Updated Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Roger Stone sentenced to more than 3 years in prison

Roger Stone arriving for his sentencing hearing. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to 4o months in prison for crimes that include obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Why it matters: Stone is the seventh person to be convicted and sentenced for crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. His case has been at the heart of ongoing tensions between President Trump and his Justice Department.

What they're saying: Judge Amy Berman Jackson said just prior to his sentencing that Stone "was not prosecuted for standing up for the president, he was prosecuted for covering up for the president." She also said that he "will not be sentenced for who his friends are, or who his enemies are."

  • "The truth still matters. Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't" poses a threat to "the very foundation of this democracy," she added.

The backdrop: A federal jury convicted Stone last year after he lied to Congress about his efforts to learn more about when WikiLeaks would publish damaging emails about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

  • Last week, the Justice Department submitted a new sentencing recommendation for Stone, recommending less than the seven to nine years in prison originally suggested by career prosecutors without providing specifics.
  • The Justice Department's move came after Trump tweeted that the original recommendation was a "miscarriage of justice" that he "cannot allow," though the president denied speaking with Justice officials about the case.
  • The four career prosecutors who tried Stone withdrew from the case after the revised recommendation was submitted, prompting Trump to congratulate Attorney General Bill Barr for "taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought."

The big picture: Both the sentencing about-face and Trump's continued comments on Stone's case have led to headaches for Barr.

Worth noting: It remains to be seen whether Trump will move to pardon Stone. The president claimed that he "hadn't given it any thought" when asked about the possibility after he granted clemency to nearly a dozen individuals earlier this week.

  • Trump tweeted in the midst of the hearing, claiming without evidence that Hillary Clinton and former FBI officials James Comey and Andrew McCabe also lied to Congress.
  • Stone has already filed to request a new trial, which will delay his reporting date to prison until it is resolved— granting the president additional time to act.

What they're saying: At an event for graduates of the Hope for Prisoners program, Trump signaled that he would wait for Stone's appeal to play out before acting: "I’m not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the United States. I want the process to play out. I think that’s the best thing to do because I would love to see Roger exonerated."

  • He also accused the jury forewoman of being tainted by anti-Trump social media posts: "Roger Stone and everybody have got to be treated fairly and this has not been a fair process."

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Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

45% of Republicans — a plurality — support President Trump pardoning Roger Stone, who was sentenced this week to 40 months in prison for crimes unearthed by the Mueller investigation, according to a YouGov poll.

Why it matters: While it's still not clear whether Trump will actually move to pardon Stone, the fact that he has a plurality of his party on board regarding the issue should only serve to enforce the president's growing sense of self-confidence following his impeachment acquittal.

Roger Stone says he's still proud of his efforts to elect Trump

Former Trump associate Roger Stone said in an interview with "Axios on HBO" that he is still proud of his efforts to elect President Trump, but stopped short of sharing any regrets on the matter due to a court gag order.

  • Stone, who wasn't on the Trump's campaign payroll, said in his first on-camera interview since his sentencing last month: "One does not have to be on a campaign staff ... given the modern miracle of social media and the ability to communicate."

Roger, Trump and Jesus

Screenshot: "Axios on HBO"

After being sentenced to 40 months in prison, former Trump associate Roger Stone told "Axios on HBO" that his only fear in life is "not being right with God."

  • "I feel pretty good because I've taken Jesus Christ as my personal savior," Stone said in his first on-camera interview since his sentencing. "And it's given me enormous strength and solace, because he knows what's in my heart."