Former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, Roger Stone walks out of the federal courthouse following a hearing, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Stone was arrested Friday in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
As per our usual arrangement, we are in the midst of a yet another misleading and falsely reported freakout involving Donald Trump. This time it centers on Roger Stone’s sentencing, who was convicted of seven counts, the most serious being lying to a Congressional committee and witness tampering.
The problem? The sentence recommended by the four former Mueller investigation prosecutors was patently absurd. They asked for up to 108 months for a first time offender who’s 67 years old over process crimes. This was about three times as long as the sentencing guidelines recommended and it relied on an enhancement that is normally reserved for violent crimes. But these prosecutors wanted to relive the glory days and tried to paint Stone’s lies as especially deserving of a long sentence because they were “election interference” and struck at the core of our being or something.
Except Stone didn’t commit election interference, nor was he charged with any form of conspiracy. Why? Because there wasn’t one (see Prosecutors Recommend a Huge Sentence for Roger Stone and Their Reason Is Garbage for a more in depth breakdown). He lied about election related matters, but he did so by exaggerating contacts that didn’t actually exist. In other words, his conviction actually blows up the idea that he was colluding with a foreign entity. Yet, if you go ask your average liberal on Twitter what Stone did, they’ll insist he was convicted for betraying his country and colluding with the Russians. That kind of idiocy is what happens when the mainstream media refuse to do their jobs properly.
Naturally, given how ridiculous the entire ordeal was getting, AG Bill Barr stepped in and bring some order. The prosecutors had misled him on what they would recommend and overstepped their bounds in what was clearly a cynical political ploy. It’s exactly how our justice system should not be used, yet it’s now Barr being tarred as corrupt because nothing has to actually make sense.
Meanwhile, Trump is handling this to right way. He’s being accused of intervening politically over a tweet he sent after the decision was made, but instead of granting the premise that doing so would have been wrong, he’s just owning it and telling the Democrats and media to go pound sand.
Trump’s always animated, but at the core, he’s right. The original sentence recommendation was a disgrace, and it’s a total joke for the same Democrats and media members who constantly scream about criminal justice reform to now cheer-lead someone being put away for nearly a decade when that’s clearly not warranted. It’s a ridiculous use of federal resources at the very least.
I wrote a piece back before Trump was acquitted that received a mixed reaction from some commenters because they felt I was attacking Trump. The basic thought was that Trump should have just used Alan Dershowitz’s defense of “it’s not impeachable” from the beginning instead of granting the premise that a “quid pro quo” would be wrong. In the end, the President did embrace that argument the last week of the trial and it worked to his advantage (for more on that topic, Ted Cruz’s podcast on the aquittal vote contains a lot of good material).
The same tactic applies here. Trump looks to be done pretending that everything Democrats cry about is worth being taken seriously. He’s speaking frankly by pointing out that he’s the President and he has the power to make this call. Anyone that doesn’t like it can vote against him in November. For the DOJ’s part, Bill Barr isn’t hiding either. He’s already decided to go testify to the House Judiciary Committee at the end of March and he will no doubt rip them a new one when he appears.
This is how you fight these battles. By going right at them. They aren’t going to operate in good faith anyway, so don’t even grant them their premise. Let them gnash their teeth all the way to defeat in the next election.