President Donald Trump said Friday he is considering a pardon for longtime Republican operative Roger Stone, who is scheduled to report to prison next week.
Stone, who was not charged with any underlying crimes related to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was found guilty of lying to investigators and witness tampering last year.
But Stone is holding out hope that Trump, his longtime friend, will grant him some form of clemency.
Trump, who has been a friend and ally of Stone for decades, could oblige him.
“I’ll be looking at it,” Trump said outside the White House on Friday when asked if he was going to pardon Stone.
“I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated, as were many people,” the president added.
Trump also criticized those who allegedly initiated the investigation which eventually led to Stone’s conviction.
“And in the meantime, [former FBI Director James] Comey and all these guys are walking around,” Trump said, “including [former Vice President Joe] Biden and [former President Barack] Obama, because we caught them spying on my campaign. Who would have believed that?”
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Stone told Fox News this week that he is praying for a presidential intervention.
The 67-year-old, who also told RealClearPolitics he has a history of respiratory problems, suggested he had no preference between a pardon or a commutation, noting that “either one obviously would have an effect, in my opinion, of saving my life.”
“I have deep concerns about going to a prison where there absolutely is COVID virus, and, therefore, either one would have an effect of saving my life,” Stone told Fox.
“If I should be fortunate enough to get a commutation, I would continue to fight for vindication,” he added.
There was speculation from many on social media Friday that a pardon or commutation could come as early as Friday night.
A separate report from Fox News appeared to confirm that news.
“Sources told Fox News Friday that the president could announce a commutation of Stone’s sentence as early as Friday evening,” the network reported.
NBC News analyst Howard Fineman said he spoke with Stone on Friday, and that Stone would prefer a commutation over a pardon.
“Just had a long talk with #RogerStone. He says he doesn’t want a pardon (which implies guilt) but a commutation, and says he thinks #Trump will give it to him. ‘He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t,’” Fineman tweeted.
Just had a long talk with #RogerStone. He says he doesn’t want a pardon (which implies guilt) but a commutation, and says he thinks #Trump will give it to him. “He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.”
— howardfineman (@howardfineman) July 10, 2020
Stone told Fox that he has not been in contact with the White House about the matter.
“The president, who I’ve known for 40 years, has an incredible sense of fairness. He is aware that the people trying to destroy Michael Flynn, now trying to destroy me, are the people trying to destroy him,” he said.
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