'Historic corruption': Romney criticizes Trump for commuting Roger Stone's prison sentence

The Utah Senator was the first prominent voice in the Republican Party to publicly disavow the president's decision to erase Stone's prison sentence.
Image: Sen. Romney attends a luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, attends a luncheon on Capitol Hill on May 14, 2020.Erin Scott / Reuters

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By Lauren Egan

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Saturday criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence of Roger Stone, calling it “unprecedented, historic corruption.”

“An American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” Romney wrote on Twitter.

Romney, a leading critic of the president, was the first prominent Republican to condemn Trump for his decision to clear Stone's 40-month prison sentence.

Other Republicans have been quick to rally around the president, taking to Twitter to voice their support for Stone's commutation.

"In my view it would be justified if President @realDonaldTrump decided to commute Roger Stone's prison sentence," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted shortly before Stone's commutation was officially announced.

Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser of President Donald Trump, reacts on July 10, 2020, after Trump commuted his federal prison sentence, outside his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Joe Skipper / Reuters

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote that "Trump has the constitutional right to commute sentences where he believes it serves the interests of fairness and justice."

Democrats have fiercely criticized Stone's commutation, likening Trump's actions to that of a "Mafia boss."

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was the only other Republican to join Romney in publicly disagreeing with the president on Saturday.

"While I understand the frustration with the badly flawed Russia-collusion investigation, in my view, commuting Roger Stone’s sentence is a mistake," Toomey said in a statement on Saturday. "Any objections to Mr. Stone’s conviction and trial should be resolved through the appeals process.”

Romney was the only Republican to vote for Trump's removal from office during the president's impeachment trial earlier this year.

The White House announced Friday evening that Trump commuted the prison sentence of Stone, a former campaign aide, sparing his longtime adviser from having to report to prison next week.

Stone was sentenced in February to three years, four months in federal prison for obstructing a congressional investigation of Russia's 2016 presidential election meddling. After the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation, the Bureau of Prisons gave him an extension on reporting to prison. He had been on home confinement in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.