Democrats weren’t happy to learn Friday that President Donald Trump had moved to commute the prison sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone. Now, it seems they’re preparing to do something about it.
In a statement published Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confirmed that “Congress will take action” in response to what she called “an act of staggering corruption” by Trump, as The Epoch Times reported.
“Congress will take action to prevent this type of brazen wrongdoing,” Pelosi wrote in her statement. “Legislation is needed to ensure that no President can pardon or commute the sentence of an individual who is engaged in a cover-up campaign to shield that President from criminal prosecution.”
“The president has saved my life”
Stone, for his part, was found guilty of misleading federal investigators during their inquiry into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign team, for which Stone served as an adviser. But Fox News later reported that there were serious irregularities in Stone’s trial.
Stone has long pointed to alleged bias on the part of the judge and jury involved in his case, and as he prepared to report to prison this Tuesday, the 67-year-old also brought up concerns about contracting the coronavirus while incarcerated, as ABC News reported.
Reacting to the news of his commutation Friday night, Stone thanked Trump for what he called a life-saving move.
“The president has saved my life,” Stone said, according to NBC News. “And he’s given me the opportunity to fight for vindication.”
Stone explained in earlier remarks that he “had very, very severe asthma as a child. If you look at the profile of those who are most at risk [from COVID-19], I think I fit that,” Stone said, as NBC reported.
“A victim of the Russia hoax”
The White House has also defended Trump’s actions, with Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany calling Stone “a victim of the Russia hoax” in a statement published Friday.
“Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency,” McEnany wrote, according to Fox News. She went on:
There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia. Such collusion was never anything other than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the result of the 2016 election. The collusion delusion spawned endless and farcical investigations, conducted at great taxpayer expense, looking for evidence that did not exist.
A look ahead
Of course, Pelosi didn’t agree with McEnany’s characterization. In her statement, the House speaker pointed to Stone’s alleged “grave crimes” to explain why he didn’t deserve a reprieve. “All who commit these illegal acts should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” she wrote.
But while Pelosi may want to hold Trump accountable for what she sees as an injustice, any bill put forth to crack down on Trump’s pardon power would likely face a challenge in the courts. The Constitution gives the president broad authority to pardon Americans for all types of offenses — whether Democrats like it or not.