Matthew Whitaker said this Sunday, July 12, that Democrats, celebrities, and others’ reaction when the president decided to commute Roger Stone’s sentence a day before the sentence went into effect is somewhat unfounded.
On Fox & Friends Weekend, Whitaker said these people are trying to score cheap political points. “Let’s remember that the president has broad constitutional powers,” the lawyer said.
The former acting attorney general’s clarification comes after several personalities came out to attack the president for using his power to commute Mr. Stone’s sentence. He was accused of lying to Congress and obstructing justice during the investigation of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller.
Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 11, 2020
“The people that don’t like President Trump are going to criticize him as they always do, and President Trump, in spite of that, is going do what he thinks is right.,” Whitaker said.
Pete Hegseth, one of the hosts, made a comparison with the previous administration, where Obama performed 1715 commutations in his two presidential terms, while President Trump only used that power 11 times, including Stone.
In January 2017, before leaving his post in the White House, Barack Obama commuted Oscar Lopez, a member of the National Liberation Army (FALN), accused of leading that group to carry out terrorist attacks in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Puerto Rico. Some 100 deaths are attributed to the FALN, according to a Fox News article.
Another controversial case is that of Bradley Manning, who later became Chelsea Manning. The former military man was convicted of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents containing confidential government information to Wikileaks. Obama commuted his/her 35-year prison sentence before retiring. Many considered Mannings crimes treasonous.
Whitaker said President Trump’s consideration of commuting Stone’s sentence was well-founded because of the 87-year-old man’s health problems and that his trial was not fair, as required by law.
Roger Stone’s background
Roger Stone, a veteran Republican political consultant whose beginnings go back as far as the presidency of Ronald Reagan, was involved in the campaign for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential race.
In the FBI investigation by Robert Mueller, which President Trump calls the “Russia Hoax,” Mr. Stone was accused of having had contact via Twitter with a “Russian intelligence agent.’ The accusations are vague, no evidence was presented, and President Trump was eventually acquitted after no evidence was found that he had plotted with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: “Roger Stone is a victim of the Russian Deception that the Left and its media allies have perpetuated for years in their attempt to damage Trump’s presidency. … The alleged conspiracy was never more than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the results of the 2016 election.”