- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2020

President Trump said Thursday he won’t pardon Roger Stone, for now, but thinks his friend has “a very good chance of full exoneration” in the courts.

“I’m not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed on the president of the United States,” Mr. Trump said in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I want the process to play out. I’d love to see Roger exonerated. I personally think he was treated very unfairly.”

Addressing a graduating class of former prison inmates, the president spoke at length about “dirty cops” in the Justice Department and the FBI who prosecuted members of his 2016 campaign team. Stone was sentenced Thursday to 40 months in prison for lying to investigators and obstruction.

“Roger was never involved in the Trump campaign for president,” the president said. “Early on, before I announced, he may have done a little consulting work or something. He’s a person who knows a lot of people having to do with politics.”

The president said of Stone’s trial, “It’s my strong opinion that the forewoman of the jury … is totally tainted.”

But he said he won’t get involved in the case for now.

“We want to have a great and fair court system,” said Mr. Trump, who criticized the Justice Department last week for planning to recommend a sentence of seven to nine years for Stone.

The president said the jury forewoman is Stone’s case “was an anti-Trump activist.”

“It is my strong opinion that the foreign woman of the jury, the woman who was in charge of the jury, is totally tainted,” Mr. Trump said. “Now I don’t know if this is a fact, but she had a horrible social media account. She didn’t reveal that when she was chosen.”

The president asked his audience, “Does this undermine our fair system of justice? How can you have a person like this?”

The president made it clear that he is open to pardoning Stone if he’s not exonerated in the courts.

“I’m going to watch it very closely and at some point, I’ll make a determination,” Mr. Trump said. “Everybody has to be treated fairly, and this has not been a fair process.”

“I know Roger, but a lot of people know Roger. Everybody sort of knows Roger,” he said. “What happened to him is unbelievable. They say he lied, but other people lied, too. Just to mention, Comey lied. McCabe lied. Lisa Page lied. Her lover, Peter Strzok, lied. You don’t know who these people are? Just trust me.”

The president was referring to former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe and two FBI agents who expressed anti-Trump sentiments in text messages to each other while carrying on an affair.

“We had a lot of dirty cops,” Mr. Trump said of the investigation against his campaign. “The FBI is phenomenal. I love the FBI. But the people at the top are dirty cops. Maybe there was tampering and maybe there wasn’t. But I can tell you there was tremendous lying and leaking.”

He also took another shot at his 2016 Democratic presidential opponent, who wasn’t prosecuted by the FBI after a probe of classified information on her private servers when she was secretary of state.

“Hillary Clinton leaked more classified documents, I believe, than any human being in the United States of America,” Mr. Trump said.

The jury forewoman in the Stone case, Tomeka Hart, had several social media posts that were critical of Mr. Trump.

But another Stone trial juror, Seth Cousins, said on CNN that Ms. Hart was “perhaps the strongest advocate in the room for a rigorous process, for the rights of the defendant and for making sure that we took it seriously and looked at each charge.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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