roger stone

Commuting of Roger Stones jail sentence under scrutiny  

A judge has demanded more information about US president Donald Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence of ally and friend Roger Stone.

Mueller defends Russia probe, says Stone remains a felon   7%

Former special counsel Robert Mueller sharply defended his investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, writing in a newspaper opinion piece on July 11 that the probe was of "paramount importance'' and asserting that a Trump ally, Roger Stone, "remains a convicted felon, and rightly so" despite the president's decision to commute his prison sentence.

Trumps Most Brazen Reprieve Yet   10%

Forget Bernie Kerik, Scooter Libby, Michael Milken—even Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This was the presidential reprieve President Donald Trump’s critics feared most.

Trump’s move tonight to commute the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, nearly five months after a federal judge sentenced him to more than three years in prison, was surely the least surprising of his many high-profile acts of executive clemency. The president, after all, had been complaining about Stone’s prosecution from the start; had telegraphed by tweet his displeasure with the Department of Justice’s sentencing recommendation; and had tried to browbeat Judge Amy Berman Jackson into granting Stone a new trial.

But the seeming inevitability of Trump’s decision made it no less brazen. Stone was more than a political ally of the president, like Arpaio. He was not just a friend of a friend, like Kerik, Libby, and Milken—whose pardons were encouraged privately by Trump’s buddies or via public endorsements from the president’s fans on Fox News. Stone was a longtime confidant of Trump, but he was more than that. To the president’s critics, he was an accomplice to Trump’s crimes, convicted of lying to Congress and threatening a witness in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which directly involved Trump and his campaign. As Jackson noted in explaining her sentence, Stone “was not prosecuted for standing up for the president; he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”

The official reprieve came on a Friday evening. “Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump presidency,” read a White House statement explaining Trump’s decision. “Mr. Stone 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.”

The president’s clemency power allows him to commute any federal sentence as well as to grant pardons. Because Trump is not fully pardoning Stone, he can proceed with an appeal of his conviction that could allow him to clear his name, at least in the eyes of the law. “Mr. Stone, like every American, deserves a fair trial and every opportunity to vindicate himself before the courts,” the White House said. “The president does not wish to interfere with his efforts to do so.”

Jackson, a veteran judge and an appointee of President Barack Obama, knew in February that the punishment she was handing down could very well be quickly and irrevocably lifted by a president who was watching her decision closely. All four prosecutors on Stone’s case had withdrawn from their roles after Attorney General William Barr intervened to force the Justice Department to revise its original sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years. Yet when a new team of prosecutors showed up in court for Stone’s sentencing, they defended their predecessors’ original, harsher request. Jackson pressed the prosecutors to account for the department’s dueling recommendations, but they refused to discuss “internal deliberations.”

[Read: A brief history of Roger Stone]

Jackson said her decision was not influenced by political pressure. In a lengthy speech before handing down Stone’s sentence, she called out Trump’s comments as “entirely inappropriate.” And she defended the investigation and prosecution of Stone in language that echoed the laments of Trump opponents, who say the president and his allies have waged an assault on the very idea of truth. “The truth still exists. The truth still matters,” she said. “The dismay and disgust at the defendant’s belligerence should transcend party.”

Yet, ultimately, the judge sided with Barr, determining that the prosecutors’ recommendation of a longer sentence was more “than necessary” and giving Stone a prison term less than half as long as the original request. This should not have been a surprise; in March 2019, Jackson gave a similarly mid-range sentence to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, after his conviction for fraud and other crimes. But if Jackson’s sentence offered Trump a way out of using his clemency power, he ignored it.

The president did not act when Stone was sentenced but waited until just days before he was to report to prison. Citing the coronavirus pandemic, the 67-year-old Stone had asked Judge Jackson whether he could delay the start of his sentence—already pushed back from April until June—to September 1. Jackson granted him only a two-week reprieve, but Trump took care of the rest.

Although not surprised, Democrats nonetheless reacted angrily to the news. “With Trump there are now two systems of justice in America: One for Trump’s criminal friends and one for everyone else,” tweeted Representative Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats have no plans to try to again impeach a president they hope to defeat in November, but Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chairman of the party’s House caucus, bluntly warned Trump that he could be indicted as soon as he leaves office.

A defining trait of Trump as president is his disdain for constraints of any kind. He has raged at courts that have ruled against him, and he has chafed at—and occasionally gone around—Congress when it ignores his wishes. Trump appears to love his clemency power precisely because it is the most pure and unadulterated authority granted to the president by the Constitution. It is final and unappealable. Congress can’t stop it; a future president can’t undo it; the Supreme Court cannot review it.

In the summer of 2018, I asked Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler of New York, who was then vacillating on the question of whether Trump should be impeached, to name something that the president could do that he thought would surely merit his removal from office. Nadler was not yet the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Special Counsel Robert Mueller had not yet delivered his voluminous report on election interference, and Trump had not yet had his fateful phone call with the president of Ukraine. Yet the first example Nadler gave was a pardon.

He told me a story about the 1788 convention where Virginia decided to ratify the Constitution. The delegates were discussing the pardon power when one of them suggested that it was too broad and should be narrowed. “What if the president engaged in a criminal conspiracy and pardoned his co-conspirators?” the delegate asked, according to Nadler. “And James Madison answered, ‘Well, that could never happen, because a president who did that would be instantly impeached.’”

The Framers, Nadler concluded, “viewed the impeachment power as a limitation on the pardon power.”

Tonight, Trump stepped in to save a man convicted of lying to Congress in order to protect the president. And what galls and frustrates his critics is the realization that the one check Congress has on that particular power is the move it has already unsuccessfully deployed.

Trump news President demands extradition of former MI6 officer as Mitt Romney condemns Roger Stones commuted sentence as historic corruption   -1%

Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of long-time confidant and political ally Roger Stone, with a White House statement claiming he "is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency".

Trump to consider pardon for Roger Stone   -65%

'I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated,' president said before day-long trip to swing state Florida

Roger Stone speaks in Fox News interview after Trump commutation   10%

Donald Trump’s longtime confidant repeatedly thanked the president while calling the Mueller investigation ‘a goose egg’

Donald Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone gushed over his political allies during an interview on Fox News on Monday, his first major television appearance since the president commuted Stone’s prison sentence on Friday.

Stone had been convicted of seven felony counts – including obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering in the congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election – and was sentenced to more than three years in jail. The president, in defending his commutation, said Stone was treated “very unfairly”.

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Donald Trump: 'I'm getting rave reviews' for commuting Roger Stone's sentence video  

Trump has claimed he received 'rave reviews' for commuting the prison sentence of Roger Stone, his long-time ally. Stone, 67, was convicted in November 2019 of obstructing a congressional investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. Both Democrats and Republicans have criticised the move as a miscarriage of justice

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Mueller breaks silence following Roger Stone commutation   11%

The former special counsel investigating Russian ties in the 2016 Trump election campaign has defended the work of his team after Trump gave clemency to Roger Stone.

Critics condemn Trump for commuting Roger Stone's jail sentence  

Democrats accused President Donald Trump of abusing his power after commuting the sentence of his longtime confidant and friend Roger Stone.

Robert Mueller breaks year-long silence after Donald Trump commutes prison sentence of felon Roger Stone   7%

Former special counsel Robert Mueller sharply defended his investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, writing in a newspaper opinion piece that the probe was of “paramount importance” and asserting that a Trump ally, Roger Stone, “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so” despite the president’s decision to commute his prison sentence.The op-ed in The Washington Post marked Mueller’s first public statement on his investigation since his congressional…

Trump commutes prison sentence of long-time ally Roger Stone   30%

US President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of his long-time political confidant Roger Stone on Friday, just days before he was set to report to prison. Democrats denounced the move as just another in a series of unprecedented interventions by the president in the nation’s justice system.Stone had been sentenced in February to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House of Representatives’ investigation into whether the Trump…

The Roger Stone Case Shows Why Trump Is Worse Than Nixon   17%

Jeffrey Toobin writes about President Donald Trump’s commuting of Roger Stone’s prison sentence, which rewards Stone for helping the President during the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of his 2016 campaign and Russian interests.

Post-Roger Stone: Ten ideas for repairing Trumps justice system  

Roger Stone's pardon is only part of the problem

In 11th-hour commutation, Trump liberates Roger Stone  

President Trump commuted longtime friend Roger Stone's sentence just days before Mr. Stone was set to report to prison.

Robert Mueller defends Russia probe and points out Roger Stone remains a felon   7%

A day after President Trump commuted the prison sentence of his longtime confidante Roger Stone, former special counsel Robert Mueller III broke his silence to sharply defend the prosecution and his investigation into ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump commutes prison sentence for Roger Stone  

President Trump has commuted the prison sentence of Roger Stone, a longtime advisor and Republican operative who was convicted of lying to Congress and trying to interfere with a witness during the Russia investigation.

Column: It's Roger Stone's Republican Party now   27%

Mitt Romney and Pat Toomey have stepped up, but the majority on the right are not just willing but thrilled to excuse Trump's inexcusable commutation of Roger Stone's sentence.

There's still a way to prosecute Roger Stone   6%

To almost no one's surprise, days before Roger Stone's prison sentence was about to begin, President Donald Trump has spared his long-time political crony from the pen — late Friday, Mr. Trump commuted Stone's sentence. It is time for New York prosecutors to answer this latest assault by Trump on the rule of law: They should ready a state prosecution of Stone.

Roger Stone denies he protected Trump to secure commutation of sentence   8%

Longtime President Donald Trump friend and political adviser Roger Stone said Monday evening that he had not protected the President in exchange for a commutation, in his first TV interview since Trump commuted his prison sentence last week.

Mueller considered speaking up earlier against Trump and Barr's attacks, sources say   11%

Former special counsel Robert Mueller chose to break his silence and defend his investigation this weekend after weeks of contemplating doing so, in part because an inflammatory and factually incorrect White House statement attacked his prosecution of President Donald Trump's ally Roger Stone, according to multiple sources familiar with the Mueller team.

Romney: Stone commutation 'unprecedented, historic corruption'  

President Donald Trump commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone, who was convicted of crimes that included lying to Congress in part, prosecutors said, to protect the President.

The people who sit by while Trump sets Roger Stone free  

Law professors Jennifer Taub and Joshua A. Geltzer write that Donald Trump's "lawless commutation" of Roger Stone's sentence is a smoking gun equivalent of the Watergate tapes -- and that Republican senators should impeach the President for it.

Trump commutes prison sentence of longtime friend Roger Stone   -1%

President Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of his longtime political confidant Roger Stone, intervening in extraordinary fashion in a criminal case that was central to the Russia investigation and that concerned the president's own conduct.