Trump doesn't rule out pardon for convicted confidant Roger Stone

President Donald Trump wouldn't rule out pardoning Republican operative Roger Stone, saying Tuesday that "it's very tough" what happened to his former confidant and criticizing federal prosecutors and investigators as "dirty cops" and "evil people."

Trump, talking to reporters following a video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago resort in southern Florida, first said he "hadn't thought of it" when asked if he would pardon Stone, but then lambasted the criminal case against him.

"I think it's very tough what they did to Roger Stone, compared to what they do to other people on their side," Trump said.

"I've known Roger over the years. He's a nice guy. A lot of people like him, and he got hit very hard, as did General Flynn," Trump added, referring to his first national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference into the 2016 election.

Trump added that "a lot of other people...got hit very, very hard."

“And now they're finding out it was all a big hoax. They're finding out it was a horrible thing," he said.

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Roger Stone through the years
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Roger Stone through the years
Political advisor Roger Stone poses for a portrait following an interview in New York City, U.S., February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 03: Attorney Roy Cohn (c.) with Roger Stone (l.) and Mark Fleischman (r.). (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
American Ronald Reagan and Roger Stone at the Chrysler Plant, Detroit, Michigan, September 20, 1980. (Photo by Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Roger Stone speaks to the media at Trump Tower on December 6, 2016 in New York City. Potential members of President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet have been meeting with him and his transition team over the last few weeks. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater are young political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo By Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - DECEMBER 09: Roger J. Stone Jr. discusses and signs copies of his book 'The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ' at Books and Books on December 9, 2013 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - DECEMBER 09: Roger J. Stone Jr. discusses and signs copies of his book 'The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ' at Books and Books on December 9, 2013 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Roger Stone, Ex-Donald Trump Advisor, talks with Jonathan Alter during an episode of Alter Family Politics on SiriusXM at Quicken Loans Arena on July 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Political operative Roger Stone attends rally on the first day of the Republican National Convention (RNC) on July 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in downtown Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The convention runs through July 21. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
HILTON HOTEL MIDTOWN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2016/07/16: Roger Stone attends Donald Trump introduction to Governor Mike Pence as running for vice president at Hilton hotel Midtown Manhattan. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2002: Portrait of Roger Stone (Photo by Pat Carroll/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
American Ronald Reagan and Roger Stone at the Chrysler Plant, Detroit, Michigan, September 20, 1980. (Photo by Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - AUGUST 19: Roger Stone attends Roger Stone Exclusive Photo Session on August 19, 1987 at Alan Flusser Boutique in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - MAY 12: Portrait of Roger Stone (Photo by Pat Carroll/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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"And what they did to so many others is very unfair, and now we found out there are a bunch of dirty cops," Trump said, referring to a Justice Department internal watchdog report that found that the FBI mishandled parts of its application to monitor a Trump campaign aide as it was probing possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. The report, however, also found that the overall investigation was justified.

"These were dirty people, these were bad people, these were evil people," Trump added.

Stone served early on as an adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign and has called the case against him politically motivated.

Stone was found guilty last month on seven counts against him —including witness tampering and making false statements — that were related to his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails in 2016.

Prosecutors portrayed Stone, 67, as a serial liar who tried to bully witnesses into not cooperating with authorities. They charged Stone with making false statements, obstruction and witness tampering in a case that was an offshoot of Mueller's Russia investigation.

Stone was the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of the charges brought as part of Mueller's probe.

His sentencing is set for Feb. 6, and he faces up to 20 years in prison.

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