Roger Stone received his formal sentence on Thursday, and he was spotted in a waiting calmly in a Washington D.C. restaurant shortly afterward. The federal judge that presided over the case also placed the elderly man on two years of probation, which would include substance abuse testing, community service, and fines. The underlying charges were related to witness intimidation and lying to Congress. The initial recommendation by prosecutors was for 7 to 9 years for the same crimes before the length of this sentence caused controversy and intervention by the president and Attorney General Barr.
Stone did respond to reporters briefly, and he said he was uncertain as to what would happen regarding his sentence and the near future. Trump has commented that he is waiting until the situation plays out entirely before he will decide how to respond. Trump added that he believes that the process has not been fair, and he will attempt to create a fair result.
Representative Gaetz reacts to the possibility of a lengthy sentence for Stone
The Congressman was appearing on the talk show “The View” at the same time as Stone’s sentencing hearing. He clearly stated that Stone should be pardoned and Trump should review the possibilities of pardon powers.
After objections from Meghan McCain, Gaetz pointed out that Trump has only pardoned 26 people so far during his presidency, in contrast to Obama’s 1700 and Bill Clinton’s 459. Even if Trump does get elected to a second term, he is on pace to pardon just under one hundred people in 8 years.
During the interview, Gaetz was also asked about his beliefs related to pardon power, and he said it should be unlimited. He says broad pardon powers are in accord with the original intent of the constitution.
There seems to be a strong undercurrent of suspicion in the Republican party about the motivations behind the Russia election interference investigation, and the idea that anyone who was prosecuted as a result may be facing jail time for political reasons rather than an actual crime. He believes that there has been a double standard where conservatives were investigated for bogus reasons, while the Democrats coming up with these illegitimate allegations have faced no consequences.
Gaetz also addressed concerns from McCain about how potential voters in November’s national election may be alienated by President Trump’s comments that some people consider offensive towards women and other groups. The Congressman pointed to economic success that has been built over the last couple of years, along with the fact that many people who do not agree with Trump on some issues cannot argue with his track record of success.
Sentences for procedural crimes after the investigation
After approximately three years of investigation and taxpayer money spent on looking into Russian collusion in the 2016 national election, all individuals who were prosecuted as a result of those investigations only committed procedural crimes. Democrats claim that certain individuals were uncooperative to the point of criminal behavior, which resulted in charges related to the investigation itself rather than substantive crimes involving a conspiracy or bribery with Russian nationals.