White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany dropped the hammer on Monday when she said President Donald Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence was wholly appropriate and pointed to instances in which former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton used their clemency powers in far more egregious ways, the Washington Examiner reported.
McEnany reminded assembled journalists that Trump “has given 36 pardons and commutations. President Obama gave 1,927,” she said, according to the Examiner.
She also listed several pardons granted by former President Clinton that were controversial, to say the least.
“It can’t get more politically connected with pardons than pardoning your brother, Roger Clinton, as President Clinton did; Susan McDougal, one of your associates who was pardoned for her role in Whitewater; Marc Rich, who gave $450,000 to the Clinton Library, or at least his wife did, donated $1 million to Democrat campaigns, and then he gets a pardon from President Clinton,” McEnany said, according to the Examiner.
McEnany defends Trump
McEnany characterized many of the pardons President Trump has granted thus far in his Oval Office tenure as efforts “to rectify racial disparities in our sentencing.”
“This president is the president of criminal justice reform,” McEnany said, as the Examiner noted. “This president did the FIRST STEP Act. This president has fought for those who are given unduly harsh sentences more than any Democrat who like to talk about it but never actually did it.”
The firebrand press secretary also denied suggestions that convicted offenders have begun approaching the White House directly to seek clemency rather than making their requests through the Department of Justice Pardon Attorney’s Office, according to the Examiner.
Reasonable use of power
President Trump commuted longtime poiltical operative Stone’s sentence last week, prompting immediate outrage in the mainstream media and on the left.
According to Vanity Fair, Stone was indicted as part of the Robert Mueller Russia collusion investigation and convicted of seven criminal counts including witness tampering and lying to investigators.
He was ordered to report to prison and begin serving his sentence despite the coronavirus outbreak and its risk to those with underlying health conditions, a group Stone claimed to be among, as Politico noted.
But according to The Washington Post, Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected Stone’s request to delay the start of his incarceration, finding that his health concerns were under control and that there were no coronavirus cases within the facility to which he had been assigned.
While Democrats and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) have been in high dudgeon over the supposedly “unprecedented, historic corruption” this commutation supposedly represents, the fact remains — as Mueller himself appeared to take pleasure in pointing out — that because President Trump did not grant a pardon in this case, Stone is still a convicted felon and will remain so for the rest of his days.