Barr recommended Trump not give Stone clemency: report
U.S. Attorney General William Barr recommended that President Trump not grant associate Roger Stone clemency, administration officials told NBC News.
On Friday, the White House commuted the prison sentence of Stone, a longtime Trump confidant who was convicted of lying to Congress in connection with its investigation into Russia’s election interference, witness tampering and obstructing an official proceeding.
Sources told NBC that Barr and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows recommended against the move over concerns of political blowback.
Stone maintained his innocence throughout his trial and attempted to appeal his conviction. Stone was due to report to prison Tuesday before Trump stepped in to commute his sentence.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement announcing the commutation Friday that Stone was charged with “alleged crimes” that resulted “solely” from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s “improper” investigation and that the Republican operative’s imprisonment would put him at “serious medical risk” due to the coronavirus.
“Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man,” McEnany said.
The Russia investigation, which Trump has routinely called a “hoax,” did not conclude that Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election but detailed a series of contacts and found the campaign welcomed Russia’s efforts.
In an interview released July 8, Barr said that he felt Stone’s prosecution was “righteous.”
An administration official told NBC that Barr had nothing to do with the decision to commute Stone’s sentence.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill.
Democrats have accused Barr of political interference in the case against Michael Flynn, the president’s short-lived national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in late 2017.
The DOJ moved to drop Flynn’s charges earlier this year in an extraordinary development as prosecutors said they could no longer prove their case.
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