If media pundits could use exclamation points, they surely would. A day after President Trump's commutation of Roger Stone's sentence, words like "outrage" and "unforgivable" are blazing across the media landscape in op-eds, tweets, and TV interviews. To recap, the president commuted the sentence of his longtime confidant, who was facing three years and four months for lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. The commutation differs from a pardon by voiding Stone's prison sentence, not his criminal record, per the BBC. Among the reactions, including Trump's:
- Mitt Romney: "Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president."
- The Washington Post editorial board: "The United States is supposed to be a place in which laws apply equally to all. And while it never has—and never will—live up to that ideal in full, no modern president before Mr. Trump has so clearly renounced it."
- Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg: "Clemency for a crony convicted of interfering with an investigation of presidential malfeasance is a flagrant abuse of power. President Richard Nixon wasn't willing to pardon the Watergate criminals who broke into Democratic Party offices in the run-up to the 1972 presidential campaign because he knew how bad it would look."
- Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker: "Trump had not, until now, used pardons and commutations to reward defendants who possessed incriminating information against him. The Stone commutation isn't just a gift to an old friend—it is a reward to Stone for keeping his mouth shut during the Mueller investigation."
- Corey Lewandowski: "Look, Roger Stone was clearly targeted by an unfair prosecution," he told Fox News. "Look, I'm not the biggest fan of Roger Stone. ... But, the way he was treated by this government should scare the hell out of every American."
- President Trump: "Roger Stone was targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place. It is the other side that are criminals, including Biden and Obama, who spied on my campaign—AND GOT CAUGHT!"
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