The Lead

In late night Tweet, Trump blasts Toomey for criticizing Roger Stone commutation

By: - July 11, 2020 4:54 pm

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while flanked by Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the James Brady Briefing Room April 10, 2020 at the White House in Washington, DC. According to Johns Hopkins University, New York state has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country outside of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(*Updated at 8:07 a.m. on 7/12/20 to include comment from President Donald Trump)

Pennsylvania’s two United States senators — in striking contrasts — have criticized President Donald Trump’s decision Friday to commute the prison of his friend and adviser Roger Stone.

In a statement released by his office on Saturday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., called the decision “a mistake,” and said “any objections to Mr. Stone’s conviction and trial should be resolved through the appeals process.”

The full text of Toomey’s statement:

“The president clearly has the legal and constitutional authority to grant clemency for federal crimes. However, this authority should be used judiciously and very rarely by any president. While I understand the frustration with the badly flawed Russia-collusion investigation, in my view, commuting Roger Stone’s sentence is a mistake.

“He was duly convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a congressional investigation conducted by a Republican-led committee. Earlier this week Attorney General Bill Barr stated he thought Mr. Stone’s prosecution was ‘righteous’ and ‘appropriate’ and the sentence he received was ‘fair.’ Any objections to Mr. Stone’s conviction and trial should be resolved through the appeals process.”

*In a tweet late Saturday night, President Donald Trump blasted Toomey’s mild criticism, calling him a “RINO,” or “Republican in name only.”


In a Tweet, Toomey’s Democratic colleague, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said “even Nixon would have been appalled,” and referenced a 2017 Tweet on the Trump/Russia probe.

Toomey, who has has publicly broken with the White House in the past on such matters as trade and tariffs, quickly came in for scorn on social media for not offering a stronger condemnation. U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called the White House’s action “historic corruption.”

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.