President Donald Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago on Christmas that one of his “greatest achievements” in office has been “getting rid” of the dirty FBI officials who led the Trump-Russia probe.
“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,” Trump said.
The president was asked about pardoning Roger Stone who was indicted in the special counsel’s investigation on charges of making false statements to Congress.
Stone is looking at doing a long stint in prison. He was convicted on Nov. 15.
Stone, who worked briefly on the Trump campaign and has known Trump for decades, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
Trump said that he has yet to consider a pardon for Stone, but that he believes he was treated “very unfair” in the special counsel’s case.
“I haven’t thought of it. I think it’s very tough what they did to Roger Stone, compared to what they do to other people on their side,” Trump said.
President Trump expressed sympathy Tuesday toward former associates Roger Stone and Michael Flynn over what he called their “very unfair” treatment as they await sentencing in their criminal cases — amid speculation over whether he might consider pardons in connection with the Russia investigation he calls a “witch hunt,” FOX News reported
Stone’s sentencing for crimes including witness tampering, obstruction and providing false statements to Congress is currently set for Feb. 20, 2020. He faces up to 50 years in prison.
“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,” Trump said. Stone left the campaign in the summer of 2015, although former senior Trump campaign member Rick Gates testified at Stone’s trial that he overheard a phone conversation between Stone and Trump in July 2016.
“He’s a good person, and what they did to him was very unfair, in my opinion, and what they did to General Flynn is very unfair in my opinion,” Trump went on, referring to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who is awaiting a Jan. 28, 2020 sentencing for lying to investigators. Flynn reached a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty and cooperating with authorities in cases related to the Russia probe. But his sentencing has been repeatedly delayed, his defenders say he was mistreated by the FBI and his lawyer has been fighting back in court.
Another Trump associate, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, is also the subject of pardon speculation after a state case against him in New York was dismissed on double jeopardy grounds. Presidential pardon power does not extend to state cases, but with that no longer hanging over Manafort’s head for now, Trump could theoretically pardon him for his federal convictions for financial crimes related to work done in Ukraine.