In an interview with Fox News, Stone said he has not received any formal contact from the White House on a potential presidential pardon or commutation of his sentence, which is set to begin July 14 and last for 40 months.
“I think I’ll be the last person to know,” Stone told Fox News. “He hates leaks, and he hates to be told what to do. I have instructed my lawyers not to contact the lawyers at the White House."
He added: “The president, who I’ve known for 40 years, has an incredible sense of fairness. He is aware that the people trying to destroy Michael Flynn, now trying to destroy me, are the people trying to destroy him.”
Stone is set to report to prison on July 14. He was sentenced in February to more than three years in prison after being convicted in November 2019 on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress on charges that stemmed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Stone, however, has appealed his conviction and continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Stone and his legal team have filed motions to delay his date to report to a federal correctional facility until September 30, and have filed a motion for home confinement—motions the Justice Department has already said it would not oppose, citing its coronavirus policies, which allows inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes to move from incarceration to home confinement.
Stone told Fox News that he has a “lifelong history of asthma,” and provided the court with “extensive health records and studies” from his doctor, but that the judge, at this point, has denied his motion. As of Thursday, the Justice Department opposed Stone's latest motion to appeal the judge's decision. Stone told Fox News that he and his legal team are now waiting for a ruling from the appeals court.
When asked whether he hoped the president would offer him some form of clemency, he said: “I’m praying he does.”
When asked whether he’d prefer a pardon, or a commutation of his sentence, Stone said “either one obviously would have an effect, in my opinion, of saving my life.”
A presidential pardon completely absolves an individual of the crime he or she is found to have committed. A commutation lessens the punishment or eliminates jail time, but leaves the conviction standing.
“I have deep concerns about going to a prison where there absolutely is COVID virus, and, therefore, either one would have an effect of saving my life," Stone said.
He added: “If I should be fortunate enough to get a commutation, I would continue to fight for vindication.”
Stone told Fox News that he has received “overwhelmingly positive” support from the public, and has more than 59,000 individual donors contributing to his legal defense fund.
The president has signaled he could be open to granting Stone clemency — saying in a tweet last month that Stone was “a victim of a corrupt and illegal Witch Hunt, one which will go down as the greatest political crime in history. He can sleep well at night!”
“I certainly think it could happen,” Stone said. “I’m not going to second-guess the president.”
Stone was not charged with any underlying crime of coordinating with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, though Mueller’s team investigated Stone over tweets claiming to have information about WikiLeaks document dumps prior to their release.
When asked whether Stone felt WikiLeaks influenced the 2016 election, he said: “Yes. All of it.”
“My whole purpose in hyping Wikileaks on Twitter was to make sure the media didn’t sweep it under the rug, only because I was told it was politically significant,” Stone said of his tweets in 2016, which he said were “not specific,” and simply flagged that a WikiLeaks document dump “would be big” and was coming.
“I never discussed it with Trump. I have no idea what he thought about it, we never discussed it,” Stone said. “You have to understand something about Donald Trump—when you talk to him on the phone, he talks and you listen. That’s kind of the way it works.”
When asked whether Stone had any regrets over his involvement in 2016, he said no.
“I engaged in legitimate, perfectly legal political activity which Mueller’s corrupt investigation chose to criminalize,” Stone said. “I thought the results of the 2016 election were crucial.”
Stone, who did not work in an official capacity for the Trump campaign in 2016, said that he felt Trump “was the right man at the right time.”
“I never said he was a slick politician, but people didn’t want another slick politician,” Stone said. “I think the people wanted results and they got them, which is why I am strongly for his reelection.”
He added: “A man who has already rebuilt the economy once, clearly knows how to do it a second time.”
Stone said, however, that it was “too early to say” what could happen in the 2020 presidential election.
“Any professional in American politics understands the volatility of the electorate and the completely fluid nature of the political situation,” Stone said. “It is very hard to know what will happen, but I still believe there is greater intensity among the president’s supporters than supporters for Joe Biden.”
He added: “I think Trump is a great campaigner, a great communicator. He outworked his opponent in 2016, and he will outwork Biden. I think he will ultimately win.”
Meanwhile, just hours before the interview with Fox News, Facebook announced it had removed a network of accounts on the platform and on Instagram allegedly linked to Stone. The company said the accounts were allegedly involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior in the United States.” The networks, according to Facebook, were focused on domestic audiences.
Facebook said it “identified the full scope” of the networks “following the recent public release of search warrants pertaining to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in response to a joint petition from The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Politico.”
“Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates,” Facebook said Wednesday.
Stone, however, denied being linked to the accounts, calling Facebook's accusations "defamatory."
“They’ll have a chance to prove it. Words on a press release are assertions and accusations. It is false,” Stone said. “It is put up or shut up time very soon. They’ll get a chance to show me the illegitimate sites. They don’t exist. I don’t own hundreds of Facebook pages and I never have.”
Stone told Fox News he plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant.
“My lawsuit against Facebook will be a defamation suit,” he said. “They have accused me of doing something that they imply is illegal and violated their rules.”
He added: “It’s not true. I can prove it’s not true.”
Stone claimed that Facebook's actions were "attempted character assassination to derail clemency."
"I don't know what the president is going to do. I have no indication. I have no promises. I have no assurances. I only have his tweets. That's all I have to go on and the fact that I've known him for 40 years and know the kind of man he is," Stone told Fox News. "This Facebook thing is designed to depict me in a negative light."
He added: "I don't think it is coincidental."