Senate

GOP senator says Trump commuting Stone was a 'mistake'

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) said Saturday that President Trump's decision to commute the prison sentence of Roger Stone "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 Barr 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 Romney (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.

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