GOP senator says Trump commuting Stone was a 'mistake'

Republican Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyDunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show MORE (Pa.) said Saturday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE’s decision to commute the prison sentence of Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneMatt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid Barr: The left 'believes in tearing down the system' New HBO documentary lets Gaetz, Massie, Buck offer their take on how to 'drain the swamp' 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 BarrKamala Harris: The right choice at the right time Hillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook's Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick Three pros and three cons to Biden picking Harris 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 RomneyDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Trump slams 'rogue' Sasse after criticism of executive actions From a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters 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.