I don’t give a flying f*ck about Roger Stone, or whether or not he goes to prison. Our nation has SO many more pressing problems to deal with. However, what I just now realized, is that with his sentence commutation, comes a signal to anyone who may wish to “help” Donald Trump win the election, that they will not do any time in prison for it.
Oh, they may still have a felony on their record. But they will have that on their record while they live a free life. And Roger Stone will likely be pardoned as well.
There’s even precedent for it.
And before we climb over each other to reinstate the reputation of George W. Bush, let’s not forget that Bush did the same thing for Scooter Libby. This too was a quid pro quo for doing unsavory things for his boss.
In October 2005, Libby resigned from all three government positions after he was indicted on five counts by a federal grand jury concerning the investigation of the leak of the covert identity of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame Wilson. He was subsequently convicted of four counts (one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and one count of making false statements), making him the highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since John Poindexter, the national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan in the Iran–Contra affair.
After a failed appeal, President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence of 30 months in federal prison, leaving the other parts of his sentence intact. As a consequence of his conviction in United States v. Libby, Libby’s license to practice law was suspended until being reinstated in 2016.
Oh, and by the way………..
President Donald Trump fully pardoned Libby on April 13, 2018.
So, as the WaPo Editorial Board has already said, this act, by the president of the United States “is one of the most nauseating instances of corrupt government favoritism the United States has ever seen.”
They also said:
The United States is supposed to be a place in which laws apply equally to all. And while it never has — and never will — live up to that ideal in full, no modern president before Mr. Trump has so clearly renounced it. The president seems to be doing his best, within the confines of the U.S. constitutional system, to emulate the gangster leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a man whose ruinous reign Mr. Trump has always admired.
If the country needed any more evidence, Friday confirmed that the greatest threat to the Republic is the president himself.
Could anyone imagine, only four short years ago, that these words would be printed on behalf of the Washington Post’s Editorial Board?
“……..the greatest threat to the Republic is the president himself.”
But the true intention of the commutation, in my opinion, is what is most important to scrutinize.
As Trump did with his pardon of Scooter Libby in 2018, Donald Trump is signaling to anyone who’s listening, that he welcomes any and all assistance, legal or illegal, to keep him in office for another four years.
AG Bill Barr has already signaled to Valdimir Putin that his continued assistance would be appreciated, and not prosecuted.
So it is that Attorney General William P. Barr, having already worked to secure a lighter sentence for Trump pal Roger Stone, has now given former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn the equivalent of a get-out-of-jail-free card, abandoning the case against him just as Flynn was about to be sentenced.
Soon after, Trump spoke on the phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the two had good reason to celebrate.
While Putin’s 2016 effort to get Trump elected was, in large part, an attempt to discredit Western democracy, he could barely have imagined how effective it would be. Not only is our election system now in a credibility crisis, Trump has made our legal system a joke, too. What could make Putin happier?
Additionally, whatever sanctions the Trump Administration have imposed upon Russia, they have been (designed to be?) ineffectual at best:
On the other hand, there are ample indications that the administration is not nearly as committed to a firm strategy with Russia.
Aforementioned delays, reversals, or modifications of US sanctions against Russia are particularly illustrative—they have been ceded to the Russians without any identified national quid pro quo.
Moreover, the administration has been reluctant to move forward with sanctions authorities granted to it—such as in CAATSA—even in areas where it shares strategic sympathy with the terms of the legislation, such as sanctions on Nordstream-2. The president’s own personal views on Russia and attempts to build a positive relationship with President Vladimir Putin and his envoys have also suggested a less than firm commitment toward a tough strategic posture.
The 2018 Helsinki press conference underlines this point, as the president refused to side with the US Intelligence Community over Putin in their description of Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
The creation of a National Cyber Director is a major recommendation of the Solarium Commission, a Congressionally chartered group that includes members of Congress and the Trump administration, as well as private sector leaders.
A federal advisor specializing in cyber-security issues is not a new idea, but the position has been marginalized under the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump’s current cyber-security advisor is Rudy Giuliani, who months after being named to the post in 2017 had trouble unlocking his iPhone and is known to butt-dial members of the press.
The position of a cyber-security advisor was first created during the George W. Bush administration. The first post was filled by both Howard Schmidt and Richard Clarke, who served as “special” cyber-security advisers.
ALL of these actions and situations point to Trump’s continued negligence and incompetence when it comes to protecting our elections.