At least nineteen people were killed and six injured on Tuesday in an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the Iranian capital Tehran, Fars news agency reported, quoting a state official.
Trump commutes sentence of Roger Stone, longtime friend and adviser – The Guardian
Move means Stone, due to serve more than three years for crimes related to Russia investigation, will not set foot in prison
Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of Roger Stone, a longtime friend and former campaign adviser who was to spend three years and four months in jail for crimes related to the Russia investigation.
In a statement released on Friday evening, the White House denounced the prosecution of Stone on charges stemming from the Russia Hoax investigation. Roger Stone has already suffered greatly, the statement reads. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!
Stone, 67, was convicted in November 2019 of obstructing a congressional investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. He was sentenced in February to 40 months and was due to report to prison on Tuesday.
The commutation does not erase Stones felony convictions the way a pardon would, but it allows Stone to avoid setting foot in prison for his crimes.
Echoing the language that Trump has used in tweets and speeches, the official White House statement attacked the witch hunts led by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Stone had been openly lobbying Trump for clemency for months.
The president told me he thought my trial has been unfair, Stone told the Associated Press on Friday.
While not unexpected, Trumps move to spare Stone from prison will only increase alarm among critics concerned that the Trump administration has interfered with the justice system in order to shield the president and his friends.
In February, Trump commuted the 14-year sentence of Rod Blagojevich, a former Democratic Illinois governor accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. He also offered clemency for allies including the Maricopa county, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio, who disobeyed a judges order to stop racial profiling immigrants, and the conservative commentator Dinesh DSouza, who was convicted of campaign finance violations.
Last month, Trump fired Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney who had prosecuted the presidents former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and was investigating Rudy Giuliani another Trump lawyer. And in May, the justice department dismissed its case against the former national security adviser Michael Flynn after Trump complained that prosecutors were acting unfairly.
With Trump, there are now two systems of justice in America: one for Trumps criminal friends and one for everyone else, said Adam Schiff, a Democratic US representative of California and the lead prosecutor in the presidents impeachment trial, in reaction to the news.
Regardless of our political parties or differences, we all know this is disgraceful, said Val Demings, a Democratic US representative of Florida. Pray that our republic will endure.
The commuting of Stones sentence comes after the US attorney general, William Barr, revised prosecutors original recommendation that Stone serve seven to nine years in federal prison. Trump had railed that the conviction should be thrown out and called the justice departments initial sentencing recommendation horrible and very unfair. Following the reversal, the entire prosecution team working on the case resigned.
Although the White House did not dispute that Stone had committed the crimes for which he was convicted, its statement argued that Stone would not have been charged if the special counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation.
Stone was celebrating in Florida with conservative friends, according to the AP. He told reporters there were too many people opening bottles of champagne here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Roger Stone: Trump commutes ex-adviser’s sentence – BBC News
The president has said all along the self-proclaimed political dirty trickster was treated unfairly.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption
Roger Stone has maintained all along that the case against him was politically motivated
US President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of his former adviser Roger Stone.
The announcement came just after the Washington DC Court of Appeals denied Stone’s request to delay the start date of his custodial term of 40 months.
He was convicted of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.
Stone was the sixth Trump aide found guilty on charges linked to a justice department probe that alleged Russia tried to boost the Trump 2016 campaign.
The 67-year-old had been due to report to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia, next Tuesday.
What did the president say?
The White House said in a statement: “Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency.”
It said that Department of Justice prosecutors under special counsel Robert Mueller only charged Stone out of frustration after failing to prove the “fantasy” that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Kremlin.
“This is why the out-of-control Mueller prosecutors, desperate for splashy headlines to compensate for a failed investigation, set their sights on Mr Stone,” said the statement.
The White House also suggested that the FBI had tipped off CNN about their pre-dawn raid on Stone’s house, noting that a camera crew for the cable network was on the scene to record the arrest.
“Roger Stone has already suffered greatly,” the statement said. “He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”
It’s hard to say the president’s decision to grant clemency to his long-time friend and political counsellor is surprising, but it’s still jarring. Even though the president has called the special counsel investigation that prosecuted Stone a sham and a partisan witch hunt, Stone was duly convicted of serious crimes.
Meanwhile, Stone’s active lobbying for a commutation, recently saying that he could have “easily” turned on the president to avoid trial, was unseemly at best.
Mr Trump is not the first president to issue controversial pardons or commutations for friends and associates, of course. Most of his predecessors, however, waited until the last days of their presidency to take such actions, as they knew the political firestorms they would generate.
Mr Trump, on the other hand, seems to relish the controversy. Like much of his time in office, his actions are done with an eye toward a base that views instigating political opponents as an end to itself.
While the action will be sharply criticised, at this point in the Trump presidency his critics and his allies appear pretty much set in stone. Giving Stone a reprieve won’t win Mr Trump any new support, but that’s not the point. He’s helping a loyal friend, critics be damned.
What’s the reaction?
House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff condemned Mr Trump’s clemency.
“With this commutation,” said the top Democratic lawmaker, “Trump makes clear that there are two systems of justice in America: one for his criminal friends, and one for everyone else.”
The president has been accused by political critics of undermining the rule of law by criticising criminal cases against Stone and other former aides.
Mr Trump has also publicly groused about the prosecutions of onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
What was Stone convicted of?
The president’s commutation does not void a criminal conviction as a pardon does.
Stone was found guilty of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact Wikileaks, the website that released damaging emails about Mr Trump’s 2016 Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton.
US intelligence officials have concluded the messages were stolen by Russian hackers.
Media captionTrump: ‘I’d love to see Roger Stone exonerated’
Stone’s sentence fell short of an initial seven-to-nine-year recommendation from prosecutors.
Who is Roger Stone?
Stone has worked with Republicans since the 1970s and has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back.
In the 1990s, Stone worked as a lobbyist for Mr Trump’s casino business, and later helped Mr Trump’s unsuccessful White House run in 2000.
According to the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, the strategist reportedly encouraged Mr Trump to run for the presidency again.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption
Stone helped Donald Trump in his failed bid for the presidency in 2000
In Tackling Coronavirus, Scotland Asserts Its Separateness From England – The New York Times
The measured response by Scotland’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is a marked contrast to the freewheeling approach of Prime Minister Boris Johnson — and appears to be working.
Its reported death rate of 46 per 100,000 is far lower than the 71 per 100,000 in England. But it is on a par with France and higher than Northern Ireland. England has 56 million people, compared with Scotlands 5.4 million. It is sparsely populated, without a metropolis like London, where the outbreak exploded in early March. Fortunate timing may have spared it the worst.
Scotland was six or seven days behind London, said Mark Woolhouse, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. That is a very long time, if the epidemic is doubling every three or four days. Scotlands experience, he added, was not particularly better or worse than other European countries.
For many in Scotland, however, what matters is not how their country fared relative to the rest of the world, but how it stacks up to England. Ms. Sturgeons approval ratings have risen to above 80 percent, while Mr. Johnsons ratings have declined. That could embolden her to press him to allow another independence referendum something he has so far ruled out.
They might still say no, said Nicola McEwen, a professor of politics at the University of Edinburgh. But it will be more difficult. She is emerging from this, at least so far, with more authority and more respect.
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