Trump in Palm Beach: President says he hasn’t ’thought’ about Roger Stone pardon
PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has not given thought to a pardon for longtime political confidant and Republican operative Roger Stone, who was convicted in November of lying to Congress.
“Pardon him? Well, I haven’t thought of it,” Trump told The Palm Beach Post after a teleconference from Mar-a-Lago with service members from around the world. “I think it’s very tough what they did to Roger Stone compared to what they do to other people, on their side.”
Trump repeated multiple times that Stone was not involved in his campaign, offering a slight qualifier, but distancing himself from the man who reportedly tried to coordinate the release of stolen Democratic National Committee emails with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
“You know Roger Stone was not involved in my campaign in any way other than the very, very beginning before I think, long before I announced, a little bit,” he said, lumping in what he called “unfair” treatment to another associate, former Chief of Staff Michael Flynn before redirecting blame to Hillary Clinton.
“He got hit very hard as did General [Mike] Flynn, as did a lot of other people who got hit very, very hard and now they’re finding out it was all a big hoax,” the President said. “They’re finding out it was a horrible thing. We were spied on, my campaign was spied on. And again, Roger Stone was not a part of it, the campaign.”
He continued: “We found out they’re a bunch of dirty cops, paid for by the DNC, paid for by Hillary Clinton in many cases and in much. They did a phony dossier, they used the dossier for FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant).”
Stone, who is awaiting sentencing on Feb. 6, faces up to 20 years in prison. He has steadfastly said he would “not roll on Donald Trump.” Over the years, Stone has said he advised Trump on his political aspirations and played a role in bringing the real estate tycoon into Republican politics.
Just this past February, during an appearance in Boca Raton, Stone said the charges against him were in retaliation for his “effective” efforts to help Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
"I think I'm being targeted because I supported Donald Trump for president, because I was very effective in helping defeat Hillary Clinton. That's my real crime," Stone said.
In other interviews and speeches, Stone has flatly stated he would defend Trump “who I've known for 40 years,”
He added: "I'm ready. I will never roll on Donald Trump. Michael Cohen I am not."
On Tuesday, Trump said Stone is “a nice guy” who has been wrongly targeted.
“I’ve known Roger over the years, he’s a nice guy, a lot of people like him,” he said, offering no clue as to whether Stone will be pardoned before or after his expected February sentencing. “He’s a good person and what they did to him was very unfair in my opinion and what they did to General Flynn was very unfair in my opinion, and what they did to so many others was very unfair.”
As for the FBI, which was recently scolded by a federal court for sloppy handling of a FISA warrant, Trump vowed to rid the government of those to blame.
“These were dirty people, these were bad people, these were evil people and I hope that someday I’m going to consider it my greatest or one of my greatest achievements getting rid of them because we have no place in our country for people like that,” he said.
This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.