President Trump teased the possibility of exonerating Roger Stone within hours of the longtime GOP operative being sentenced to 40 months in prison Thursday for lying to Congress in the Russia probe.
While delivering a commencement speech to graduates of a prison reentry program in Las Vegas, Trump addressed Stone’s sentencing, which he said he has been following “very closely,” before suggesting that an exoneration is imminent.
“I want to see it play out to its fullest because Roger has a very good chance of exoneration, in my opinion,” Trump said, before praising Stone for being “a character” and someone who “everybody sort of knows.”
“Most people like him — some people probably don’t. But I do and I always have,” Trump said. “He is a smart guy. He is a little different. But those are sometimes the most interesting. But he is a good person. His family is fantastic.”
Trump asserted that Stone wasn’t involved in his 2016 presidential campaign despite how he “knows a lot of people having to do with politics,” before he went on to repeat his attacks against the forewoman of the federal jury in the Stone case. Last week, Trump tweeted that the jury foreperson — who identified herself in a Facebook post the day before Trump’s tweet — had “significant bias.”
“It is my strong opinion that the forewoman of the jury, the woman who was in charge of the jury, is totally tainted when you take a look,” Trump said. “How can you have a person like this? She was an anti-Trump activist — can you imagine this?”
After he continued griping about how there was a “bad jury” in the Stone case and that the jury foreperson had “a horrible social media account,” Trump doubled down on his argument that the jury was “tainted.”
(Trump, per usual, ignored that Stone’s legal team had a chance to vet jurors and have any juror removed from the case at the start of the trial.)
“When Roger was determined by the same jury to be guilty before the judge issued a sentence, and he was determined to be guilty, [the jury foreperson] started going a little wild,” Trump said. “She was very happy and she started saying things that people said — that is strange. That is strange. And then they started looking in. How can you have a jury poll tainted so badly? It is not fair.”
Trump’s latest remarks come after he told reporters Tuesday that he hadn’t given a Stone pardon any thought.
Watch Trump’s remarks below:
Trump: Stone has "a very good chance of exoneration" pic.twitter.com/YZ2nxtmcgd
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 20, 2020