President Trump announced on Thursday that while he believes his friend and long-time ally Roger Stone has a “very good chance of exoneration” he will let the legal process continue to play out before he makes a decision about whether to use his pardon power to exonerate him.
As The Hill reports:
President Trump on Thursday said he believes his longtime confidant Roger Stone “has a very good chance of exoneration,” but that he intends to let the legal process play out after Stone was sentenced to more than three years in prison earlier in the day.
“I’m following this very closely, and I want to see it play out to its fullest because Roger has a very good chance of exoneration in my opinion,” Trump said during remarks at a prisoner graduation event in Las Vegas.
“I’m not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the United States. I want the process to play out,” Trump added. “I think that’s the best thing to do. Because I’d love to see Roger exonerated, and I’d love to see it happen, because I personally believe he was treated very unfairly.”
The president’s comments made clear he was closely monitoring the developments in the Stone case and could consider a pardon for his former associate at some point, while signaling action was not imminent. Such a move would prove divisive at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and among his own advisers who have expressed differing opinions on whether to pardon Stone.
The President’s remarks came only hours after a federal judge sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison for lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a proceeding.