "is among the most offensive to the rule of law and principles of justice."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter: "Trump commutes the prison sentence of Roger Stone while the officers that killed Breonna Taylor are still free. The two systems of justice in this country must end."
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said via tweet: "Donald Trump has abandoned the rule of law and made a mockery of our democracy. He truly is the most corrupt president in history."
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on Twitter he supports the commutation, adding "Roger Stone’s prosecution by overzealous Special Counsel prosecutors was an outgrowth of the Obama-Biden misconduct."

Trump tweeted Saturday morning, "Roger Stone was targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt tha never should have taken place. It is the other side that are criminals, including the fact that Biden and Obama illegally spied on my campaign - AND GOT CAUGHT!"

  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that Stone was "a victim of the Russia Hoax" and that he "would be put at serious medical risk in prison."
  • "He has appealed his conviction and is seeking a new trial. He maintains his innocence and has stated that he expects to be fully exonerated by the justice system. Mr. Stone, like every American, deserves a fair trial and every opportunity to vindicate himself before the courts."
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