President Trump subtly distanced himself from his former associate Roger Stone on Tuesday, while also refusing to rule out whether he’d issue Stone, and other convicted members of his 2016 campaign, a presidential pardon.
“I hadn’t thought of it,” Trump told reporters in Florida on Tuesday when asked if he might pardon Stone, who was convicted on all counts last month of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional investigation.
“I think it’s very tough what they did to Roger Stone compared to what they do to other people on their side,” Trump said. “[Stone] got hit very hard, as did General [Michael] Flynn, as did a lot of other people. And now they’re finding out it was all a big hoax.”
Trump went on to claim that “dirty cops” had improperly spied on his campaign, dismissing the findings of the Justice Department inspector general’s report from last month that concluded the Russia investigation was properly launched and there was no evidence of political bias in the scope or direction of probe.
As Trump often does when his former associates find themselves embroiled in legal woes, Trump also subtly distanced himself from his former associate, suggesting Stone didn’t work on his campaign.
“Roger Stone was not involved in my campaign in any way other than the very, very beginning before I think, long before I announced,” he said. While Stone left the campaign in 2015, he remained in close contact with campaign officials about his contacts with WikiLeaks, as prosecutors have alleged.
Stone is scheduled to be sentenced in February, and Flynn is set to be sentenced next month, for lying to the FBI.
"[Roger Stone] got hit very hard, as did General Flynn, as did a lot of other people. And now they're finding out it was all a big hoax" — Trump doesn't rule out pardoning Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, among others pic.twitter.com/MkEU8HEdtU
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 24, 2019