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Trump defends Stone commutation, boosts Flynn in broadside against Russia probe

Roger Stone. | Julio Cortez/AP Photo

The president’s Saturday morning tweeting — which echoed in style and tone similar social media outpourings delivered throughout Trump’s presidency when Russia has returned to the headlines — continued as he voiced his support for former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“New documents just released reveal General Flynn was telling the truth, and the FBI knew it! @OANN,” Trump said.

While Trump has previously hinted at a Flynn pardon amid a protracted legal battle stemming from a Russia counterintelligence probe in which Flynn admitted lying to the FBI, allies of the president’s are also pushing to have the three-star general and favorite of the Trump base return to the campaign trail.

It was not immediately clear which documents Trump was referring to, but a One America News story on Thursday detailed a new lawsuit by a conservative activist group that claims to have documents that show former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power made multiple requests to unmask Flynn’s identity, a purported controversy that alleges without foundation that the Obama administration engaged in wrongdoing.

Trump also called for the jailing and extradition of the author of the so-called “Steele Dossier” that salaciously alleged illegal behavior by Trump and his allies before and during the campaign.

“This man should be extradited, tried, and thrown into jail,” Trump tweeted about Christopher Steele. “A sick lier who was paid by Crooked Hillary & the DNC!”

This man should be extradited, tried, and thrown into jail. A sick lier who was paid by Crooked Hillary & the DNC!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2020

Steele, a former British spy, was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS in 2016 to research Trump’s Russia ties, with funding from a law firm that represented the Democratic National Committee, and began providing the FBI with information about Trump’s alleged ties to Russia in 2016.

Steele has long been a punching bag for the president and his defenders, who have argued that officials within the Department of Justice conspired against Trump and his campaign and used the dossier as a basis for the FBI’s probe into Trump and Russia, an allegation rebuffed by the DOJ’s internal watchdog.

The president then took aim at Jeff Sessions, who Trump has frequently chastised and blamed for the Russia probe following his recusal from the matter as attorney general. Sessions is running for his old Senate seat in Alabama and faces former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in a primary runoff Tuesday.

“Big Senate Race in Alabama on Tuesday. Vote for @TTuberville, he is a winner who will never let you down.” Trump said. “Jeff Sessions is a disaster who has let us all down. We don’t want him back in Washington!”

Sessions, who has sought to characterize himself in the campaign as a staunch supporter of the president’s policies, punched back at Trump.

I’ve taken the road less travelled. Not sought fame or fortune. My honor and integrity are far more important than these juvenile insults. Your scandal ridden candidate is too cowardly to debate. As you know, Alabama does not take orders from Washington.

— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) July 11, 2020

“I’ve taken the road less travelled. Not sought fame or fortune,” Sessions tweeted. “My honor and integrity are far more important than these juvenile insults.”

Sen. Mitt Romney became one of the first Republicans to publicly denounce Trump’s decision to commute Stone’s sentence, lambasting it in a tweet on Saturday morning as “unprecedented, historic corruption” for an American president.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also derided the commutation as an act of “staggering corruption,” saying in a statement the House would take up legislation to “ensure that no President can pardon or commute the sentence of an individual who is engaged in a cover-up campaign to shield that President from criminal prosecution.”

“Roger Stone’s seven felony crimes, which include lying to Congress and witness tampering, constitute grave crimes,” Pelosi said. “All who commit these illegal acts should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Trump, who has yet to respond to the bipartisan pushback, left the White House in a motorcade Saturday morning, according to a pool report, arriving at his Sterling, Va., golf club just before 10 a.m.

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