Some new and surprising details have come to light about the upcoming sentencing of Trump friend and former associate Roger Stone.
According to Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal, the prosecutor Attorney General William Barr assigned to oversee the Stone case believed the initial seven-to-nine-year prison sentence recommendation was excessive, but he was pressured to accept it by prosecutors from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
According to the Washington Examiner, Strassel cited a Department of Justice (DOJ) insider who claimed that the prosecutor who caved to the lengthy sentence recommendation was Timothy Shea, an individual Barr recently selected to serve on an interim as U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C.
Apparently, when Shea learned about the initial recommendation, he deemed it to be disproportionate to the offenses for which Stone was convicted — namely, lying to Congress and witness tampering.
But when Shea tried to remedy the situation, the four prosecutors working the case — three of whom happened to be holdovers from Mueller’s stint as special counsel — threatened to withdraw from the matter entirely. So, with court deadlines approaching, Shea capitulated.
Strassel’s inside source opined that Shea simply “suffered a moment of cowardice and submitted to this ultimatum.”
The rest of the story
Subsequently, the four prosecutors in the Stone case submitted to the court a recommendation that a sentence of up to nine years be imposed. That is when President Donald Trump took to social media to describe the proposed term of incarceration as a “miscarriage of justice.”
Not long thereafter, it was reported that DOJ officials had withdrawn and revised the recommendation, arguing that Stone’s sentence should be “far less,” according to NBC News. Trump, in turn, praised the move, while the four prosecutors behind the initial recommendation either withdrew from the case or resigned from their positions.
Although the DOJ ultimately got to the right result in the Stone case, its leadership was then subjected to harsh criticism from Democrats and others who cried foul and claimed that Barr is now taking orders from the president and has abandoned any pretense of political independence.
Those allegations prompted Barr to give an interview to ABC News in which he clarified that the president’s tweet had nothing to do with the DOJ’s action in the Stone case, but also indicated that such tweets make “it impossible” for him to do his job. Trump, however, wasn’t bothered by the criticism, again taking to Twitter to emphasize that he has “the legal right” as president to ask the attorney general to take action in a criminal case, but that he has thus far opted not to.
Where the corruption truly lies
Of course, what gets lost in all of this is what started it, namely, the Mueller holdovers — who are apparently still on a mission to seek and destroy Trump and his allies — and their suggestion of a grossly disproportionate prison sentence for Roger Stone.
That’s the real corruption here, not the interactions between Trump and Barr.