White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday said the Roger Stone commutation was a “very important moment for justice,” while slamming past presidents for their use of the pardoning power.
Defending President Trump’s decision to commute Stone’s upcoming prison sentence, McEnany said that then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been charging people with “process crimes” in order to “justify the waste in tax dollars” on a “completely bogus witch hunt.”
Stone last year was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison. But on Friday, just days before he was set to report there, Trump commuted his sentence.
McEnany said it was “curious” that ex-FBI official Andrew McCabe, director of the CIA under President Obama John Brennan, and Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had all been accused of making false statements but did not face prosecution like Stone.
“Last time I checked they didn’t have 29 FBI agents wearing tactical gear showing up at their house in a pre-dawn raid,” the press secretary said. “Instead McCabe and Brennan and these guys are given lucrative contracts, books, contributorships.”
McEnany said that Trump is “the president of criminal justice reform,” and the Stone commutation was part of his fight for those given unduly harsh sentences. She noted that while Trump has issued 36 pardons and commutations, Obama had issued 1,927.
She pointed to President Bill Clinton’s use of the authority: “You talk about a politically connected pardon, it can’t get more politically connected than pardoning your brother Roger Clinton as President Clinton did.” Clinton pardoned his half-brother for drug charges after he’d serve the full sentence more than a decade earlier.
McEnany also pointed to Clinton’s pardon of Susan McDougal, one of his associates, for her role in the Whitewater scandal after she refused to testify about Clinton’s role, and Marc Rich, who donated $450,000 to the Clinton Library Foundation. Rich had fled the U.S. during prosecution when he was charged with 51 counts of tax fraud and owed $48 million in taxes.
“There really are two standards of justice in this country,” McEnany said, quoting Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who expressed the same sentiment about the Stone commutation, “As Adam Schiff noted, unfortunately, he doesn’t have the facts to back up that term the way he meant.”