It was predicted to happen, but it's official: President Donald Trump has given one of his oldest friends, Roger Stone, a "get out of jail free" card, NBC News reported late Friday.
"Roger Stone has already suffered greatly," Trump said in a statement. "He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!"
Stone was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for witness tampering, lying to Congress and lying to investigators. Stone was expected to check into jail on July 14, but Trump prevented it from happening.
Attorney General Bill Barr warned that there would be a huge outcry at the Justice Department if Trump made the move but he seemed unfazed, opting to bail out his pal instead.
Writing for Just Security on Thursday, Sam Berger explained that the pardon could be an unpardonable crime itself.
"Pardons only apply to past acts," he explained. "Otherwise, if the president could pardon future behavior, he or she could give anyone a permanent “get-out-of-jail-free” card that would let them commit federal crimes without consequence."
"In Ex parte Garland, the Supreme Court noted that the pardon power was virtually 'unlimited' and 'extends to every offense known to the law'; however, the Court also noted that it applies to an offense 'after its commission.'”
Berger went on to explain that a Stone pardon could lead to an investigation into whether it was a form of obstruction of justice.
See a full report on what a commutation means with Politico reporter Betsy Woodruff Swan: