On Friday, word got out that President Donald Trump was planning to grant clemency to his longtime associate and former campaign adviser Roger Stone.
Trump followed through with that move by commuting Stone’s sentence just days before he was set to report to prison. But new reports are suggesting that not everyone in the president’s circle was pleased with the decision; according to CNBC, Attorney General Bill Barr actually warned against it.
A bad move?
Barr previously said Stone’s prosecution on charges including lying to federal investigators was “righteous,” CNBC noted, and he indicated that he thought Stone’s final sentence of 40 months was fair.
With that in mind, it’s not all that surprising that he didn’t support Trump’s decision to cancel Stone’s prison sentence outright.
Stone had argued that a stint behind bars would be akin to a “death sentence” for him, especially considering his age — 67 — and history of asthma. But despite this, some have suggested Trump’s commutation of Stone was a bad idea politically.
It was for this reason, CNBC alleged, that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows similarly opposed the clemency order.
But it all apparently mattered little to Trump. Stone, meanwhile, was clearly pleased to hear the news.
“The president has saved my life,” Stone said Friday, according to NBC News. “And he’s given me the opportunity to fight for vindication.”
The bottom line
Trump’s detractors are likely right that Democrats will be using this move against him as November’s election draws closer. Dems in Congress could even use it as a means of launching another impeachment inquiry against the president — never mind the fact that the Constitution gives Trump wide pardon powers.
Whether the Dems like it or not, what Trump did isn’t a crime; in fact, it was well within his rights.
But that won’t stop them from trying.
“With this commutation, Trump makes clear that there are two systems of justice in America: one for his criminal friends, and one for everyone else,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said of the move, according to CNBC. Only time will tell if he and other Dems in Congress actually put any actions behind their critical words.