Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump declined to confirm Wednesday whether he is considering a pardon for his former associate Roger Stone, instead railing against prosecutors for treating Stone "horribly" and attacking former top FBI officials like James Comey and Andrew McCabe.

"I don't want to say that yet, but I will tell you what, people were hurt viciously and badly by these corrupt people. ... Nine years for doing something where nobody can even define what he did. ... We have killers, we have murderers all over the place, nothing happens. And then they put a man in jail and destroy his life.
  • Reality check: Stone was convicted by a jury on seven counts related to lying about his efforts to learn when WikiLeaks would publish damaging emails about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

The big picture: Trump congratulated Attorney General Bill Barr on Wednesday for intervening in Stone's case and overruling career prosecutors who requested that the former Trump adviser serve 7–9 years in prison. The intervention has prompted allegations of political interference, despite Trump and the Justice Department insisted that they did not coordinate the move.

Go deeper: Trump congratulates Barr after prosecutors resign from Roger Stone case

Go deeper

The national security risks hiding in Trump's debts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The blockbuster New York Times report on President Trump’s taxes reveals that the president is $421 million in debt, with more than $300 million coming due during Trump’s potential second term — and the identities of the president’s creditors remain unknown.

Why it matters: If some, or all, of this debt is held by foreign actors, it raises serious national security implications.

29 mins ago - World

House report: U.S. intelligence agencies have failed to adapt to China threat

Xi Jinping and other Chinese politicians and delegates listen to the national anthem duirng the closing of the 19th Communist Party Congress in 2017. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday released a report finding that the U.S. intelligence community has failed to adapt to the growing threat from China, arguing that it will struggle to compete on the global stage for decades to come if it does not implement major changes.

The big picture: The 200-page report, based on thousands of analytic assessments and hundreds of hours of interviews with intelligence officers, determined that the intelligence community's focus on counterterrorism after 9/11 allowed China "to transform itself into a nation potentially capable of supplanting the United States as the leading power in the world."

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."