The prosecution in convicted Trump lackey Roger Stone's case filed sentencing recommendations last night for Stone for witness tampering in his role in the WikiLeaks DNC hack, and asked for seven to nine years in prison. The Trump regime in the last 24 hours has gone completely insane with rage over the recommendation.
The Justice Department plans to reduce its sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Trump, after top officials professed to be blindsided by the seven-to-nine-year penalty prosecutors urged a judge to impose, a senior Justice Department official said Tuesday.
In a stunning rebuke of career prosecutors that immediately raised questions about political interference in the case, a senior Justice Department official said the department “was shocked to see the sentencing recommendation in the Roger Stone case last night.”
“That recommendation is not what had been briefed to the department,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive case. “The department finds the recommendation extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses. The department will clarify its position later today.”
The statement came hours after Trump tweeted about the sentence prosecutors recommended, saying: “This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” The senior Justice Department official, though, said the decision to revise prosecutors’ recommendation came before Trump’s tweet.
Stone was convicted by a jury in November of obstructing Congress and witness tampering. His was the last conviction secured by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as part of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Stone has been a friend and adviser to Trump since the 1980s and was a key figure in his 2016 campaign, working to discover damaging information on Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
All four prosecutors who signed the sentencing memo have now left the Stone case over the DoJ overriding the recommendations, one has resigned from the DoJ completely in protest.
Four federal prosecutors dramatically quit the criminal case against Republican operative Roger Stone as the Department of Justice reduced their recommendation that a judge sentence the longtime ally of President Donald Trump to up to nine years in prison.
In a revised sentencing memo filed Tuesday, Timothy Shea, U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., said Stone deserves to be sentenced to “far less” time in prison than what the four prosecutors, who worked under Shea, proposed Monday.
Jonathan Kravis, who delivered the closing argument at Stone’s trial last fall, resigned as an assistant U.S. Attorney, according to a court filing in Washington federal court.
Kravis, who did not give a reason in the filing, will no longer work as a prosecutor for the federal government.
The other three prosecutors, Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed and Michael Marando, also withdrew from Stone’s case, according to their own separate filings, which did not explain their decision.
But those three all will continue working for the federal government.
Marcy Wheeler believes this is being done to keep Stone from talking to the press. It's not just helping a loyal lackey, it's self-preservation. Trump doesn't just want to commute Stone's sentence or pardon Stone (or both!) but that he has to.
The trial itself provided ample evidence of what Mark Meadows considers “collusion” involving Donald Trump personally. It showed the campaign — and probably Trump personally — were working through Stone to optimize the WikiLeaks releases from the very day they came out on June 14, 2016. It showed that Stone was informing Trump personally about his efforts to optimize the releases. After some arm-twisting to adhere to his grand jury testimony, Steve Bannon testified he knew of all this, contrary to some of what he had said in earlier testimony that Trump would learn about. Erik Prince was in the loop. Gates testified that Stone was strategizing with Jared Kushner on all this. And it appears that Paul Manafort was in the loop, too.
But all that really damning evidence came out in a trial that only had to prove that Stone had lied to cover up the actions he took to optimize the release of the WikiLeaks emails. The trial did not need to explain what Stone’s actual back channel was, what he had to do to obtain it, and how involved Trump was in that process. And the trial did not explain it.
Indeed, there’s evidence I’ll lay out at more length in a follow-up that the government chose not to lay out all it knew. That is, it appears the government came to trial prepared to present evidence about the underlying “collusion,” but ultimately decided to hold it back for now.
At multiple times during the trial, however, the prosecution pointed to suspiciously timed phone calls, right before or after Stone discussed WikiLeaks with Gates, Manafort, or Jerome Corsi. Only Stone or Trump can tell us what happened between the two men, what Trump’s actual role in maximizing the degree to which his campaign benefitted from Russia’s theft of his opponent’s email.
Immediately after the trial, Stone made an intense effort to get Trump to pardon him, with his wife Nydia appearing on Tucker Carlson’s show to ask directly and a man with a vuvuzela inside the White House calling for a pardon gates.
Since that time, Stone was silent, until the time that the Probation Office provided the sentencing range for the crimes that was built in to the way that Mueller charged this just over a year ago. That is, by charging Stone with witness tampering, Mueller built in the possibility that Stone would be facing the steep sentence recommended yesterday. And that steep sentence may have been envisioned not as the sum of what Stone’s actual actions entailed — certainly every single warrant save the last four showed probable cause that Stone had done far more, but rather as leverage to get Stone to tell what he knows about Trump’s involvement in all this.
Bill Barr was brought in as AG to bury abundant evidence that Trump was personally involved in efforts to maximize the Russian operation, to deny all the ways that Trump did cheat to win. From his initial misleading claims in the wake of the report’s release, he was always suppressing the centrality of Roger Stone in all this.
So it’s fairly safe to conclude that DOJ’s reversal today is not just an effort to prevent a rich white man, Roger Stone, from facing the full consequences of his actions, but to prevent voters from learning what another rich white man did to cheat to get elected.
Yes, ultimately Trump will commute what is left of Roger Stone’s sentence, probably on November 4, just like he fired Jeff Sessions the day after the 2018 election. But I suspect that Roger Stone, rightly, isn’t going to leave anything to chance. And so neither can Bill Barr.
And some in Trumpland are saying that Dear Leader will pardon Stone even earlier, as soon as he is sentenced.
Democrats were quick to respond:
Schumer calls for IG probe into DOJ overruling prosecutors to give Roger Stone lighter sentence. Nadler says his panel will “get to the bottom” of it. Schiff says Trump administration represents “the gravest threat” to rule of law “in a generation.” McConnell declines to comment— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 11, 2020
We'll see. The one thing that isn't in doubt is the obvious interference in Stone's case by the Trump regime, but that no longer matters in America, does it?