President Trump fueled speculation that he will pardon Roger Stone after he issued an indignant reaction to the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for his former associate.
In an early Tuesday morning tweet, the president called Stone’s a “horrible and very unfair situation,” and remarked that “the real crimes were on the other side.”
President Trump’s comments were a response to federal prosecutors’ recommendation that Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentence Stone to between 87 and 108 months in prison.
The political consultant, author, and Trump ally was convicted in November on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress in relation to the Russian collusion investigation of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In addition to making misleading statements to Congress, the prosecution claimed Stone committed witness tampering by allegedly pressuring his friend, liberal radio host Randy Credico, to refuse to testify before Congress or plead the Fifth Amendment.
Prosecutors contend that Stone hid the truth in order to protect the Trump campaign — even though the Mueller probe itself, upon its conclusion in May of last year, did not find evidence of collusion and even declared that it “does not conclude that the President committed a crime.”
That begs the question: If there was no crime, then how was Stone attempting to cover up a crime?
Two of the government prosecutors in the Robert Stone case, Aaron Zelinsky and Adam Jed, are former members of Mueller’s staff. There were also several veterans of the Mueller team in the courtroom gallery as spectators during opening and closing statements.
Stone was arrested January 25, 2019 in a pre-dawn raid by 29 FBI agents at his Fort Lauderdale home. Stone said of the arrest that authorities arrived “with a greater force than was used to take down Bin Laden, or El Chapo, or Pablo Escobar, to terrorize my wife and my dogs — it's unconscionable.”
Sentencing is scheduled for February 20. It is not yet certain whether the president will issue a pardon, although some took the Tuesday tweet as a signal that he will eventually do so.
Washington Post columnist and political scientist Brian Klaas said the president appears to be “hinting at floating a pardon.”
Politico’s Josh Gerstein also opined that there is a likelihood a pardon is on the way, comparing Stone’ situation to that of former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom President Trump pardoned in 2017.
Brad Moss, a national security attorney, expressed confidence that not only will President Trump pardon Stone, but he will pardon former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn as well.
Lieutenant General Flynn, an early ally of the president, pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI in relation to the Mueller Russia probe. His sentencing has been deferred several times and is currently slated to take place on February 27.
Last month, Flynn filed a motion seeking permission to withdraw his guilty plea. Later, he requested he be sentenced to probation and community service if the withdraw request is not granted.
U.S. Attorney John H. Durham is currently investigating the origins of the Russia probe under the direction of Attorney General William Barr. The probe is seen as a response to the Justice Department Inspector General’s report from December, which found a number of errors in the handling of the FBI’s use of surveillance warrants to monitor the Trump campaign.
IG Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report came short of saying that government investigators deliberately targeted the Trump team for political reasons.
Barr disagreed with Horowitz’s assessment, saying in a statement:
The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source.
Roger Stone has earned a reputation as a “dirty trickster” for his abrasive tactics as a political operative. Stone suggested Donald Trump run for president back in 1998 while working as the building tycoon’s casino business lobbyist.
President Trump has extended 17 presidential pardons to date.
Photo: AP Images
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.