Former special counsel Robert Mueller, in a very rare move, has written an op-ed for The Washington Post defending his office's prosecution of Roger Stone and saying he is still a convicted felon and "rightly so" in light of President Donald Trump's commutation of Stone.
"Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone. A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks' releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress," Mueller wrote in the op-ed posted Saturday evening.
"The jury ultimately convicted Stone of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness. Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands."
Trump on Friday commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend, who was convicted of crimes that included lying to Congress in part, prosecutors said, to protect the President. The announcement came just days before Stone was set to report to a federal prison in Georgia.
Stone was convicted in November of seven charges -- including lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional committee proceeding -- as part of Mueller's Russia investigation. Among the things he misled Congress about were his communications with Trump campaign officials -- communications that prosecutors said Stone hid out of his desire to protect Trump.
"Russian efforts to interfere in our political system, and the essential question of whether those efforts involved the Trump campaign, required investigation. In that investigation, it was critical for us (and, before us, the FBI) to obtain full and accurate information. Likewise, it was critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from its witnesses. When a subject lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government's efforts to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. It may ultimately impede those efforts," Mueller said in the op-ed.