Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence 2:20
(WAB NEWS) – President Donald Trump’s decision late on Friday to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, his longtime political confidant, sparked habitual outrage from Democrats and silence from Republicans. This is yet another rule broken by a man who seems to delight in doing things that no one who has had the same job in the past would consider doing.
And then the people, well, more or less went on. Trump and his team began an orchestrated – and overreaching – attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The President played golf and used Twitter to defend his right to do so. New polls were revealed showing Trump in trouble in three pro-Republican states now battling coronavirus spikes.RELATED
He is a patron of Trump and his government that is already familiar. The President does or says something totally outrageous. Everyone is scared for 24 hours. And then he does something else scandalous, and the previous indignation is forgotten or neglected. Lather, rinse, repeat.
However, Stone’s commutation should not be forgotten or replaced by the latest scandal on duty so quickly. Because in addition to representing misuse of presidential power, it will also have a long-term impact on how future presidents view their powers of forgiveness and commutation of sentences.
Consider why Stone was convicted by a peer jury: seven counts, including lying to Congress about his contacts with Trump campaign employees regarding the publication of a series of emails stolen from the servers of the Democratic National Committee for the Russians and later published on WikiLeaks.
This excerpt written by CNN about the initial indictment filed by the office of attorney Robert Mueller against Stone nicely exposes the indictment:
“On October 7, 2016, after WikiLeaks launched its first group of emails from then-Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, prosecutors say Stone received a text message from ‘an associate of a high-ranking official of the Trump campaign ‘that said’ well done ‘, stating that the Trump campaign was involved in Stone’s search for material on the Democrats. ”
“The associate and senior campaign employee are not named in the complaint, although the indictment describes how Stone told a journalist that what Assange had in the unpublished emails was good for the Trump campaign. Stone replied at the time: ‘I would say (to the high-ranking employee of the Trump campaign), but he does not call me back.’ ”
“An email matching that wording posted by The New York Times shows that the official Stone was referring to was Steve Bannon.
“After the Oct. 7 posts, Stone boasted to ‘senior Trump Campaign officials’ that he had correctly predicted the published data, prosecutors say.”
Stone repeatedly insisted publicly, and in testimony before Congress, that he had not attempted to contact WikiLeaks and had not attempted to serve as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the publication of the emails, which were meant to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Then there is the fact that Stone was convicted of trying to manipulate a witness, radio host Randy Credico, in the Mueller investigation. Stone urged Credico, who he said was his private channel for WikiLeaks, to lie to investigators in Congress. Stone also threatened Credico, suggesting that if he did not, he would take his therapy dog, Bianca, and text him saying, “Prepare to die.”
These are not minor offenses. Let’s be very clear about what Stone did: He lied to Congress about his efforts to find out what WikiLeaks had in terms of hacked emails that were designed to harm Clinton. He also threatened to kill someone, unless that person lied to Congress about the nature of his role in the WikiLeaks information pipeline.
As Mueller wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post over the weekend:
“A jury later found that (Stone) repeatedly lied to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his broker with WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying that he had contacted the Trump campaign regarding the timing of the WikiLeaks posts. In fact, he updated senior members of the WikiLeaks campaign repeatedly. And he manipulated a witness, imploring him to oppose Congress. “
And now Stone has been rewarded with a commutation of what would be a 40-month prison sentence beginning Tuesday, not because he didn’t do what he was convicted of, but because
a) remained loyal to Trump (“There is no circumstance under which he can give false testimony against the President,” Stone said when he was formally charged) and
b) His conviction influenced Trump’s deep-seated resentments that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election to help him in any way invalidates his victory.
“Roger Stone is a victim of the Russian Deception that the left and its media allies perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency,” says the official White House statement on Stone’s commutation. “There was never collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Government, and Russia. Such collusion was never more than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the result of the 2016 elections, ”he adds.
(Other point: from the strange capital letters to the tone of the statement, it seems clear that Trump wrote it or played an important role in its construction.)
Stone will not only not go to jail. He seems ready to spend the next four months on a sort of victory tour for Trump: a living, breathing example of how the President can triumph over the so-called “Deep State.” This victory tour begins Monday night with an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Stone also told Axios on Sunday that he plans to write a book “about this ordeal, once and for all, to end the myth of Russian collusion,” and will campaign for the president in the fall.
It’s an amazing thing, with a deeply troublesome underlying message.
What message? Utah Senator Mitt Romney put it best in a tweet Saturday:
“Unprecedented Historic Corruption: A US President Commutes the Sentence of a Person Convicted by a Jury for Lying to Protect That Same President.”