— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) July 14, 2020
Former secretary of state and Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had some thoughts on President Donald Trump‘s recent commutation of Roger Stone‘s prison sentence, supervised release and unpaid fines. During a brief interview with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah on Tuesday, Clinton said the controversial decision was clear evidence that Trump is still afraid of his 2016 victory against her being exposed as “illegitimate.”
“I have to ask you about Roger Stone,” Noah began before unloading a long and winding series of questions. “Help me understand: (A) Why do presidents or should presidents have the power to pardon anybody–especially someone who’s related to them in a case?; and secondly, what precedent could Trump be setting for America slash do you think it’s going to be a precedent where a president says: ‘I will pardon anybody who protects me by not snitching’?”
“Well, I think you just summed up why Roger Stone was pardoned,” Clinton said. “I mean, he basically threatened Trump. You know? He basically said, ‘I sure don’t want to go to jail, and I sure have a lot more to say. And, boy, I just wish there would be somebody who could stop me from having to go to jail.’ And, guess what, you know, Trump intervened.”
The former New York senator called Trump’s use of the pardon power an “extension of” his administration’s “total disregard for the rule of law” and went on to explain some of the historical and jurisprudential underpinnings of the powerful presidential prerogative.
“The pardon power is supposed to be used for compassionate purposes,” Clinton continued, offering a decidedly ahistorical take on how modern presidents have used this power. “To try to right wrongs, to try to make sure that people are not being punished unfairly or have been punished enough.”
Clinton cast Trump’s commutation of Stone’s sentence as a particularly egregious departure from an imagined age of solely just pardons. Clinton suggested that this act of clemency was granted in order to prevent everyone from seeing how “illegitimate” the 2016 election was:
And, in this case, it’s a continuation of the cover-up. Because the one thing that Trump is fearful of, when it comes to his being president, is that, finally, we will see how illegitimate his victory actually was and how he was involved in the seeking of foreign help and then the utilization of it. And how Roger Stone was critical to that.
The public-private citizen then cautioned Noah’s listeners that the truth of Trump’s alleged crimes would only be made available by way of an electoral drubbing.
“Unless Trump is defeated at the polls in November, we will never really know everything there is to know about this really deep, ongoing dismantling of institutions and undermining the rule of law and the original sin of the way that he actually won the election,” Clinton concluded. “Roger Stone was in the middle of it all and that’s why, you know, Trump had to cover it up.”
[image via screengrab/Comedy Central/The Daily Show]
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