President Donald Trump has commuted the 40-month prison sentence of longtime confidant and adviser Roger Stone. A White House statement called the sentence unjust and said Stone had been "a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetrated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency." Stone was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. He was set to surrender to authorities to begin his prison sentence next week. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Trump ally, had tweeted within the hour before the White House announcement that a commutation was justified in that Stone is in his 70s and was a first-time offender. Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat who leads the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted that Stone had lied and intimidated witnesses who might have testified against Trump in the probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and that the commutation of his sentence demonstrates that there are now two systems of justice in the U.S., one for Trump associates and one for everyone else. Journalist and author Howard Fineman reported before the commutation news broke that he'd spoken with Stone earlier Friday and that Stone had said he wanted the commutation rather than a pardon, as the latter implies guilt. "[Trump] knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him," Fineman quoted Stone as having said. "It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn't."
July 10, 2020, 8:17 p.m. EDT