WASHINGTON, D.C. – Late Friday, President Donald Trump gleefully exonerated convicted political pal Roger Stone, saving him from prison, even as Facebook deleted pages and fake accounts linked to Stone days earlier for “inauthentic behavior”.
Stone faced 40 months in federal prison. Back in 2019, a federal indictment claimed Stone worked with Wikileaks to snare damaging information on the Hillary Clinton campaign and threatened witnesses and even a dog. He earlier declared that he would never testify against his master, President Donald Trump, and would not plead guilty to the charges.
Following is the announcement from the White House on Roger Stone’s clemency:
Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone, Jr.
Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency. There was never any collusion between the Trump Campaign, or the Trump Administration, with Russia. Such collusion was never anything other than a fantasy of partisans unable to accept the result of the 2016 election. The collusion delusion spawned endless and farcical investigations, conducted at great taxpayer expense, looking for evidence that did not exist. As it became clear that these witch hunts would never bear fruit, the Special Counsel’s Office resorted to process-based charges leveled at high-profile people in an attempt to manufacture the false impression of criminality lurking below the surface. These charges were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice.This is why the out-of-control Mueller prosecutors, desperate for splashy headlines to compensate for a failed investigation, set their sights on Mr. Stone. Roger Stone is well known for his nearly 50 years of work as a consultant for high-profile Republican politicians, including President Ronald Reagan, Senator Bob Dole, and many others. He is also well known for his outspoken support for President Donald J. Trump and opposition to Hillary Clinton.Mr. Stone was charged by the same prosecutors from the Mueller Investigation tasked with finding evidence of collusion with Russia. Because no such evidence exists, however, they could not charge him for any collusion-related crime. Instead, they charged him for his conduct during their investigation. The simple fact is that if the Special Counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation, Mr. Stone would not be facing time in prison.
In addition to charging Mr. Stone with alleged crimes arising solely from their own improper investigation, the Mueller prosecutors also took pains to make a public and shameful spectacle of his arrest. Mr. Stone is a 67-year-old man, with numerous medical conditions, who had never been convicted of another crime. But rather than allow him to surrender himself, they used dozens of FBI agents with automatic weapons and tactical equipment, armored vehicles, and an amphibious unit to execute a pre-dawn raid of his home, where he was with his wife of many years. Notably, CNN cameras were present to broadcast these events live to the world, even though they swore they were not notified—it was just a coincidence that they were there together with the FBI early in the morning.
Not only was Mr. Stone charged by overzealous prosecutors pursing a case that never should have existed, and arrested in an operation that never should have been approved, but there were also serious questions about the jury in the case. The forewoman of his jury, for example, concealed the fact that she is a member of the so-called liberal “resistance” to the Trump Presidency. In now-deleted tweets, this activist-juror vividly and openly attacked President Trump and his supporters.
Mr. Stone would be put at serious medical risk in prison. He has appealed his conviction and is seeking a new trial. He maintains his innocence and has stated that he expects to be fully exonerated by the justice system. Mr. Stone, like every American, deserves a fair trial and every opportunity to vindicate himself before the courts. The President does not wish to interfere with his efforts to do so. At this time, however, and particularly in light of the egregious facts and circumstances surrounding his unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial, the President has determined to commute his sentence. Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!
Days before Stone’s clemency, Facebook announced it had deleted numerous pages and accounts linked to Stone. Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy for Facebook, posted that the web of pages and accounts “violat(ed) our policy against foreign interference and coordinated inauthentic behavior.
“We removed 54 Facebook accounts, 50 Pages, and 4 Instagram accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior in the United States. This network focused on domestic audiences. The people behind this activity used fake accounts — some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems — to pose as residents of Florida, post and comment on their own content to make it appear more popular than it is, evade enforcement, and manage Pages. Several of these Pages had links to Proud Boys, a hate group we banned in 2018. Some Pages appeared to have acquired followers from Pakistan and Egypt to make themselves seem more popular than they were. This network — which was also active on other internet platforms — was most active between 2015 and 2017. Since then, the majority of these accounts have been dormant, and some were permanently deleted by the users. The Page admins and account owners posted about local politics in Florida, Roger Stone and his Pages, websites, books, and media appearances, a Florida land and water resources bill, the hacked materials released by Wikileaks ahead of the US 2016 election, candidates in the 2016 primaries and general election, and the Roger Stone trial.”