The recommended seven-to-nine-year sentence for Donald Trump ally Roger Stone is proof positive that Robert Mueller’s team was crooked, according to a conservative columnist.
In a blistering piece, John Nolte at Breitbart hailed the resignation of the four “Stalinist” prosecutors who quit the case after Bill Barr intervened. The Stone case has incensed many Trump supporters, who say his punishment is evidence of a double standard in the criminal justice system that unfairly targets the president and his supporters, but Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his power to tip the scales of justice.
“This sentencing recommendation is not only outrageous, it’s a retaliatory and partisan abuse of power on behalf of four utterly corrupt and inhumane prosecutors,” Nolte wrote.
Nolte: “Stalinist” prosecutors proof of corruption
Stone has long been a sympathetic figure to Trump’s base, who view him as the victim of a politically motivated hoax. The Trump confidante was convicted in November for witness tampering and obstructing Congress during Robert Mueller’s investigation, which Trump and his allies largely see as a bogus “witch hunt.”
Prosecutors allege that Stone lied about his conversations with Randy Credico, a radio host, about anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks and then pressured Credico not to cooperate with a congressional investigation, Fox News reported. Trump and many of his supporters have said that the recommended punishment, seven to nine years, is cruel and disproportionate to the offense.
The witness tampering charge, Nolte argued, is frivolous because Credico, whose dog Stone allegedly threatened, has said that he “never in any way felt that Stone himself posed a direct physical threat to me or my dog.” As for the charge of lying to Congress, Nolte said that such crimes are seldom prosecuted and that Stone’s punishment is clearly far too harsh.
Nolte pointed to James Wolfe, a former Senate staffer who served two months in prison for lying to the FBI, as an example of the hypocrisy. Trump alluded to the “swamp creature” in a tweet slamming the four “rogue prosecutors” who quit the Stone case in protest after the Department of Justice recommended a more lenient sentence, arguing that Stone’s obstruction offenses did not match the sentence requested. Nolte argued that the prosecutors only left their positions because they were caught trying to “persecute” Stone.
Rare rebuke from Barr
The president thanked Barr Wednesday for “taking charge” of the case, but the DOJ has said that the decision to try to curtail Stone’s punishment was made before Trump’s tweet storm about the case began Tuesday. In an unusual rebuke, Attorney General Barr complained that Trump’s constant tweets were making it hard for him to do his job, Fox News reported.
“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr said Thursday. “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president.”
The comments seem to undermine renewed accusations from Democrats that Barr was helping Trump abuse his office for the president’s personal gain. Democrats have claimed that Trump, emboldened by his acquittal of impeachment charges last week, is improperly trying to cut a deal for a friend and may even need to be impeached a second time as a result.
But Trump supporters and Fox News host Tucker Carlson have advocated for leniency for Stone, who they insist is the target of a politicized justice system. Before the recent sentencing drama, many had pointed to the military-style pre-dawn raid on Stone’s home last year as a sign of grossly excessive force.
The Stone sentencing is more of the same. Donald Trump really has has exposed the ugliness and corruption of the “swamp” like no president ever before.