White House fires back at Mueller after op-ed, says Russia probe ‘wasted taxpayer dollars trying to undo an election’
The White House issued a response Sunday after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he defended the prosecution and conviction of political operative Roger Stone.
President Trump commuted Stone’s sentence on Friday, just days before it was set to begin. Stone was convicted of seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress in relation to Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“Robert Mueller and his corrupt investigation failed to hold anyone in the Obama-Biden Administration accountable for their negligence toward Russian interference or for spying on the Trump Campaign based on a Democrat-funded dossier full of lies, and instead wasted taxpayer dollars trying to undo an election,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. “Mr. Mueller should keep his promise to the American people and let the report, which fully exonerated the President, stand instead of pontificating in the editorial pages with more spin.”
In his op-ed, Mueller pointed to Stone’s crimes, which were connected to communications he had about WikiLeaks and the release of hacked emails in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.
“Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” Mueller said in an op-ed published by The Washington Post.
Stone was not charged with any underlying crime of coordinating with Russia, and he continues to deny wrongdoing.
“I engaged in legitimate, perfectly legal political activity which Mueller’s corrupt investigation chose to criminalize,” Stone told Fox News. “I thought the results of the 2016 election were crucial.”
Democrats were aghast when the White House announced that Trump was commuting Stone’s sentence, which was supposed to last 40 months.
“It’s staggering corruption, but I think it’s important for people also to know that it’s a threat to our national security,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, claiming that national security was the motivation behind Trump’s impeachment earlier this year, which had nothing to do with Stone or the Russia probe.
Pelosi has also called for a bill that would prevent a president from taking similar action in future cases in which the offender is convicted of acts connected to the president.
“We will have legislation that says a president cannot commute or pardon or offer clemency to anybody who commits a crime, is convicted of a crime that affects the president’s behavior and his culpability,” Pelosi said.
In a statement, both House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said they intend to seek “an immediate briefing from the White House Counsel on the circumstances surrounding Roger Stone’s commutation.”
“In addition, the Department of Justice should release grand jury materials related to Roger Stone and his communications with the President,” the statement said.
Trump, however, was defiant in his decision, “Roger Stone was targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, John Roberts, and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.