“I’m not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the United States, I want the process play out, I think that’s the best thing to do,” Trump said in Las Vegas. “Because I’d love to see Roger exonerated and I’d love to see it happen because I personally think he was treated very unfairly.”
Stone was convicted on all seven counts of an indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness, and obstructing the House investigation into Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election season.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, denied that Stone was being punished for his politics or allies, saying that “he was not prosecuted, as some have claimed, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”
Earlier this week, Trump told reporters that he hasn’t given “any thought” to commuting Stone’s sentence, but said that “somebody has to stick up for the people.” At the same time, the Department of Justice last week withdrew his initial recommended sentence of seven-to-nine years in prison, prompting Democrats to call for investigations and hearings.
In the wake of the judge’s decision, several top Democrats reacted to a potential presidential pardon to Stone, who was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one of Trump’s leading opponents in Congress, wrote on Twitter that Stone’s sentencing on Thursday was “justified” and said that if Trump pardons Stone, “when his crimes were committed to protect Trump [it] would be a breathtaking act of corruption.”
“If President Trump pardons Roger Stone, it’ll be a green light to Trump’s accomplices to keep breaking the law & covering up for him. If any Republican actually cares about preserving rule of law—they’ll take their head out of the sand & stand up to Trump,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter.
Stone chose not to speak when he was given the opportunity in a Washington court and showed no emotion when the sentence was read aloud.
His attorney, Seth Ginsberg, downplayed the charges against him and said there was no planning involved in the obstruction conviction.
Stone’s case doesn’t end with the sentencing as Jackson indicated this week that she would delay the implementation of his penalty until after she decides whether he should get a new trial.