Adam Schiff, Californian Democrat and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee – Congress panel Stone convicted of lying about certain aspects of the Trump-Russia investigation – called the decision “destructive of the system of criminal justice and the rule of law ”Saturday. Morning.
Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, called the decision “unprecedented historic corruption.”
Trump commuted Stone’s sentence Friday night. He was a former campaign adviser to the president and was due to serve a three-year, four-month prison sentence on Tuesday.
Stone, 67, was convicted in November 2019 of obstructing a Congressional investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia to win the 2016 elections.
Trump said Stone was targeted in an “illegal witch hunt,” which prompted professor and global political columnist Brian Klass to tweet on Saturday: “This is a complete lie. Roger Stone has committed a series of well documented crimes which are not seriously contested. ”
He added, “This is what the despots do: wield the law as a weapon to attack political opponents and protect loyal friends. It is a shameful and dark day for American democracy. ”
Stone was convicted in November 2019 of seven crimes, including obstructing justice, lying to Congress and falsifying witnesses in the congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone boasted during the 2016 campaign that he was in contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange through a trusted intermediary and had alluded to internal knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to publish more 19,000 hacked emails from the servers of the National Democratic Committee.
Stone did not speak at his trial, did not speak at the time of his conviction and his lawyers did not call any witnesses for the defense.
In a statement released Friday evening, a statement from the White House said, “Roger Stone has already suffered a lot. He was treated very unfairly, like many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man! ”
Switching doesn’t erase Stone’s crime convictions like a pardon, but it does allow Stone to avoid setting foot in jail for his crimes.
A presidential pardon would have recognized Stone’s guilt, while Trump encouraged Stone to fight his conviction.
Schiff continued, in an interview with NBC on Saturday morning, “If you lie for the president, if you hide for the president … you get a pass from Donald Trump.” This is the message. ”
He continued that the ruling showed that there were two rules of law, “one for Donald Trump’s friends, one for everyone” and that the president’s signal was that “it is okay to lie in Congress so long that it was to protect me. ” It can never be OK. ”
Chamber Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another California Democrat, told CNN on Friday evening that there should be a law prohibiting a president from forgiving someone if “the crime he is in prison for” was caused by the protection of the president. ”
It is unlikely to happen, and Trump has not forgiven Stone. The constitution grants the president full power of grace over individuals.