Former special counsel Robert Mueller has broken a long silence over his lengthy report on the 2016 Trump campaign. Mueller, with his stoic public appearance and no-nonsense attitude, finally commented publicly on his investigation due to President Donald Trump’s recent actions.
In a surprising and unprecedented move, the president just commuted the sentence of convicted felon Roger Stone.
Stone, a longtime political ally of Donald Trump’s, was indicted in Mueller’s investigation. On Friday, Trump commuted Stone’s sentence of 40 months in prison for lying to investigators.
Stone’s charges, which included obstructing a congressional proceeding and witness tampering, were numerous. By commuting his sentence, the president has given his approval of Stone’s actions.
In an op-ed written by Mueller for the Washington Post, he notes that Stone “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.” Mueller unapologetically stands by his investigation’s findings regarding Stone. This marked a departure from Mueller’s usual quiet, reserved nature. On the rare occasions that Mueller makes public statements about his own work, it’s often in very plain and understated ways.
By emphatically denouncing Stone, Mueller caused a stir in Washington. Senator Lindsay Graham noted that he would allow Mueller to testify before Congress about the matter, something democrats have been pushing for since the investigation wrapped in 2019. Trump, meanwhile, stands by his actions. He claims that Stone was “targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place.”
In his scathing op-ed, Mueller lays out the reasons why officials investigated and charged Stone. “Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone,” he writes. “A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary.”
Mueller went on, noting, “He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks’ releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress.”
In light of all of this, a jury found him guilty on seven charges and sentenced him to forty months in prison. But in the eyes of the law, Mueller notes, he is a liar. He obstructed a Congressional investigation. He also tampered with a witness. Even though he received clemency and may never see prison time, he remains a felon.