JULY 11, 2020
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, strongly criticized President Donald Trump’s commutation for longtime friend and former campaign aide Roger Stone, calling it “unprecedented, historic corruption.”
“Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” Romney wrote on Twitter Saturday morning.
Trump granted Stone clemency days before he was to report to prison for a 40-month sentence.
Trump has pardoned allies before, but Stone is the first individual directly connected to Trump’s campaign to receive presidential clemency. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers criticized the move Friday.
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
A statement issued by the White House on Friday called Stone “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,” claiming that prosecutors made “process-based charges” in lieu of “finding evidence of collusion with Russia.”
The Justice Department had found Stone guilty of “obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness” in November. All of the charges came from Stone’s attempts to suppress the House intelligence committee’s investigation of Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election.
This is not the first time that Romney has publicly condemned Trump. When he voted to convict Trump on an impeachment charge in February, he was the only Republican senator to do so, and became the first senator ever to vote against his own party’s president in an impeachment trial.
At the time, Romney said that Trump had committed “an appalling abuse of the public trust.”
Romney also called Trump’s firing of the State Department inspector general in May “unprecedented.” Later that month, Romney called Trump’s attempt to link MSNBC host Joe Scarborough to the death of his former congressional staffer “vile” and “baseless.”
Trump criticized Romney last month for participating in a Black Lives Matter march, at a time when Trump had been receiving criticism over his response to the nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
In April, Romney was the only Republican senator not invited to serve on Trump’s panel to advise on how to reopen the country during the coronavirus pandemic.
Roger Stone, former political advisor to President Donald Trump, arrives for his sentencing hearing at the Federal District Court in Washington on Feb. 20, 2020.
Courtesy/Source: This article originally appeared on USA TODAY