The former particular counsel Robert Mueller made a uncommon transfer on Saturday to publicly defend his two-year investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump marketing campaign and Russia within the 2016 election – and to castigate Donald Trump’s resolution to commute Roger Stone’s jail sentence.

Mueller wrote an opinion article for the Washington Post [paywall] printed underneath the headline “Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so”.

“The work of the special counsel’s office – its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions – should speak for itself,” he wrote.

“But I really feel compelled to reply each to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives have been improper, and to particular claims that Roger Stone was a sufferer of our workplace …

“Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

Trump commuted Stone’s sentence on Friday evening, sparking outrage from Democrats and some senior Republicans.

Stone was a former marketing campaign adviser to the president, convicted in November 2019 of seven crimes together with obstruction of justice, mendacity to Congress and witness tampering.

He was sentenced in February to 40 months in jail and was attributable to give up on Tuesday, till the president commuted his sentence.

Speaking on Sunday to CNN’s State of the Union, the House speaker Nancy Pelosi mentioned Democrats within the House will pursue laws to limit clemency powers associated to the president’s personal conduct. “It’s a threat to our national security,” she mentioned.

The 2017-19 Mueller investigation uncovered evidence of communications between Stone and WikiLeaks associated to the discharge of hacked Democratic occasion emails throughout the 2016 election, found in a separate inquiry into Russian intelligence officers charged with hacking the emails and staging their launch.

The partially launched Mueller report in April 2019 described Russian efforts to tamper with the election and the Trump marketing campaign’s receptivity to sure “Russian offers of assistance to the campaign”.

It outlined actions by Trump which will have amounted to obstruction of justice and concluded: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Mueller additionally concluded he didn’t have the ability to cost Trump even when he thought it was warranted.

Mueller wrote: “The particular counsel’s workplace recognized two principal operations directed at our election: hacking and dumping Clinton marketing campaign emails, and a web-based social media marketing campaign to disparage the Democratic candidate.

“We additionally recognized quite a few hyperlinks between the Russian authorities and Trump marketing campaign personnel – Stone amongst them. We didn’t set up that members of the Trump marketing campaign conspired with the Russian authorities …

“The investigation did, however, establish that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. [And] that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

Trump has repeatedly tried to discredit Mueller and his investigations.

Mueller has stored his counsel since he testified in Congress in July final 12 months. It was a muted affair, and many perceived Trump was emboldened in his efforts to hunt help in his present election marketing campaign from the Ukraine.

This led to the historic impeachment of the president, and Trump’s final acquittal by the Senate earlier this 12 months.

On Saturday Mueller wrote: “Russia’s actions were a threat to America’s democracy. It was critical that they be investigated and understood.”

‘Historic corruption’ – Romney

Republicans largely stayed silent on the problem on Saturday, nonetheless Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who was additionally the lone GOP senator to vote to convict the president throughout his impeachment trial earlier this 12 months, attacked Trump’s transfer.

“Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president,” Romney tweeted.

Senator Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania, a Republican, additionally referred to as the transfer to commute the sentence a mistake.

Toomey pointed to the backing that the US lawyer basic, William Barr, had given to the Stone prosecution. Barr, who has confronted allegations of utilizing the justice division to defend the president and his associates, had mentioned earlier this month that he regarded the prosecution of Stone as “righteous”.

But most Republicans who did converse out concerning the resolution supported it. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump confidant, mentioned Stone was convicted of a nonviolent, first-time offense and the president was justified in commuting the sentence.

Graham, chair of the Senate judiciary committee, tweeted on Sunday that he would now grant Democrats’ request to name Mueller to offer proof to the committee, as he was prepared to defend the Russia investigation in a newspaper.

Graham is main an investigation by Republicans on the judiciary committee into the origins of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference within the 2016 US presidential election and hyperlinks to the Trump marketing campaign, and alleged misconduct by US intelligence officers.

Democrats say the investigation is a transfer to appease President Trump forward of November’s election.

Associated Press contributed to this report. Additional reporting by Mark Oliver.

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