Roger Stone says McCarthy, Stefanik advocated against preelection clemency

Source: Politico | July 15, 2020 | Kyle Cheney

William Barr had advocated against clemency for Stone as well.

Roger Stone on Wednesday accused two top House allies of President Donald Trump of privately advocating against Trump’s decision to keep him out of prison last week.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik were among those who advised Trump to avoid granting Stone clemency before the election, worrying it could be bad politics for Republicans, Stone said during an appearance on a podcast hosted by fellow Trump supporter Charlie Kirk.

“Congressman Matt Gaetz from my home state of Florida, who I know was out there when Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik were arguing against any clemency for Roger Stone because it might cost the Republicans seats,” Stone said as he listed those who supported his bid to stay out of jail despite his conviction on charges of lying to congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 election. “I know that Matt Gaetz was standing tall, both privately and in public, on my behalf.”

A source familiar with the exchange confirmed that McCarthy and Stefanik were among a group of GOP lawmakers who shared a ride on Air Force One in late May, as Trump traveled to observe the launch of a SpaceX rocket in Florida. When Trump joined lawmakers, the subject of Stone arose. According to the source, Trump revealed quickly that he intended to grant clemency to Stone, his longtime confidant and political adviser, but wanted counsel on timing.

Gaetz indicated the president should give Stone an immediate reprieve while McCarthy and Stefanik advised him to consider waiting until after the election, the source said.

Attorney General William Barr had advocated against clemency for Stone as well. But Trump opted to keep Stone out of prison altogether, commuting his sentence on July 10, just four days before he was due to report to a Georgia facility. The commutation left Stone’s convictions standing, and he has vowed to keep fighting them on appeal, though Trump could always pardon him fully at a later date.


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