House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., tears her copy of President Donald Trump’s s State of the Union address after he delivered it to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Vice President Mike Pence is at left. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
We are gonna do this again aren’t we?
In case you’ve been disconnected from the news the last two days, we are currently into the midst of an overwrought teeth gnashing session over AG Bill Barr stepping in to adjust Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation. This came on the heels of four Mueller prosecutors (all off the case now and some out of the DOJ) recommending up to 108 months for the former Trump associate.
As Caroline Court (also known as @beyondreasdoubt on Twitter) over at The Federalist explains, this was an insane recommendation.
One enhancement the government recommended jumped out. The government argued that an eight-point enhancement is warranted because Stone’s obstruction of justice “involved causing or threatening to cause physical injury to a person, or property damage.” The government pointed to two particular comments by Stone to a witness: “Prepare to die, c-cksucker” and him threatening to “take that dog away from you.”
Standing alone, it’s not clear these rise to the level of a “violent threat” as required by the enhancement. In fact, I would argue that this is not a case where “reasonable minds” can disagree. This enhancement is a stretch. Particularly significant is that the individual who was the recipient of these “threats” testified at trial that he did not seriously believe Stone would follow through on his so-called threats.
When I did a quick search of D.C. Circuit cases applying this enhancement, I couldn’t find anything. That’s not to say it would never apply, but the infrequency which with the enhancement seems to be used is somewhat telling.
You can read the rest of her thorough analysis at the above link.
But the fact that this is much more complicated (and likely mundane) than “omgz Trump tweeted and the DOJ intervened” is naturally being ignored but the usual suspects. One of those is CNN’s Jake Tapper, who decided to ask Rep. Eric Swalwell if they were going to push impeachment over this (based on what, no one knows).
Jake Tapper asks Rep. Swalwell if the House will push impeaching @realDonaldTrump over the Roger Stone situation: We're not going to take our options off the table. We don’t wake up in the morning wanting to impeach him…but we're not going to let him torch this democracy… pic.twitter.com/HqTANTdVLw
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) February 12, 2020
Swalwell firmly puts the option on the table and claims that not doing so would possibly let Trump “torch” our democracy. Well, ok then.
Look, I don’t buy this. Democrats have already had their hand bitten once. I just can’t see Pelosi signing off on another impeachment push over a completely legal action taken by the President. This would be like impeaching Trump over firing James Comey. It’s laughable on its face and it makes a mockery of the Constitutional process. The executive is denoted the power to control the DOJ. You know who’s not given delegated powers in the Constitution? Un-elected “career” prosecutors who want to make a political statement and resign with a bang for media plaudits.
Like it or not, this is our governmental system. If someone doesn’t like Trump’s handling of the DOJ, they can vote against him at the end of the year. Continually threatening impeachment over completely legal acts is asinine. Further, there’s ample evidence that Barr made the decision before Trump’s tweet anyway. The fact that Barr is jumping at the chance to go testify before Congress tells me he’s got the receipts.
If Democrats go down this road, they do so at their own peril. Trump is not nearly as easily outmaneuvered as they’ve convinced themselves. If they have to learn that lesson again, it’ll be taught to them again.