- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 12, 2020

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Sunday said people who care about the rule of law should be “nauseated” by President Trump’s decision, announced late Friday, to commute the sentence of longtime friend and confidante Roger Stone.

“I think anyone who cares about the rule of law in this country is nauseated by the fact that the president has commuted the sentence of someone who willfully lied to Congress, covered up for the president, intimidated witnesses, obstructed the investigation,” Mr. Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Mr. Schiff, California Democrat, said Stone was an “intermediary” for Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian intelligence.

“This effort to get and use foreign assistance is what Roger Stone had information on and he lied to cover up and protect the president,” he said. “The president threw this commutation as basically saying, if you lie for me, if you cover up for me, if you have my back then I will make sure that you get a ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

“Other Americans - different standard. Friends of the president, accomplices of the president - they get off scot-free,” Mr. Schiff said.

Mr. Trump on Saturday said Stone was treated “horribly” and “very unfairly” and denied that he had gone against the advice of Attorney General William P. Barr in granting clemency.

“Take a look at Biden, Sleepy Joe. Take a look at Obama,” Mr. Trump said.”And they spied on Donald Trump’s campaign. Those are the people — let me just tell you something: those are the people that should be in trouble.”

Stone was convicted on seven criminal counts last year, including lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a Congressional investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia ahead of the 2016 election.

He was sentenced to more than three years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded by saying Congress should pass a law saying presidents cannot issue a pardon to a person who is in jail for protecting the president.

Host George Stephanopoulos suggested that such a law might be unconstitutional and Mr. Schiff declined to offer his support.

“There are things that we can do to discourage the abuse of the pardon power,” he said.

He noted that he introduced a bill saying that if a president pardons someone in a case in which they are a witness, subject, or target Congress will then have access to the complete investigative files in the case.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post over the weekend defending his office’s prosecution of Stone.

“The jury ultimately convicted Stone of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness. Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands,” Mr. Mueller said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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