Through two years of work and a year afterward, Mueller let go unchecked all of the political backlash from Trump and his allies. Three years and three dozen clemencies later, some patterns have emerged.
Earlier this week, CREW warned against a presidential pardon for Stone, saying that leaving him unaccountable for his crimes "months after Barr's DOJ intervened to cut his sentence would make a mockery of 'equal justice under law'".
US President Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of his former adviser Roger Stone. Democratic lawmakers and liberal media outlets continue to insist that Stone was part of a shadowy Kremlin plot to install Trump in the White House - even though an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller failed to find evidence that supports this creative theory.
The political consultant and lobbyist had recently escalated his bid to delay the start of his prison sentence by filing an emergency request asking the appeals court to push back the date of his self-surrender.
Stone had been convicted in the wide-ranging probe of Russia's interference in the 2016 election, an investigation Trump continues to claim was a "hoax" perpetrated to undermine his presidency.
Presidents can grant clemency both through commutations, which reduce a prison sentence but do not erase a conviction, and pardons, which express presidential "forgiveness" and can restore certain civil rights. Who would have believed that one?' Trump said.
Trump's intervention in the criminal case has sparked criticism.
"We also identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel - Stone among them", Mueller wrote.
He pardoned hardline former Arizona county sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Republican White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza and convicted "junk bond king" Michael Milken.
For the president, the commutation risks renewed attention on the assistance provided by Russian Federation to bolster his 2016 campaign.
Presidential pardons have always been a subject of debate and presidents using this power in the past have attracted criticism and accusations of misconduct.
Trump isn't the only president to use his power to help allies. Obama granted a total of 212 pardons before leaving office, fewer than any of his modern predecessors with the exceptions of former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. And he's repeatedly said publicly and behind closed doors that Stone was unfairly ensnared in a Russian Federation probe that the president maintains had no legal foundation. Trump has also in several cases commuted the sentences of individuals convicted for non-violent drug offenses, following personal pleas from Kim Kardashian West. "It's especially egregious in light of the systemic racism that plagues our broken criminal justice system, sending the message that white, rich, and well-connected men can escape the consequences of their crimes". He argued that his age and undisclosed medical issues would leave him vulnerable in the prison system amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
"But rather than allow him to surrender himself, they used dozens of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents with automatic weapons and tactical equipment, armored vehicles, and an amphibious unit to execute a pre-dawn raid of his home, where he was with his wife of many years", White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany's statement said.
Roger Stone spoke to reporters following Donald Trump's decision. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) are the only Republican senators who have condemned the move, with Romney calling it "unprecedented, historic corruption" and Toomey noting that Stone was "duly convicted" by a jury.
"It shouldn't matter whether you're a Democrat or Republican", he said.