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GOP senator says Trump commuting Stone was a 'mistake'

Republican Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (Pa.) said Saturday that President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE’s decision to commute the prison sentence of Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneCohen on Giuliani: 'Chickens coming home to roost' There was Trump-Russia collusion — and Trump pardoned the colluder On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE “is a mistake.”

“The president clearly has the legal and constitutional authority to grant clemency for federal crimes,” Toomey said in a statement. “However, this authority should be used judiciously and very rarely by any president.”

Stone, a longtime Trump confidant, was convicted of lying to Congress in connection with its investigation into Russia's election interference, witness tampering and obstructing an official proceeding. The Russia investigation, which Trump and his allies have 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.

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“While I understand the frustration with the badly flawed Russia-collusion investigation, in my view, commuting Roger Stone’s sentence is a mistake,” Toomey said, adding that Stone was “duly convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a congressional investigation conducted by a Republican-led committee.”

Toomey noted that in a July 8 interview, Attorney General William BarrBill BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Judge's decision on Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office Trump allies launching nonprofit focused on voter fraud MORE said he thought Stone’s prosecution was “righteous” and “appropriate" and that the sentence he received was “fair.” Barr reportedly advised against the move. 

“Any objections to Mr. Stone’s conviction and trial should be resolved through the appeals process,” Toomey said.

Democrats immediately blasted Trump for the decision on Friday. Before Toomey’s statement Saturday, the only other GOP Senator to criticize the decision was Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Florida's restrictive voting bill signed into law The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE (Utah), who called it “historic corruption.”

Romney, unlike Toomey, has a history being critical of the president and was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump on impeachment charges during the Senate impeachment trial.