A president should not have the power to do what he did for Roger Stone
Re “Trump commutes Stone’s sentence” (Page A1, July 11): The framers of the Constitution created a broad executive power to grant pardons and commutations. As men of unparalleled public honor and integrity, they could not have imagined a president so personally dishonorable and corrupt as to use that power as an expedient in furtherance of self-interested criminality.
The Trump administration has used that power to render beyond legal accountability such criminals as Joe Arpaio, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and now Roger Stone. These and other actions of the Trump administration make plain that partisans and cronies exist above and outside of the law and will not be subject to penalties consequent to criminal misdeeds.
The discretion granted in the Constitution has proved to be overly broad, and there is a clear need to curtail its abuse. An amendment to the Constitution should be proposed and adopted that defines the power to grant pardons or commutations as extending only to people convicted of a crime prior to a president’s tenure in office, and in no case where personal or financial benefit accrues to the granting president or his interests.
Stone is more than just a ‘friend’
Notwithstanding what Saturday’s front-page article reported, Donald Trump did not commute the sentence of a “friend” for something that happened in the past; rather, in my view, he buckled to the threats of a coconspirator who could expose Trump at any moment of his choosing if the president did not provide the commutation.
Trump commuted the sentence rather than pardoning Stone, so that Stone can still avail himself of Fifth Amendment protections and keep any of Trump’s secrets.
No, Stone is an accomplice — an aider and abettor — in Russia’s documented efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
The writer is a criminal defense lawyer.
The ‘law and order’ president (cough)
With the shameful commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence, Donald Trump et al. have perfected their new approach to so-called law and order, whereby “Lock ’em up!” applies solely to political opponents who haven’t committed crimes, and “Don’t lock ‘em up” is for Trump political operatives who have been convicted of crimes.
So much for law and order.
Still, a criminal
Let me join the group that was sent to the dictionary searching for the difference between “pardon” and “commutation.” Roger Stone is still guilty; his buddy just used his authority to prevent him from serving time. Stone did the crime; he will not do the time.
However, history will follow him as he joins Nixon’s aides as well as Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and others. The stain will not go away.