President Trump on Friday signed an Executive Grant of Clemency that frees Roger Stone from a 40-month prison sentence he was scheduled to begin next week.
Stone, a longtime conservative political operative and friend of President Trump, was charged with a series of crimes as part of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Trump’s decision to commute Stone’s sentence was made “in light of the egregious facts and circumstances surrounding his unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement.
Special Counsel Mueller’s office “resorted to process-based charges leveled at high-profile people in an attempt to manufacture the false impression of criminality lurking below the surface,” continues McEnany. “These charges were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice…This is why the out-of-control Mueller prosecutors, desperate for splashy headlines to compensate for a failed investigation, set their sights on Mr. Stone.”
Stone was convicted on seven counts for obstruction, lying to investigators, and witness tampering. Stone has appealed the convictions and says he is innocent of all wrongdoing.
When he was arrested, the FBI sent dozens of agents “with automatic weapons and tactical equipment, armored vehicles, and an amphibious unit to execute a pre-dawn raid of his home, where he was with his wife of many years,” notes McEnany.
Keep in mind Stone is a 67-year-old man with multiple health problems. His record was completely clean before the Russia investigation.
When asked if he would rather receive a pardon or a commutation of his sentence, Stone said either decision would save his life: “I have deep concerns about going to a prison where there absolutely is COVID virus, and, therefore, either one would have an effect of saving my life.”
Stone went on to say that President Trump “is aware that the people trying to destroy Michael Flynn, now trying to destroy me, are the people trying to destroy him.” (The Justice Department in May abandoned the case against Flynn after evidence emerged proving the FBI intentionally tried to trick Flynn into committing a crime.)
As expected, Democrats jumped at the opportunity to attack President Trump:
“Donald Trump has abandoned the rule of law and made a mockery of our democracy,” tweeted Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “He truly is the most corrupt president in history.”
“With this commutation, Trump makes clear that there are two systems of justice in America: one for his criminal friends, and one for everyone else,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).
Even Facebook entered the battle by claiming to have removed hundreds of accounts linked to Stone that involved “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
The stunt was obviously designed to reverse the clemency.
Stone described Facebook’s accusations as “defamatory” and plans to sue the social media site. “They’ll have a chance to prove it,” he said. “It is put up or shut up time very soon. They’ll get a chance to show me the illegitimate sites. They don’t exist. I don’t own hundreds of Facebook pages and I never have.”
Author’s Note: Roger Stone is a casualty of the war against Trump and he was convicted for obstructing the investigation of a crime that did not exist. Mueller’s investigation did not produce any charges related to a conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
Trump was right to free Mr. Stone, but we can expect the decision to become a political football in the upcoming election. And let’s not forget how many criminals Obama pardoned right before he left office.