The commutation of the sentence of imprisonment of Roger Stone by Donald Trump is indeed an act of corruption, unprecedented for an american president.
The right to pardon or commute the prison sentence of those accused of crimes in good and due form, is a prerogative indisputable of the president of the United States. Donald Trump knows this and he also knows that this right is without appeal.
Nevertheless, the commutation of the sentence of 40 months in prison for his henchman Roger Stone, a few days of its entry into force, represents, on the president’s part, an act of unprecedented corruption. This is also the opinion of the senator, republican and black sheep of the cult of personality trumpiste what became of his party, Mitt Romney:
The details of the case are well explained in this article published this morning in The Newspaper, but some still doubt whether it is an act of corruption, or that the commutation of the sentence of Stone had anything exceptional.
In short, it is an act of corruption, because the crimes committed by Stone and for which he was duly found guilty by a jury of his peers sought explicitly to protect Donald Trump in the investigation on the case of Russian. As recalled by the ex-commissioner Mueller himself, Stone had lied knowingly to the investigators of his commission and to the Congress of the United States with the clear aim of concealing the facts that would support an impeachment of the president for conspiracy in the case of Russian.
Recall that, in this case, the candidate Trump had welcomed the help of WikiLeaks from stolen information in the campaign democrat by Russian agents, but the relationship of active collaboration between the campaign and these two entities has never been able to be established. Apparently, this link was Roger Stone himself, but his lies (which were designed explicitly to protect Trump, given that he would be able to obtain a very broad immunity if he had cooperated in the investigation) have ensured that this link could not be established beyond a reasonable doubt, and, therefore, that the commission Mueller has not been involved Trump himself in the crime in question, even if a large number of his associates have been.
Even the definition of bribery of a public officer is to commit an official act for the purpose of procuring a personal benefit. By making clear, a priori, that he was going to reward Stone for his personal loyalty and delivering on this promise by allowing Stone to remain a free man, Trump has used the presidential power to his personal advantage obvious.
We rétorquera that other presidents have used the power of pardon or commutation of sentence in cases that are not unanimously welcomed, such as, for example, the switching of the heavy punishment of Chelsea Manning, convicted of releasing military secrets, or Susan Rosenberg, an activist convicted for violent acts committed in the name of causes of extreme left. These commutations raised clear objections, but it is still necessary to emphasize that Manning had served seven years of a sentence of 35 years and that Rosenberg had served 16 years of a sentence of 58 years. It is also clear that neither one nor the other of these decisions represented a personal benefit to Obama or Clinton.
It was also pointed out the fact that Donald Trump has made a particular parsimonious of his powers of clemency, which it has used only 25 times to this day. When you look closely at these cases, however, it is clear that many of these acts of mercy have been laid at the place of political allies or personal to the president, and sometimes for political reasons quite obvious.
For example, Trump has forgiven the sheriff for the county of Mariposa in Arizona, Joe Arpaio accused of racial profiling is systematic. He also pardoned his friend, the biographer and great admirer, the baron-canada british Conrad Black and the satiric works of the far right, Dinesh D’souza. He also commuted the sentence of former governor of Illinois and a participant in his show, Celebrity Apprentice, Rod Blagojevich. In all these cases and many others, the connection is personal or political, with Donald Trump is easy to do. One could also say that the few cases where Trump has exercised his power of forgiveness in a way that corresponds to the spirit of this power, he has done so with the apparent aim of winning political points, which is understandable.
No matter what you say and what you think of the level of corruption reached by his predecessors, including Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign in disgrace, it is not difficult to show that the level of corruption reached by Donald Trump is worse.
Surrounded by criminals
It is possible that Trump has preferred to forgive, Stone, or erase his conviction from his criminal record instead of him avoid prison, but his advisers have no doubt pointed out that this gesture would be more costly politically. It is doubtful, however, that this kind of account takes a lot of place in the decision-making process of a president, who has long discussed the possibility of forgiving himself, which would put an end to any possibility of criminal prosecution against him for federal crimes committed before or during his term of office. We’ll see about that.
For the moment, the leniency granted to Roger Stone draws, however, attention to the undeniable fact that Donald Trump is surrounded by criminals confirmed, as underlined by cleverly and not so subtly this advertising of the group Lincoln Project released today:
Remains to be seen whether the electorate will remember this heavy balance sheet or if the lies and systematic effort of disinformation by Donald Trump of his entourage manage to get us to forget.