Bill Barr may have dropped the charges against Michael Flynn (who is now completely down the "deep state" conspiracy theory black hole) in order to save Donald Trump, but Barr apparently isn't going to extend convicted dirty tricks artist Roger Stone the same courtesy. If Trump wants to save Stone from reporting to a Georgia prison on Tuesday, he's going to have to order the pardon himself.
The Justice Department supports longtime Trump friend Roger Stone going to prison on Tuesday, according to a new court filing.
Stone has asked a federal appeals court for emergency help to delay his prison term until September, citing coronavirus.
But the Justice Department, which has been criticized for going easy on Stone, said the report date of July 14 that was set by his trial judge is "a reasonable exercise of that court's discretion based on the totality of the factual and legal circumstances."
The Justice Department argument on Thursday sets up how Stone may need to turn to President Donald Trump as his last hope to avoid prison.
The department told the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday that Stone, 67, hasn't given any legal reasons why he should be treated differently from other convicted felons or kept out of prison at this time. Stone had claimed he had an exceptional situation because his age put him at risk of death from coronavirus in prison.
Stone has all but conceded he's unlikely to get another reprieve from a court before July 14, when he's set to turn himself in to a federal prison camp in Georgia. In recent weeks, he blanketed online forums with pleas for a presidential pardon.
Despite Attorney General William Barr calling Stone's case a "righteous" prosecution, Trump has repeatedly said Stone is a victim of the Mueller investigation, which the President, without basis, has called corrupt and illegal. "He can sleep well at night!" Trump wrote on Twitter on June 4 after a Stone supporter tweeted about a pardon.
Stone's prison term has already been delayed before.
A federal judge delayed Stone's June 30 prison report date by two weeks, ordering him to spend that time at home essentially in quarantine. The prison in Jesup, Georgia, has reported 10 inmates and three staff testing positive with coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, with one staff member recovered. It's unclear how many of those cases are in the medium-security prison versus the camp where Stone is to report.
Stone was indicted in January 2019 on charges including attempting to cover up his efforts to reach WikiLeaks in 2016 to help the Trump campaign access documents stolen by the Russians. Prosecutors argued at the trial that Stone had lied to Congress in 2017 to protect the President.
A jury found him guilty last November, and Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced him to more than three years in prison in February.
So, absent a presidential commutation or full pardon, Roger's going to prison on Tuesday. And if that happens, I bet he'll be willing to make a deal to rat out Trump to save himself.
Clock's ticking, Donald. You've talked a good game, but are you willing to risk Barr's wrath?
President Donald Trump implied in a pair of interviews Thursday that he was ready to grant clemency to Roger Stone, his friend and ally who was convicted of, among other things, lying to Congress and is set to go to prison this month.
Trump is widely expected to pardon or commute Stone's sentence, according to at least half a dozen sources close to the President.
Asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity whether he's considered a pardon or commutation for Stone, Trump said during a phone interview, "I am always thinking."
"You'll be watching like everyone else in this case," he said.
In another interview, with radio host Howie Carr, Trump decried Stone's treatment at the hands of law enforcement and said he may grant his clemency plea.
"He was framed. He was treated horrible. He was treated so badly," Trump said.
Told Stone was "praying" for a pardon ahead of the day he is due to report to prison on July 14, Trump said Thursday, those prayers may be worthwhile.
"If you say he's praying, his prayer may be answered," Trump said. "Let's see what happens."
Stay tuned. That pardon could come as soon as tonight.
What will Barr do in response? Most likely nothing and he'll go around cleaning up the crap all over the floor like he always does, but wouldn't this be funny if it was the last straw?
We'll see. Should be an interesting weekend to say the least.