Republican Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (Pa.) said Saturday that President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE’s decision to commute the prison sentence of Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneWhite House orders release of Trump records to Jan. 6 committee Bannon says he discussed how to 'kill this administration in the crib' with Trump before Jan. 6 Roger Stone served with Capitol riot lawsuit during radio interview 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.
“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 BarrMeadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ 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 RomneyIn Montana, a knock-down redistricting fight over a single line Trump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature The Memo: Conservatives change their tune on big government 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.