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Politics & Policy

The GOP Response to Trump’s Commutation of Roger Stone’s Prison Sentence

Roger Stone, former campaign adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2019. (Yara Nardi/Reuters)

President Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison term was announced Friday night in the middle of a congressional recess, and very few congressional Republicans have taken it upon themselves to weigh in on the matter.

There were a few exceptions. Utah senator Mitt Romney wrote on Twitter Saturday morning: “Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”

Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey said in a statement on Saturday:

“The president clearly has the legal and constitutional authority to grant clemency for federal crimes. However, this authority should be used judiciously and very rarely by any president. While I understand the frustration with the badly flawed Russia-collusion investigation, in my view, commuting Roger Stone’s sentence is a mistake.

“He was duly convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a congressional investigation conducted by a Republican-led committee. Earlier this week Attorney General Bill Barr stated he thought Mr. Stone’s prosecution was ‘righteous’ and ‘appropriate’ and the sentence he received was ‘fair.’ Any objections to Mr. Stone’s conviction and trial should be resolved through the appeals process.”

Asked for comment on Monday, Nebraska senator Ben Sasse’s spokesman James Wegmann tells National Review: “Senator Sasse believes that Roger Stone is a dirty SOB who earned his jail time by lying and trying to intimidate witnesses.”

South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, on the other hand, defended the commutation. “In my view it would be justified if President @realDonaldTrump decided to commute Roger Stone’s prison sentence. Mr. Stone is in his 70s and this was a non-violent, first-time offense,” Graham wrote on Twitter on Friday night.

You can read National Review‘s editorial on the matter here.

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