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July 11, 2020

After President Trump controversially commuted his 40-month sentence Friday, Roger Stone told NBC News he plans to celebrate his freedom by writing a book about his experience, possibly filing a complaint against federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky — who Stone accused of defrauding the courts and breaking the law on "numerous occasions" — and helping "exonerate" former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Flynn, like Stone, was entangled in the 2016 Russian election interference scandal and twice pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to FBI agents in January 2017 about his meetings with Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. But Flynn eventually moved to withdraw those guilty pleas, and the Justice Department in May dropped his criminal charges, a decision upheld by a federal appeals court in June. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has requested the full bench of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals review the panel's decision.

But even if the panel's ruling holds, Stone apparently has joined the ranks of Trump allies who don't think the dismissal of Flynn's criminal charges goes far enough. Per Politico, multiple people working on the Trump re-election campaign said they would welcome Flynn back into their ranks, although he hasn't been offered a formal position. The thinking seems to be that Flynn would help energize Trump's conservative base, which views him as a victim, Politico reports. "Great surrogate — lots of people would come to see him," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). "He's the perfect example of deep state victimization. Pretty powerful." Read more from Stone about Trump's decision at NBC News and about the push to bring Flynn back into the fold at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

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