The outrage among opponents of Donald Trump’s decision to convert his longtime friend and notorious Republican fixer Roger Stone to prison is growing, even though the U.S. Attorney General has declared Stones’ belief to be “just.”
The criticism on Saturday came from both sides of the political agenda.
Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and chairman of the House Secret Service Committee ̵
Senator Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, described the decision as “unprecedented historical corruption.”
Trump converted Stone’s verdict on Friday night. He was a former campaign advisor to the President and was due to serve a three-year, four-month sentence on Tuesday.
Stone, 67, was convicted in November 2019 for hindering a Congressional investigation into whether the Trump campaign had worked with Russia to win the 2016 election.
Trump said that Stone was targeted in an “illegal witch hunt,” which prompted global political professor and political columnist Brian Klass to tweet on Saturday, “This is a complete lie. Roger Stone has committed a number of well-documented crimes that are not seriously challenged. “
He added: “This is what despots do: use the law like a weapon to attack political opponents and protect loyal friends. It is a shameful, dark day for American democracy. “
Stone was convicted of seven crimes in November 2019, including obstruction to the judiciary, congressional lies, and witness manipulation in Congress’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone had boasted during the 2016 campaign of being in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange through a trusted intermediary, and citing insider knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release more than 19,000 emails from the Democratic National’s servers Committee were hacked.
Stone did not comment during his trial, did not speak when sentenced, and his lawyers did not call witnesses to defend him.
In a statement released on Friday night, a White House statement said: “Roger Stone has suffered a lot. He was treated very unjustly like many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man! “
Commutation does not erase Stone’s criminal convictions the way a pardon would, but it allows Stone to avoid putting a foot in jail for his crimes.
A presidential pardon would have acknowledged Stone’s guilt, while Trump encouraged Stone to fight his conviction.
Schiff continued on Saturday morning in an interview on NBC: “If you lie for the President, if you cover up the President, you will receive a passport from Donald Trump. That is the message. “
He went on to say that the decision showed that there were two legal rules, “one for Donald Trump’s friends, one for everyone else,” and that the President’s signal was, “It’s okay to lie to Congress as long as it is protects me. ” That can never be okay. “
On Friday evening, house spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, another California Democrat, told CNN that there should be laws that make it illegal for a president to pardon someone if “the crime he is in prison for is by the Protection of the President was caused ”.
This is unlikely and Trump has not pardoned Stone. The constitution gives the president full pardon over individuals.