Donald Trump may have converted Roger Stone's prison sentence, but the president's long-time ally remains a convicted criminal, former ex-adviser Robert Mueller said on Saturday.
Stone, 67, was scheduled to serve a 40-month prison sentence on Tuesday after being convicted of seven crimes that Müller had initially committed under the Russian collusion probe.
Allegations include manipulating a witness and hindering the House's investigation into whether the Trump campaign has conspired with Russia to help him win the 2016 election.
In an article in the Washington Post on Saturday, Müller defended his probe as "of paramount importance" and rejected the White House's claims that he wanted to get Trump and those who worked with him.
"Stone was prosecuted and convicted of committing federal crimes. He is right to remain a convicted criminal," wrote Mueller when Democrats – and two Republican senators – stacked up on Trump for re-interfering with the judicial system by one To help allies.
Senator Mitt Romney, who infuriated Trump when he was the only Republican to vote for the President's conviction in his impeachment process, did not strike on Saturday.
"Unprecedented historical corruption: An American president converts the judgment of a person who has been lied by a jury to protect that very president," he tweeted.
Another Republican Senator, Pat Toomey, also criticized Trump, but to put it mildly, saying that converting his sentence was "a mistake" because Stone had been properly convicted.
Trump defended his move on Friday night to change Stone's verdict, saying that Stone and others convicted of crimes in the Russia investigation were involved in a "witch hunt."
"You have all been treated unfairly, and what I did I will tell you: people are extremely happy because they want justice in this country," Trump told reporters.
Most Republicans have largely remained silent on this matter, while Democratic critics, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, unanimously condemned Trump.
– "Breathtaking corruption" –
"President Trump's decision to convert top campaign advisor Roger Stone's judgment, which could directly involve him in criminal misconduct, is an act of fluctuating corruption," she tweeted.
Pelosi called for laws "to ensure that no president can pardon or convert the punishment of a person involved in a cover-up campaign to protect that president from prosecution."
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden weighed in without mentioning Stone.
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in modern American history," he tweeted.
"Every day he stays in office, he continues to threaten the future of our democracy. We have to vote him out this November," Biden wrote.
The extravagant stone, a longtime political activist and advisor – he even has a tattoo of his former chief president Richard Nixon – is easily recognized by his dark glasses and bowler hat.
He and Trump were introduced in the 1980s and are said to have understood each other immediately.
Trump's action immediately brought new accusations that the president had freely intervened in the U.S. judicial system to help friends and allies and to punish critics and perceived enemies.
In a highly unusual move in May, the U.S. Department of Justice dismissed its own case against Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn, despite pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. A federal judge has requested further judicial review of the matter.
Stone was the first person to be directly involved in Trump's campaign and received grace.
Charges allege that a senior Trump campaign official sent Stone to receive information from the WikiLeaks organization about thousands of emails hacked from democratic accounts – a leak that republican attacks on Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton triggered in 2016.
Trump has denied knowledge of such contact with WikiLeaks.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)