Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said on “Outnumbered Overtime” Thursday that President Trump would be doing Americans a “favor” by commuting the expected prison sentence of former associate Roger Stone.
Huckabee, a Fox News contributor, made the comment one day after Trump denied interfering in Stone’s criminal case while declining to say whether he’d consider a pardon for the GOP political operative.
The president also continued to rail against federal prosecutors who initially recommended up to nine years in prison for Stone, calling it a “disgrace.” Also Wednesday, the Justice Department confirmed Attorney General Bill Barr will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31; Democrats on the panel have raised concerns over the department’s handling of the Stone case, among other issues.
When host Harris Faulkner asked Huckabee if the president should have pardoned Stone, the former governor responded: “There's a middle ground.”
He then explained that President Trump could commute the sentence, “which doesn’t undo it.”
“Roger Stone would still be convicted, but it would commute his sentence to no time would be served,” Huckabee said. “So instead of a nine-year prison sentence -- and I honestly cannot imagine why anybody, even the people who hate the president and hate Roger Stone, thinks that that makes any sense. And the truth is as taxpayers, we’re going to have to pay for it, so the president would do us all a favor by saying, ‘I’ll commute the sentence.’”
Huckabee went on to say that the president can “review the details of the case" at a later date, "and if it turns out that the only thing that Roger Stone is guilty of is being braggadocious and flamboyant, on those two things we can all agree he’s guilty. But whether he deserved to be frog-marched across his lawn with CNN cameras tipped off and rolling at 5:00 a.m, with SWAT Teams and automatic weapons pointed on him and his wife, this is ridiculous and it's an overreach of the federal government.”
“If you don't stop it, then we’re all vulnerable,” he added.
Federal prosecutors had on Monday recommended a sentence of between 87 and 108 months in prison for Stone's conviction on seven counts of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress on charges that stemmed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
But in a stunning reversal, as Fox News first reported, leadership at the Justice Department (DOJ) overruled the prosecutors on the case, scaling back the proposed sentence for Stone, which immediately led Democrats to accuse Trump interfering in the process.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said that Barr “ought to be ashamed and embarrassed and resign as a result of this action directly interfering in the independent prosecution of Roger Stone.” He also said the controversy was yet another example of “political interference by the president to alter the independent decisions of the Department of Justice.”
“The fact is the sentence is absurd, it’s irrational and you have these questions about whether or not the jury was genuinely tainted,” Huckabee said on Thursday.
“If you read some of the tweets and the social media posts by the jury foreperson who was doing this in the midst of the trial, this is not something that happened later when she found her liberal conscience, this was while the trial was going on and that certainly raises some questions.”
Huckabee was referencing former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart who revealed Wednesday that she was the foreperson of the jury that convicted Stone on obstruction charges last year. Soon afterward, her history of Democratic activism and a string of her anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts came to light.
Hart even posted specifically about the Stone case before she was selected to sit on the jury, as she retweeted an argument mocking those who considered Stone's dramatic arrest in a predawn raid by a federal tactical team to be excessive force. She also suggested President Trump and his supporters are racist and praised the investigation conducted by Mueller.
“Move this off the table,” Huckabee continued on Thursday. “The best way to do it, is a commutation.”
“It doesn't give Roger Stone everything he wants, but it certainly says to the Democrats, ‘Hey we didn't erase his prison sentence, we didn’t erase his even conviction,’ we just said, ‘We’re not going to spend a bunch of the taxpayer’s money giving him food and shelter and housing him for the next nine years.’”
Stone is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Feb. 20.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.