Roger Stone probably views his sentencing Thursday morning as a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is that he wasn’t sentenced to from seven to nine years. The bad news is that he wasn’t let off the hook altogether and was sentenced to three years, four months. Axios What they’re saying: Judge Amy Berman Jackson said just prior to his sentencing that Stone “was not prosecuted for standing up for the president, he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” She also said that he “will not be sentenced for who his friends are, or who his enemies are.” “The truth still matters. Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t” poses a threat to “the very foundation of this democracy,” she added. […] The big picture: Both the sentencing about-face and Trump’s continued comments on Stone’s case have led to headaches for Barr. Congressional Democrats and former Justice Department officials have scrutinized the revised sentencing recommendation, calling it evidence of political interference. […] Now the big question is, will Trump pardon Stone altogether? The new lead prosecutor told the judge that he could not discuss the circumstances that led to or who wrote a revised sentencing recommendation that argued for significantly less prison time, per Vox’s Andrew Prokop. One way to look at the Judge accepting a revised sentencing recommendation is that it makes it tougher for Trump to argue how horrendously “horrible” or “unfair” the sentence is, which was his initial reaction to sentencing guidelines. Stone is now sentenced to serve less than half the minimum time originally discussed. Arguing horrible on those facts will be difficult. Plus, the optics of pardoning Stone are not what you might call terrific. Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress and threatening a witness. He did it to cover up for Trump. His sentence is justified. It should go without saying, but to pardon Stone when his crimes were committed to protect Trump would be a breathtaking act of corruption. — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 20, 2020 Unfortunately, “breathtaking corruption” is standard operating procedure for Donald Trump. He knows no other way.
Julian Assange is in a pre-trial hearing in the UK. This Twitter thread is worth reading, since Trump is currently suffering from pardon fever and Dana Rohrabacher discussed a pardon for Assange if he could exculpate Russia’s participation in the DNC hack, where the emails which were later published on WikiLeaks were obtained. Ultimately, pardons may be the way that Trump covers his tracks in blanket and shameless fashion. From what we’ve seen so far, that would appear to be the case. Julian Assange court appearance today- His lawyer mentioned a statement, that alleges former US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher visited Assange, saying he was there on behalf of the President, offering a pardon if JA would say Russia had nothing to do with DNC leaks. @SBSNews — Ben Lewis (@benlewismedia) February 19, 2020 Expect we’ll hear more about this come the main hearing. Rest of today’s brief appearance was mainly administrative. — Ben Lewis (@benlewismedia) February 19, 2020 Getting lots of Assange related questions- in short, it's an allegation (not proven) made in a statement by one of Mr Assange's own lawyers. We only know about its existence now as there was a discussion between judge and legal teams about the evidence that's being submitted. — Ben Lewis (@benlewismedia) February 19, 2020 Mr Assange's lawyer who mentioned the statement in court was Edward Fitzgerald QC. The statement itself is by Jennifer Robinson, Mr Assange's long time legal counsel. — Ben Lewis (@benlewismedia) February 19, 2020 Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2017: The proposal made by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.), in a phone call Wednesday with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, was apparently aimed at resolving the probe of WikiLeaks prompted by Mr. Assange’s publication of secret U.S. government documents in 2010 through a pardon or other act of clemency from President Donald Trump. The possible “deal”—a term used by Mr. Rohrabacher during the Wednesday phone call—would involve a pardon of Mr. Assange or “something like that,” Mr. Rohrabacher said. In exchange, Mr. Assange would probably present a computer drive or other data-storage device that Mr. Rohrabacher said would exonerate Russia in the long-running controversy about who was the source of hacked and stolen material aimed at embarrassing the Democratic Party during the 2016 election. […] In the call with Mr. Kelly, Mr. Rohrabacher pushed for a meeting between Mr. Assange and a representative of Mr. Trump, preferably someone with direct communication with the president. “I would be happy to go with somebody you trust whether it is somebody at the FBI; somebody on your staff,” Mr. Rohrabacher said. The California congressman said he would be pleased to talk to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, but that the agency “has its limitations” and wanted “to cover their butt by having gone along with this big lie.” The CIA was one of the intelligence agencies that helped determine in January that emails from prominent Democrats were stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks. You may recall that Dana Rohrabacher enjoyed the distinction of being called Vladimir Putin’s “favorite congressman.” You may also recall Kevin McCarthy’s now-famous statement, “I’m pretty sure there are two people on Putin’s payroll. One of them is Rohrabacher and the other is Trump.” The Assange trial bears keeping an eye on. Interesting facts and persons of interest may come […]
Don’t look for too much honor among thieves, at least not in this White House. Nobody is safe from anybody, as long as the agenda of the Big Orange Goon is served — and that mandate changes from moment to moment. Marc Short, Chief of Staff to Mike Pence, said that Bill Barr acted of his own volition in seeking to reduce Roger Stone’s sentence and that Donald Trump didn’t say one word — directly, that is. Right. On CNN, Marc Short, chief of staff for Pence, insists AG Barr's move to reduce Roger Stone's sentencing recommendation was a decision he made independently of Trump's Twitter tantrum on the same topic because "he said the president has not called him directly to do these things." pic.twitter.com/AASijd7AeG — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 16, 2020 No, Trump might not have “called directly” but he certainly tweeted directly, not just to Bill Barr but to the world. As Michael Cohen said, Trump would speak in code and one would know what he wanted done. The code words which Trump employed with respect to Stone’s sentence, “horrible” and “unfair” were not exactly cryptography. Anybody reading that tweet knew what Trump wanted. Or, maybe Bill Barr didn’t know about the tweet, and never has cause to speak to Trump or know his mind, and just out of the blue decided poor Roger Stone had gotten a raw deal and it was time to weaponize the DOJ and help him out — and it’s mere coincidence that Stone is one of Trump’s oldest friends. Right. And Short also says that the White House has a lot of confidence in Barr — even after his comment that Trump should stop tweeting about him. Isn’t that amusing, that Short is trying to gaslight us into thinking that Barr’s P.R. stunt is real. So, let’s keep score here now: Barr is trying to convince us all he’s independent from Trump and so is the DOJ and Short is trying to convince us that everything in this White House is normal. It’s going to be a long year. Look at what we’ve already been through and it’s the middle of February.
Roger Stone’s lawyers are claiming “significant bias” on the part of the jury forewoman and on that basis have moved for a new trial. The alleged bias that is known at this time is that the forewoman has made Facebook posts critical of Donald Trump and so apparently that is being conflated as desire to do a hit job on any and all Trump allies and cronies. Interesting angle. U.S. prosecutors have until Tuesday to respond — assuming there are any available. Washington Post: Defense attorneys for Roger Stone demanded a new trial Friday, one day after President Trump suggested that the forewoman in his friend’s case had “significant bias.” The legal motion could delay Stone’s Feb. 20 sentencing date on charges of witness tampering and lying to Congress. […] “Now it looks like the fore person in the jury, in the Roger Stone case, had significant bias,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday, in a week in which his public comments have set off a crisis of confidence in the Justice Department. “Add that to everything else, and this is not looking good for the ‘Justice’ Department.” Trump was referring to Tomeka Hart, a former president of the Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners and unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Congress. Hart has identified herself as the forewoman of the jury in a Facebook post, saying she “can’t keep quiet any longer” in the wake of the Justice Department move to reduce its sentencing recommendation for Stone from the seven-to-nine years recommended by front-line prosecutors. Apparently the fact that Hart is a Democrat and a politically active enough one to run for Congress is now being used against her to prove bias. This is conjecture on my part, I haven’t read this — yet. But I’ve been interpreting the tweets and tea leaves of Donald Trump long enough to know that he sees everything in simplistic tribal terms. Moreover, there’s an interesting fact to be observed here, and not for the first time: Trump tweets Thursday and Friday a motion for a new trial takes place. Presidential tweet is now the law of the land.
If you have a weak stomach, you might want to avoid Trump’s Twitter feed for a while, because it’s about to get bloody. Trump’s Department of Justice announced today that they won’t be filing charges or prosecuting former FBI Director Andrew McCabe. This follows the quiet announcement a few months ago that there will be no charges brought against McCabe’s former boss, James Comey either. This is going to get ugly quickly. For months now, it has been a standard part of Trump’s rally speech to not only opine, but to demand that “criminal” characters like Comey, McCabe, Brennan, Stzrok and Page be tried and imprisoned for their treason. But the fact that Trump’s own Justice Department keeps having to publicly have to decline to charge or prosecute these cases only undercuts his claims. But it isn’t going to stop. In fact, it’s only going to get worse as far as I can see. Because this is a fight that Trump can’t quit, simply because it goes to the core of his very being. When looking at Trump, and his reaction to the entire Trump-Russia investigation, you have to keep two things in mind. When it comes to Donald Trump, there are two absolutes, his omnipotence is absolute, and his thirst for payback in unquenchable. Trump has been impeached, and there isn’t a damn thing he can ever do to change that fact.His impotence to strike back at this outrage almost paralyzes him. Not only is he the third president to be impeached, but the first to have a member of his own party vote to convict him. And since he can’t change it, and it’s hard to sell it as an exoneration, he has to distract from it. Now, the Russia investigation is different. In the Russia investigation, Trump actually turned a clear victory into a -palpable defeat. And right now, he’s trying to take that palpable defeat and turn it into a total debacle. And because he’s Trump, and his dignity has been personally dented, he just can’t stop digging the hole deeper. Look what happened in the Russia investigation. After an exhaustive 20 month investigation, Robert Mueller did two things. He declined to opine on whether the President had committed crimes, since the standing DOJ policy prohibited charging a sitting president, and out of an abundance of caution, he declined to recommend that congress begin impeachment hearings on the matter. Game over. Exoneration, take a victory lap and move on. Except that Trump can’t do that. He can’t do that because his superiority was questioned, his power and authority were questioned, and his perceived honor was impugned. Exoneration isn’t enough for a man like Trump, he needs vindication, but most importantly, he needs retribution. And when Trump wants retribution, retribution is what he’s going to get. After all, why else would he install his own personal Roy Cohn to make sure his every whim is satisfied. Comey fucked with him, McCabe fucked with him, Brennan fucked with him, Stzrok fucked with him, Page fucked with him. And when somebody fucks with Trump, he fucks back ten times harder. All he has to do is to make his hysterical accusations, and the prosecutions follow. After all, it’s not like there’s a rule of law or anything in this country. But Trump […]
It’s only a matter of time before our Liar-in-Chief admits to everything — “Why wouldn’t he take a meeting with a foreign country who has Dirt on his Opponents?” Trump has admitted as much. Because he...
“Win” may be Donald Trump’s favorite word. He likes to win. Win. Win. Winnity win. So much win. But is it really a win if you don’t get to revel in it? Okay, sure, so...
All Four Stone Prosecutors Have Bailed #ImpeachBarrNow Trending Nationally — Maybe Trump Should Pardon...
This has been an amazing day. Donald Trump tweeted at 1:48 a.m. about how “horrible” and “unfair” the sentencing guidelines of seven to nine years were for his old buddy Roger Stone. Bill Barr wasted no time and got involved, challenging front-line prosecutors’ recommendations as “extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses,” in the words of a senior DOJ official. That triggered the first resignation, of Aaron Zelinsky. In the next few hours the other three prosecutors, some of them who had previously worked with Robert Mueller, to wit, Johnathon Kravis, Adam C. Jed and Michael J. Merendo, also withdrew from the case. Washington Post: Former Justice Department officials and those on the political left asserted the department’s abrupt shift on Stone was an egregious example of the president and his attorney general bending federal law enforcement to serve their political interests. David Laufman, a former Justice Department official, called it a “shocking, cram-down political intervention” in the criminal justice process. “We are now truly at a break-glass-in-case-of-fire moment for the Justice Dept.,” he wrote on Twitter. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) said the move amounted to “obstruction of justice.” “We are seeing a full-frontal assault on the rule of law in America,” Pascrell said. “Direct political interference in our justice system is a hallmark of a banana republic. Despite whatever Trump, William Barr, and their helpers think, the United States is a nation of laws and not an authoritarian’s paradise.” Then #ImpeachBarrNow got rolling. Dems must launch an impeachment investigation of Bill Barr now based on his abuse of power, lies to Congress and his involvement in Ukrainegate. Time is of the essence. @SoCalBarb #ImpeachBarrNow — ruby (@ScuttleTrump) February 11, 2020 Barr should have been impeached when he misrepresented the Mueller Report to the country and then made false statements yo Congress. He’s corrupted the DOJ. But the GOP Senate would never remove him no matter what he did. That’s why voters need to remove them.#ImpeachBarrNow — TheValuesVoter (@TheValuesVoter) February 11, 2020 Now here’s a thought that, at first blush, seems crazy. But listen to the rationale. Maybe this guy has something. Raw Story: On CNN Tuesday, former FBI General Counsel James Baker suggested that as bad as it would be for President Donald Trump to pardon his former campaign strategist Roger Stone, he might as well do it now — because the turmoil he is creating at the Department of Justice over the case, and the resignations of career prosecutors, is doing even worse damage to the country. “While I am proud of the prosecutors, this is a bad day for the Justice Department,” said Baker. “And everybody knows that the president is going to pardon Roger Stone. So just do it. Do it now, and don’t wait for the day after the election when you are going to do it. It is better to frankly abuse that power of the pardon power than trash the Department of Justice. So I would say, Mr. President, just go ahead and pardon him, and jump to what is going to happen.” This seems a bit extreme to me, but maybe Baker is right. But if Trump did do this, then it might be one more small step into the gutter for Trump but it will be one giant leap towards the […]
The Roger Stone sentencing matter is careening into the ugly zone of dirty politics, and fast. Aaron Zelinsky, who had been a prosecutor in the special counsel's office, has moved to withdraw from Roger Stone's case. pic.twitter.com/3mHkuvgHhz — Brad Heath (@bradheath) February 11, 2020 It can be reasonably inferred that Zelinsky is not happy with the sentencing guidelines being questioned, and that was predicted earlier in the day when the Washington Post stated that career prosecutors were going to see this as a slap in the face. John Dean, of Watergate reknown, says that there’s no question but that Trump’s middle of the night tweet played a role in the DOJ’s decision to revisit the matter, and this quickly. Raw Story: “And I must say, to put the cards on the table, Roger Stone is somebody I hold in minimum high esteem to put it nicely,” Dean said. “In fact, I can’t even say on television my assessment of him, so I was not unhappy to see him get seven to nine.” He noted that he did think it was too aggressive, comparing it to the Watergate precedent. “The most egregious and least cooperative and most belligerent figure was Gordon Liddy, who is someone that Stone admires greatly,” Dean recalled. “He only got four years in prison, but his sentence was commuted by Jimmy Carter when it got to that point. The chief of staff Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, his top domestic adviser, all committed perjury in front of Congress and obstructed justice. They only got 18 months so seven to nine years was very hefty.” He went on to say that it’s clear Bill Barr is having a huge influence, even though the judge in the case is the one who will get the final decision. And the Judge, if you recollect, Amy Berman Jackson, is the one that Stone depicted on Instagram with rifle cross-hairs near her head. But maybe Trump will pardon Stone anyway. We’re going to find out soon.
Bill Barr is nothing if not the compliant lap dog of Donald Trump. Trump went bonkers on Twitter at 2:00 a.m. about how awful the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone was and now a new one is in the works at the Department of Justice. Washington Post: In a stunning rebuke of career prosecutors that will surely raise questions about political meddling 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. “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 President Trump tweeted of the sentence prosecutors recommended, “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 is the eighth Trump crony to be tried for crimes. Most of them have walked away with less than six months prison time, with the exception of Paul Manafort, who is in for seven and a half years and Michael Cohen for three. Michael Flynn has not been sentenced yet. Stone’s daughter appeared on Fox News and begged Trump to pardon her father — maybe he will. He thinks he’s an invulnerable superman since the senate acquittal, and he feels empowered to do whatever he wants. And as long as Mitch McConnell can use the senate as a conveyor belt to send conservative judges to the bench, he’ll put up with anything from Trump.