Daily US Times: In a very rare move of writing an op-ed for The Washington Post, former special counsel Robert Mueller defended his office’s prosecution of Roger Stone and saying he is still a convicted felon and “rightly so” in light of President Donald Trump’s commutation of Stone.
Mueller wrote in the op-ed posted Saturday evening: “Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone. 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. 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.”
The jury ultimately convicted Stone of five counts of making false statements to Congress, obstruction of a congressional investigation and tampering with a witness, Mr. Muller,
”Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands,” Muller added.
On Friday, President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend and political adviser, who was convicted of crimes that included lying to Congress in part, prosecutors said, to protect the President. Trump’s came just days before Stone was set to report to a federal prison in Georgia.
In November, Stone was convicted of seven charges — including witness tampering, lying to Congress and obstructing a congressional committee proceeding — as part of Mueller’s Russia investigation. Among the things he misled Congress about were his communications with Trump campaign officials. Prosecutors said the Stone hid out the communication out of his desire to protect Trump.
Mueller said in the op-ed: “Russian efforts to interfere in our political system, and the essential question of whether those efforts involved the Trump campaign, required investigation. In that investigation, it was critical for us (and, before us, the FBI) to obtain full and accurate information. Likewise, it was critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from its witnesses. When a subject lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s efforts to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. It may ultimately impede those efforts.”
Mueller also pointed out that the people involved in the prosecutions and investigations acted with the “highest integrity.”
He wrote: “We made every decision in Stone’s case, as in all our cases, based solely on the facts and the law and in accordance with the rule of law. The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity. Claims to the contrary are false.”
Stone’s commutation appears to have broken the floodgates with Mueller and his team, who barely speak, after a year of silence about their investigation. Mueller’s office refused to comment throughout the investigation except in a few rare circumstances.
The special counsel’s office prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who led the investigation of top Trump campaign officials Rick Gates and Paul Manafort, began tweeting about Stone on Friday night.
Mueller also has been silent since he testified reluctantly under subpoena to Congress last July. And even then, he was hesitant and circumspect to elaborate on his investigation’s findings.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mr Muller famously gave the convoluted summary about his obstruction findings.
In May 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In 1976, Mueller began his career with the Department of Justice as an assistant US attorney in San Francisco. Later in his career, he has overseen some of the highest-profile cases of the last few decades.
The former FBI director also has a reputation for not discussing politics. Lisa Monaco was served as Mueller’s chief of staff when he was FBI director. She described him as “apolitical, non-partisan”.
”He is, as I think it has become quite clear, a pretty law-and-order guy,” she said about him.
Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of his political adviser and friend is the crescendo of a months-long effort to rewrite the history of the Mueller investigation. This has included a ramped-up counter-investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, selective declassification of intelligence materials and attempts to drop the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
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