ABC NewsBY: ALI DUKAKIS
(WASHINGTON) — Just days after Roger Stone received a full-sentence commutation from his longtime friend President Donald Trump, the veteran GOP political operative said he is feeling good.
“I feel good. I feel great,” Stone told ABC News in a series of recent interviews. “But I have a lot of thank you calls to make, I have a lot of thank you letters to write.”
After Trump called his former political adviser and one-time 2016 campaign aide on Friday evening, Stone said, “(Trump) was very kind, it was a normal conversation. It wasn’t stilted, it was brief. He asked how my wife was doing, he told me he signed an act of clemency which was a full commutation. He also said that it was a commutation rather than a pardon because Trump believes I did not get a fair trial, and he believes I have a good chance of being exonerated in an appeal — in other words, vacate my conviction, then it’s up to Justice Department if they want to retry the case.”
Stone came under scrutiny for activity related to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In February, he was sentenced to 40 months in prison after he was found guilty in November of obstructing an official congressional proceeding, witness tampering and five counts of lying to Congress.
The clemency came several days before he was set to surrender to a federal prison facility in Jesup, Georgia to begin his incarceration. Late last month, Stone was ordered to home confinement while he awaited his July 14 surrender date.
Overall, Stone called the news delivered in the president’s phone call “an enormous relief,” adding, “I knew it would come — not because I had been told, but because I had prayed about it. I had complete faith that God would deliver me from my persecutors.”
When asked if he thought the president might ask him to join the campaign — formally or informally — offer him a job in the administration or to act as an outside political adviser, Stone told ABC News that “it wasn’t discussed” on the phone call.
But Stone did say he would campaign for Trump in 2020.
“I will be doing everything I can to ensure that President Trump is reelected,” he said.
In a subsequent interview, Stone gave ABC News his first his reaction to Trump’s executive order that spelled out the terms of his act of clemency, which Stone himself had not been given until the DOJ released it Monday afternoon.
“I am grateful for the commutation of my sentence and that the president, in an act of both justice and mercy, has recognized that I did not receive a fair trial as well as recognizing the imminent danger of sending me, at age 67 and with a history of asthma, to a correctional facility that now has 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus,” he said.
On former special counsel Robert Mueller, who recently wrote a scathing op-ed about Stone claiming he worked with Russian military intelligence to meddle in the 2016 election, the political provocateur told ABC News, “It is disappointing, but not surprising to see Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi and their ilk recycling the same bogus claim that I was involved in any way in Russian collusion or any illegal activity during the 2016 election.”
He added, “Indeed, if Mueller and his dirty cops had such evidence why was not indicted for any such crime? There was also no evidence presented in my trial that I possessed or had advance knowledge of the source or content of any of the WikiLeaks disclosures prior to their publication.”
In the immediate future, Stone said, “I will pursue my appeal to clear my name, write a book regarding all of the false claims of the most corrupt prosecutor in U.S. history, (former special counsel prosecutor) Andrew Weissman.”
On Monday, Random House announced they’d be publishing a book by Weissmann — the former top member of the special counsel’s team of prosecutors in the Russia probe — titled “Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation” on Sept. 29.
“I intend to continue to press for justice for Gen. (Michael) Flynn, because I still think that the dismissal of the charges against him is entirely legally justified. And lastly, I’ll do everything I can independently, of course, to reelect the president.”
One of the first things Stone, newly freed from home confinement, said he is going out to do this Monday evening: Enjoy a night out dining on his favorite food at a beloved neighborhood haunt.
“Right now I’m going out to get a pizza. Man cannot live on bread alone, so I’ve got to have pizza,” Stone told ABC News on Monday afternoon. “And then I have an interview with (Fox News’) Sean Hannity tonight, which I’m looking forward to.”
The rest of Stone’s plans for the week will depend on whether there are restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. He said he wants to go to the gym and return to church, after his home confinement stopped him recently.
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