In a Saturday column for Bloomberg, political columnist Jonathan Bernstein argued that Republicans would be “punished” in November for Donald Trump’s decision to commute GOP operative Roger Stone’s prison sentence.
Bernstein claimed that Trump’s commutation makes his “contempt for the rule of law” clear to the American public and contrasted it with President Richard Nixon’s unwillingness to pardon those involved in the Watergate scandal that sunk his presidency. According to Bernstein, Trump’s decision to let Stone evade responsibility for witness tampering and lying to congressional investigators is another in a long line of questionable presidential actions that have come in the wake of the impeachment trial that led to the president’s acquittal from the Republican-led Senate.
“All were abuses of presidential power, exactly what the impeachment and removal power of Congress is designed for,” Bernstein wrote.
He argued that Republicans now have a means of breaking with Trump and could work with Democrats to impeach Trump and have Vice President Mike Pence lead until the election. Nevertheless, Bernstein believes this is not likely, pointing to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s recent support of Trump’s decision.
“Opposing Trump and getting rid of him at this point can only work if they’re all in it together; but if only some of them speak out, then they will all suffer,” Bernstein concluded his piece.
“A united Republican Party finally ending this lawless presidency would be the best thing for the nation and for the party. It isn’t going to happen, and chances are that the failure will be punished harshly in November.”
As The Inquisitr reported, one Republican senator who has broken with Trump is Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who called the president’s decision a mistake. He claimed Trump’s power to grant clemency for federal crimes is a power that should be used sparingly by any president and pointed to Attorney General William Barr, who claimed that Stone’s sentence — which he had reduced — was fair.
As reported by NPR, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney also condemned Trump’s decision and called it “unprecedented, historic corruption.” Romney has clashed with the president on many occasions and was the only Republican to vote in favor of removing Trump from office in the impeachment trial.
According to Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, Stone was a “victim” of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which she called the “Russia Hoax.” As CNN reported, McEnany noted that the investigation concluded there was no conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.