'Historic corruption': Republicans and Democrats react to Trump's Stone ruling

Mark Oliver in New York
Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

The White House statement

In a statement released on Friday evening, the White House denounced the prosecution of Stone on charges stemming from “the Russia Hoax” investigation. “Roger Stone has already suffered greatly,” the statement read. “He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”

Robert Mueller, former special counsel

“The work of the special counsel’s office – its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions – should speak for itself,” Robert Mueller wrote in an op-ed article for the Washington Post on Saturday.

“But I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office ... Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

Related: Robert Mueller breaks his silence and condemns Trump for commuting Roger Stone's sentence

Mueller said that “the special counsel’s office identified two principal operations directed at our election: hacking and dumping Clinton campaign emails, and an online social media campaign to disparage the Democratic candidate.

“We also identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel – Stone among them. We did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government …

“The investigation did, however, establish that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. [And] that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

Senator Mitt Romney, Utah, Republican

Romney, who was also the lone GOP senator to vote to convict the president during his impeachment trial earlier this year, attacked Trump’s move. “Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” Romney tweeted.

Nancy Pelosi, House speaker, Democrat

Pelosi called the commutation an act of “staggering corruption”, saying legislation is needed to prevent a president from pardoning, or commuting the sentence of, someone who acted to shield that president from prosecution. Speaking on Sunday to CNN’s State of the Union, Pelosi said: “It’s a threat to our national security”.

Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina, Republican

Graham, a Trump confidant, said Stone was convicted of a nonviolent, first-time offense and the president was justified in commuting the sentence.

Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted on Sunday that he would now grant Democrat requests to call Mueller to give evidence before the committee in light of his op-ed for the Washington Post.

“Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation. That request will be granted,” Graham tweeted.

“Apparently Mr Mueller is willing - and also capable - of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post.”

Graham is leading an investigation by Republicans on the judiciary committee into the origins of Mueller’s investigation. Democrats say the investigation is a move to appease Trump ahead of November’s election.

Senator Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania, Republican

Toomey called Trump’s move a “mistake,” noting that the US attorney general, William Barr, had called Stone’s prosecution “righteous”.

“The president clearly has the legal and constitutional authority to grant clemency for federal crimes,” Toomey said in a statement. “However, this authority should be used judiciously and very rarely by any president.”

Mark Sanford, Republican

Sanford, the former South Carolina congressman who made a short-lived primary challenge to Trump, tweeted: “So much for the Republican Party being the party of law and order. Have we not lost our minds in not condemning as a party the president’s pardon of corruption by Roger Stone”.

Representative Adam Schiff, California, Democrat

Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee – the congressional panel Stone was convicted of lying to about aspects of the Trump-Russia investigation – called the decision “destructive of the criminal justice system and the rule of law” on Saturday morning.

Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland, Republican

Hogan raised questions about Trump’s decision , and said “it’s certainly going to hurt politically.”

Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday he added that he doesn’t “know what the future holds in November” for the Republican party. Hogan, rumored to be eyeing a run for the White House in 2024 said that the GOP needs to be a “bigger tent party” in the future.

“I know that the Republican Party is going to be looking at what happens after President Trump and whether that’s in four months or four years,” Hogan said. “And I think they’re going to be looking to, ‘How do we go about becoming a bigger tent party?’”