President Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime confidant Roger Stone on Friday, using the extensive powers of the presidency to protect a felon and political ally while also lashing out against a years-long probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
The move marks a stunning reversal in the case of the former Army general who was convicted in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It also will likely intensify concerns within and outside the Justice Department that Barr and its politically appointed leadership is intervening in sensitive cases to help the president’s friends and political allies.
Once a globetrotting lobbyist and consultant to presidents, Paul Manafort on Wednesday was ordered to spend a total of 7 1 / 2 years in prison for his two federal cases after sentencing by a Washington judge. And soon after he left court in a wheelchair to return to the Virginia jail cell where he has begun serving his time, prosecutors in New York announced a 16-count grand jury indictment charging the former Trump campaign chairman with mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and conspiracy.
President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed to plead guilty to federal crimes at a hearing Friday morning, ending his long losing battle with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. The planned plea, if accepted by a judge, would short-circuit his second trial scheduled to begin this month in the District on charges of money laundering and lobbying violations. He is expected to enter his guilty plea this morning in federal court.
The FBI has found that a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, including during the 2016 campaign when Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with the associate, according to new court filings.