As anyone could have predicted—and as The Root did just a day ago—President Trump has used the power of his office to commute the sentence of his criminal crony Roger Stone.
As the New York Times reports, on Friday evening Trump issued a statement announcing his decision to stop Stone from facing the legal consequences of a jury finding him guilty of felony crimes—crimes that were not-so-coincidentally related to Trump’s campaign for presidency.
From the Times:
The statement did not assert that Mr. Stone was innocent of the false statements and obstruction counts, only that he should not have been pursued because prosecutors ultimately filed no charges of an underlying conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia. “Roger Stone has already suffered greatly,” it said. “He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”
The commutation, announced late on a Friday, when potentially damaging news is often released, was the latest action by the Trump administration upending the justice system to help the president’s convicted friends.
Ahead of the announcement, Stone had signaled his confidence that the pretend-gangster in the White House would reward him for not ratting, reportedly saying: “He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.”
According to reporter Howard Fineman, Stone had also specified that he wanted a commutation rather than a pardon, as the latter implies guilt.
Stone was sentenced to a 40-month term in federal prison after being convicted of obstructing a congressional investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign, of which he was an advisor. According to the Times, Stone is the first figure directly connected to the president’s campaign to benefit from his clemency power, though Trump’s Justice Department has used its might to protect those in his orbit like former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Democrats have responded to this latest F-U to the rule of law from the Trump Administration by wagging their fingers, vowing to open a House committee investigation into the commutation, and pointing to the election in November as the “ultimate remedy.”
God help us to help ourselves out of this nightmare—because clearly nobody else will.