Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner said on Thursday that the controversy surrounding the Justice Department overruling prosecutors in the Roger Stone case could have been “completely avoidable” if President Donald Trump would just pardon his “friend” Stone.
Presidents do it “all the time,” she said.
With Trump and right-wing media now taking aim at the jury who delivered the guilty verdict in the trial of the longtime Trump confidant, Fox News opinion roundtable show Outnumbered opened Thursday’s broadcast by brushing off criticism that the president is using Attorney General William Barr to politically interfere in the prosecutions of his allies.
“It’s not like he grounded his plane on a tarmac and put pressure on him,” Fox News contributor Charlie Hurt, serving as the female-hosted show’s “One Lucky Guy,” said. “He didn’t do that, he publicly said, I give them a lot of leeway, the president has a voice. He can use it, a public statement, that’s the political discussion, political question. That’s great.”
“You think the president should weigh in on the sentencing?” Fox News commentator Leslie Marshall reacted.
“Sure, I have no problem with it,” Hurt declared. “The president needs to focus on getting re-elected but after the election, I think he absolutely should pardon everybody that has been caught up in this political witch hunt.”
Faulkner, meanwhile, stated that she “didn’t understand why the president didn’t just pardon Roger Stone or anybody else that he’s interested in doing that,” adding that he’s instead making things worse by “messing the post up, stirring it.”
Hurt would later piggyback on Faulkner’s point, claiming that Stone’s convictions of obstruction, witness tampering and lying to Congress weren’t “actual crimes” and were just the end result of a “failed political pursuit” of Trump.
Faulkner, one of the network’s ostensible “straight news” anchors, went on to say that the only charge that appeared to be serious was the witness tampering one but if investigators “take a re-look at the case, they will decide whether or not that actually happened.”
“We have to wait to see,” she continued. “So maybe it’s worth another look. But again, all of this is completely avoidable if the president just says, ‘You know what, I want to pardon my friend.' And there’s nothing wrong with that! Presidents pardon people all the time!”
Faulkner’s assertion that the president should just go ahead and pardon Stone comes on the heels of Fox News primetime opinion host Tucker Carlson’s full-court press to convince Trump to clear the notorious “dirty trickster.”
All four prosecutors involved in the Stone case, meanwhile, withdrew on Tuesday after the DOJ superseded their recommendation that former Trump adviser receive seven to nine years in prison. The Justice Department pushing for a shorter term came just hours after Trump railed against the sentence in a late-night Twitter rant. Since then, Trump has publicly congratulated Barr for undermining the prosecutors.
Democrats, meanwhile, have called for an investigation of the Justice Department's decision to reduce its recommended sentence while demanding Barr resign.