By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) No doubt the Democrat Left will explode with fury over the Justice Department’s intervention in the government’s case regarding Roger Stone, a longtime GOP operative and friend of President Trump’s, but that happens no matter what this administration does.
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As we noted this morning, the federal prosecutor handling the case against Stone — brought by special counsel Robert Mueller after he was arrested during an early-morning SWAT-style raid on his Florida home — recommended sentencing this Medicare recipient to between seven and nine years in prison.
No matter what you think of Stone, the sentencing recommendation seems grossly excessive, given what others who were actually engaged in an attempt to depose a duly elected president have gotten away with (so far). If “lying to Congress” was such a grave offense, for example, then why hasn’t former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper been charged along with his pal, former CIA Director John Brennan?
As for witness tampering, federal charges can range from a year behind bars to 20 years to life, depending on the severity of the act. But we’re talking about Roger Stone here; how much ‘physical’ could he seriously bring to ‘physically tampering with a witness’?
The president himself even tweeted about this injustice.
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! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
By noon DC time, reports began streaming across the Internet that the Justice Department was intervening in the case and would recommend a far lighter sentence for Stone.
CNN noted this was a “stunning and politically charged” thing to do:
Top Justice Department officials are taking the extraordinary step of disavowing and undercutting their own federal prosecutors, announcing plans to reduce the government’s sentence recommended for longtime Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone, a senior department official said Tuesday.
The stunning and politically charged decision, which is expected to be filed in Washington, DC, federal court later Tuesday, comes hours after Trump publicly criticized the recommendation. It immediately raised questions about the Justice Department’s independence from political pressure, and soon after the announcement, a prosecutor who worked on the case against Stone resigned from the DC US attorney’s office and asked to withdraw from the case.
As usual, there is much more to this.
As NBC News noted further, the lead prosecutor in the case, Aaron Zelinsky, withdrew immediately:
The lead prosecutor in Roger Stone’s criminal case abruptly resigned from the case on Tuesday after the Justice Department said it planned to reduce the recommended sentence for the longtime Trump associate.
And who is Zelinsky?
Zelinsky, who was a part of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian election interference, is not resigning from the Justice Department but is leaving the Washington, D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office and returning to his old job with the U.S. Attorney in Maryland.
CNN noted further that it appears as though Zelinsky was trying to sneak an outsized prison sentence into the record before anyone noticed:
But on Tuesday, the senior official said that that sentencing recommendation, transmitted to a judge and signed off on by the office’s top prosecutor, had not been communicated to leadership at the Justice Department.
Now, why wouldn’t the top prosecutor communicate to Justice Department “leadership” — in this case, AG William Barr and his deputies — the recommended sentence for a known associate of President Trump?
The answer is, of course, self-explanatory, especially after we learn who was handling the prosecution — a Mueller guy.
So what the DoJ intervention really amounts to is President Trump coming to the assistance of a long-time friend who was about to be screwed over by the system, again. The “extraordinary step,” then, wasn’t the intervention as much as it was the outsized prison time recommendation from an vindictive former Mueller team member who has made it clear he doesn’t have the temperament to be a federal prosecutor in the first place.
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