- Donald Trump has praised his own decision to pardon Roger Stone, his former campaign adviser convicted of seven crimes
- Stone was sentenced to prison after being convicted of obstructing an investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia
- Special counsel Robert Mueller, who led the investigation into collusion, said Stone was a felon and criticised the President’s decision to pardon his crimes
- Democrats and even some Republicans have agreed, condemning the move to release Stone
- However, the U.S. President maintains the initial investigation was a ‘witch hunt’ and Stone should never have been charged
Donald Trump said he’s received ‘rave reviews’ after pardoning his former campaign advisor Roger Stone and commuting his prison sentence.
Stone was convicted of seven crimes in November 2019 after obstructing an investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia.
The investigation into collusion was overseen by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and ran for two years, before ultimately concluding the President couldn’t be charged.
But, it did lead to six Trump aides — including Stone — being found guilty of charges relating to the investigation.
However, the U.S. President announced on Friday, July 10, he would commute his longtime ally’s 40-month jail sentence for obstructing the investigation.
The move sparked instant criticism, including from the man responsible for sending Stone to jail, Robert Mueller.
In an opinion piece for the Washington Post published on Saturday, July 11, the former special counsel said Stone was a criminal.
“Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” he wrote.
Trump’s move to commute the sentence also sparked furious rebukes from Democratic leaders, including Presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“President Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of top campaign advisor, Roger Stone, who could directly implicate him in criminal misconduct, is an act of staggering corruption,” said Speaker Pelosi.
“President Trump has once again abused his power, releasing this commutation on a Friday night, hoping to yet again avoid scrutiny as he lays waste to the norms and the values that make our country a shining beacon to the rest of the world,” said Biden spokesman Bill Russo.
Several Republicans, Trump’s own party, also criticised his decision, including senior GOP figure Mitt Romney.
Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 11, 2020
In the face of this criticism, the U.S. President remains unfazed as Trump, and his allies, have long criticised Mueller’s investigation as a ‘witch hunt.’
In a statement released after Trump’s decision on Friday, the White House said Stone should never have been charged.
‘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,” the statement read.
“There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia,” it added.
In a speech today, President Trump went one step further and said he had received rave reviews for pardoning Stone.
This latest saga to the Mueller investigation comes less than four months out from the next U.S. Presidential election.
Americans will head to the polls on November 3, 2020, to decide if Trump will remain as President for a second term.