US President Donald Trump has lambasted two Republican senators for criticising his move to commute the prison sentence of Roger Stone, POTUS’s long-time confidant and former campaign adviser.
In a tweet posted on Sunday, the US president blamed Mitt Romney and Pat Toomey for being the so-called "RINOS", an offensive acronym for "Republican in name only".
Do RINO’S Pat Toomey & Mitt Romney have any problem with the fact that we caught Obama, Biden, & Company illegally spying on my campaign? Do they care if Comey, McCabe, Page & her lover, Peter S, the whole group, ran rampant, wild & unchecked - lying & leaking all the way? NO!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2020
He noted in the message that he wonders whether these senators "have any problem with the fact that we caught [former US President Barack] Obama, [former Vice President and current presumptive Democratic presidential hopeful Joe] Biden, & Company illegally spying on my campaign".
The remarks come after Romney tweeted that POTUS’s Stone-related decision could be likened to "unprecedented, historic corruption”, adding, "an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president".
A vocal Trump critic, Romney was the only Republican to vote for the US president's impeachment earlier this year.
Toomey, for his part, described Trump's move as a "mistake", pointing to Attorney General William Barr calling Stone's prosecution "righteous" and the sentencing "fair".
"The president clearly has the legal and constitutional authority to grant clemency for federal crimes. However, this authority should be used judiciously and very rarely by any president", the senator said in a statement on Saturday.
Roger Stone Commutation
This followed the White House stating in a press release on Friday that Trump had signed "an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone".
"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 press release pointed out.
Trump's decision was preceded by US Judge Amy Berman Jackson granting Stone two additional weeks to surrender himself to the Bureau of Prisons. Prior to the Friday announcement, the former Trump campaign adviser was expected to report to prison by 14 July.
Stone was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in January 2019 after it was alleged that he lied to Congress regarding his ties to WikiLeaks and its publication of leaked files from the servers of the Democratic National Committee.
The charges were brought as part of the special counsel investigation into allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential race. The probe conducted by Robert Mueller finally concluded that there was no criminal conspiracy between Trump and Moscow.