Welcome to the transition of the United States from the rule of law to Trumplaw, which is on it’s way to being the new law of the land, thanks to a complicit and comatose GOP and a corrupt Attorney General who isn’t bothering any more to even give the appearance of an independent Justice Department, or to pretend that he is a real attorney general and not just Donald Trump’s lackey and hatchet man.
The key attributes of Trumplaw which have been established recently are: 1. If you testify truthfully under oath about Trump’s crimes, that is a firing offense and ratchets you and your family members to the top of the Enemies List, look out; and 2. Line-prosecutors following the guidelines and standards set by law will be ignored, and those law enforcement officers attempting to enforce same will be targeted by the president* and added to the Enemies List. I daresay that more basic tenets of Trumplaw will be further elaborated upon and codified in the days ahead. History will record that the post-acquittal period was when Trump decided he was omniscient and Barr decided to drop all pretense that the DOJ had a function other than to do Trump’s dirty work. But here’s the rub, and this is key: this isn’t about Roger Stone at all. This is about Trump sticking it to America. Daily Beast:
Donald Trump’s public intervention in Roger Stone’s sentencing has little to do with Roger Stone’s fate, and everything to do with Trump’s effort to render every governmental authority except for his own a sham.
That includes the authority, and fairness, of the justice system.
The contempt is the point. There is every reason to expect that Trump will pardon Stone before he sets foot in prison, even if the dirty trickster receives a low sentence for his very serious crimes, which entailed obstructing inquiries into Trump’s own misconduct.
Trump hardly appears interested in favorably influencing the judge who is about to sentence Stone. On the contrary, Trump has personally attacked her. In fact, it is a near certainty that Trump will pardon Stone before he sets foot in prison, even if he receives a low sentence for his very serious crimes, which entailed obstructing inquiries into Trump’s own misconduct. Trump all but declared as much today when asked about the prospect of clemency for Stone, responding: “I don’t want to say that yet.”
But by inducing his attorney general, Bill Barr, to humiliate himself and the Department of Justice through the public repudiation of the DOJ’s own sentencing recommendation less than 24 hours after it was filed, Trump has demonstrated that the justice system is, finally, being molded to his will and whims.
This is all that it’s about. And Bill Barr has played in totally to Trump’s whims in this regard. He has destroyed the credibility of the Justice Department in the past 24 hours, allowing Trump to not only show that he is above the law, he is the law.
It is impossible to overstate the damage that was done Tuesday when Trump sent out his tweet complaining that Stone’s sentencing was “horrible” and “unfair” and Barr toadied right along in step and intervened. In doing so, he caused the four prosecutors who tried the case to walk away in protest and the effect of that is that now it’s clear that a presidential* tweet is the highest authority, one sufficient to overturn cases at the sentencing stage.
What Barr did, in essence, is undermine the respect that the Department of Justice has always commanded, and the weight given to the abilities of line-level federal prosecutors. Traditionally, their arguments on behalf of the DOJ have been taken quite seriously by federal judges, based upon the DOJ’s deserved reputation for demanding only the highest standards of factual credibility and legal integrity possible. All that was effectively shit-canned on Tuesday by Bill Barr.
Since early on in his tenure as Attorney General, Barr displayed his willingness, if not eagerness, to sacrifice the Justice Department’s credibility in lieu of obedience to the Will of Trump, by his sham letter to Congress, wherein he lied about the content of the Mueller report. This was Barr blatantly refusing to cooperate with Congress to hold Trump accountable for misconduct unearthed by the Mueller report, and that started the downhill slide of both Barr’s and the DOJ’s credibility as an independent institution of government.
That was then and Tuesday, Barr showed no hesitation to insult people’s intelligence further, by suggesting that Trump’s early morning tweet had nothing to do with a sudden finding on the part of the DOJ that Roger Stone’s sentence was “extreme.” That sham provoked the withdrawal from the case of all four prosecutors, one of whom left the DOJ altogether.
Tuesday was an important day in American history. It will be remembered as the turning point where we irrevocably went from democracy to banana republic. From here on out, unless Bill Barr has the class to resign, which is doubtful, or is in fact impeached, also doubtful considering the level of corruption in the GOP-controlled senate, the probity of DOJ’s lawyers will not be held in the same regard. What got broken Tuesday is difficult to glue back together again — and Bill Barr was the one who hurled it, the DOJ’s reputation, to the ground — in service of his master, Donald Trump.