Roger Stone Sentencing Gets Suddenly Interesting

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

Related Post Roulette

87 Responses

  1. Philip H says:

    Yeah, this Administration is doing nothing unethical or illegal. Nope. Not at all.
    Of course, with this DoJ, and this AG, it probably is the case that Barr told them to drop it after the President tweeted. And saw nothing wrong with doing it.Report

  2. greginak says:

    It’s up to two AUSA’s withdrawing. Huzzah. Barr all in for protecting friends of trump.

    I know the “suddenly interesting” is a thing about this. What is fucked, to the technical legal term, is that a long time R tool and associate of trump being convicted of interfering with a congressional investigation into trump and where there was testimony that the T campaign had foreknowledge of the release of stolen info during the election wasn’t all that interesting.

    I dont’ remember who said this but there were so many movies where the big ending is the hero gets out the critical hidden information about the bad guy and that is enough to bring the bad guy down. Just the release of info ends the evil plot, kiss the love interest, music swells, roll credits. The last couple years have been , the big info coming out and , well, it’s just another day. No amount of corruption, open brazen corruption, leads to much of anything.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

      Hmmm. Unless and until the prosecutors who resigned go on record with their grievances, and hence the timing of and potential ratfuckery in the DOJ sentencing recommendation change, this is a nothingburger. You know, unfortunately.Report

    • JS in reply to greginak says:

      Three now.Report

      • greginak in reply to JS says:

        Up to four now. Whooo Hooo.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

          The entire team.

          They appear to have resigned in sequence individually, not collectively. I’m curious as to why.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

            Pelosi should have taken my advice and *never* have turned over the articles to the Senate.

            Stillwater 1 Pelosi 0Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

              Handing over the articles was about tying up Warren and Sanders during the run up to the serious voting in the nomination process.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Ehh, if she didn’t hand em over those Senators wouldn’t have had any impeachment obligations.

                Are you saying she *wanted* to hamstring Warren, Bernie, Amy K, etc?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Are you saying she *wanted* to hamstring Warren, Bernie, Amy K, etc?


                Many months ago she thought the whole thing was a bad idea and would ultimately help Trump. Having breathlessly proclaimed that they needed to hurry and didn’t have time to do a good job and call all the witnesses, she now… showcases that those arguments are worthless? She’s experienced and smart. She knows she’s not going to get 20 GOP Senators to vote her way and also that the Senate isn’t going to change its rules.

                And having tied things up worthlessly for a month, why not wait another month, or even three? What is so special about right before the start of the nomination voting, other than it’s right before the start of the nomination voting?

                My expectation is the big problem is Bernie, with Amy K and Warren being somewhere between non-factors and collateral damage. Bernie may be so far to the left he’s not electable. From Nancy’s point of view, Biden and the other moderates (i.e. the people best suited to unseat Trump) are all not-Senators… and team-D Senators HAVE to vote against Trump.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                This makes no sense. McConnell had already said he’d work with WH counsel on how to structure the impeachment trial, and Trump was already on record as wanting a quick acquittal. She turned the articles over to what she knew, in advance, was going to be a sham, over in a couple of weeks. No damage to Bernie, no help to Biden.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                So no one had to fly back to Washington to vote? Bernie could just stay on the trail shaking hands while phoning it in?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Bernie won the popular vote in both Iowa and NH. ????Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                That’s not an answer, it’s the problem restated.

                Did Nancy’s carefully chosen timing remove Bernie from Iowa + NH at a critical time and leave the field open to Biden (+other moderates)?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark, the only *problem* is that Pelosi didn’t have the balls to hold onto the articles of impeachment for longer than she did.

                Adding: your “theory” (scarequotes) assumes that Pelosi gives a rats ass about who the eventual nominee is. She doesn’t. She wants to retail her role as speaker above all else.

                The same is true of McConnell, who would throw Trump under a double decker bus if he thought it would keep the Senate GOP.Report

          • They all withdrew from the case, but then went in different directions. At least one resigned from the DOJ entirely. Another resigned from his special assignment to this group but kept his position as a US Attorney elsewhere. I assume it had to be done individually since one or more of them will still have a relationship with their client, the US government.Report

  3. Chip Daniels says:

    I was going to comment on this on the other thread, but here is a much better place for it:

    That, I can see the norms and boundaries of how we conduct politics here in America degrading from a relatively high level of liberal democracy to something lesser, maybe like Mexico under the PRI or something.
    Not exactly a dictatorship, but not exactly a highest in the world level either.

    For example: 2020 will see the first crop of voters who were born after 9-11. Young people who have never known a world where it was unthinkable for the government to read your email, listen to your phone calls, snoop through your bank account or social media, all without a warrant.

    A world where, if the government found something it didn’t like, could snatch you off the street and hold you in prison indefinitely, for years without charges or a trial; Where if they felt like it, could torture you for as long as they wished, without consequences or recourse.It can even assassinate you summarily without any sort of due process.

    Does this sound, overly dramatic to you?
    Well it is, for the vast majority of American citizens. But it has all happened to a very small number of American citizens, starting after 9-11. It isn’t commonplace, no one here has experienced it. But this power lies there like a loaded gun waiting for someone to use it.

    And the thing is, the American public has largely accepted it, under several administrations now. Which is why, in my opinion, Trump’s use of authoritarian power has seemed so normal, if just more brazen and overt than we are used to.

    Which brings me to Bloomberg and the desperation I see on the part of the opposition. And how I mentioned that extremism breeds its mirror image.
    Because right now, it seems like playing by the rules and respecting the norms of behavior is for chumps. If McConnell can hold open a SCOTUS seat until he wants to fill it, why not expand the court with half a dozen new liberal Justices?
    Why not open investigations into whoever challenges President Bloomberg? Why not shut down half the polling places in Republican leaning precincts?

    I don’t think I am the only one feeling this way.Report

    • JS in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      “For example: 2020 will see the first crop of voters who were born after 9-11. Young people who have never known a world where it was unthinkable for the government to read your email, listen to your phone calls, snoop through your bank account or social media, all without a warrant.”

      Given their voting records, those voters are least likely to support the current government’s overreach. This isn’t purely partisan — they also tended to be really unhappy about Obama’s drone programs and other similar issues.

      I’m afraid the biggest support for things like this comes from the exact same people that were angrily defending Bush’s “enhanced interrogation” — 40+ white generally without a college degree, primarily male.

      9/11 didn’t break Gen Y or the Millennials. It broke the Boomers. Not sure of the breakdown on Gen X, but let’s be honest — Gen X has never actually counted.

      Seriously, I once saw a generational breakdown where Gen X was just omitted. I’m about 95% sure that as Boomers finally retire, Gen X will get passed over entirely — why promote a Gen X when you can get a younger Gen Y with roughly the same experience?Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      It can even assassinate you summarily without any sort of due process.

      If you’re on a foreign battlefield and have removed yourself from the reach of the law, then yes. The alternative is what exactly? Before we shoot an terrorist on the battlefield, we need to hold a trial?

      If McConnell can hold open a SCOTUS seat until he wants to fill it, why not expand the court with half a dozen new liberal Justices? Why not open investigations into whoever challenges President Bloomberg? Why not shut down half the polling places in Republican leaning precincts?

      This is the desperation of losing to a Disney villain. An effort to see the other as totally evil… when in reality the differences are very minor.

      That whole “blowing people up without trials” thing was started by your guy, whose big claim to fame is teaching law. You don’t have workable alternatives, you just have outrage.

      Threatening to shut things down because your side isn’t the one blowing people up without trial is the stuff of football riots.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

        This is my point, that extrajudicial assassinations, torture, indefinite imprisonment; These things are considered perfectly normal now by everyone, but were the sort of things that shocked the conscience of previous generations.

        If this President, or any future President, points to a person in the audience and orders the DOJ to investigate him, would any American think this is strange?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          May I use this comment as an example of the evolution of Progressive Thought the next time someone makes fun of Evangelicals for still supporting Trump despite (insert example here)?


        • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          This is my point, that extrajudicial assassinations, torture, indefinite imprisonment; These things are considered perfectly normal now by everyone, but were the sort of things that shocked the conscience of previous generations.

          We’re in this situation because because no one, including the progressives, has reasonable alternatives.

          If this President, or any future President, points to a person in the audience and orders the DOJ to investigate him, would any American think this is strange?

          If memory serves, this was one of the things that came out of Travelgate back in 1993. We also saw the same with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in 2012 (the creator of “Innocence of the Muslims”) where not only was the legal system brought to bear on him but he was blamed for attacks on US embassies when HRC was telling our allies the next day she knew darn well the attacks were long planned and had nothing to do with the film. (All from wiki).

          If none of this bothered you to the point where you thought HRC wouldn’t make a fine President, then you shouldn’t let it bother you now.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

            “B-but ObamaClinton!”Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Yes Chip, if your team has a history of the bad behavior you’re claiming the other side might start to do, then one has to question why you gave your side a pass.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                My point is that the American people themselves have given this behavior a pass.

                We could have reacted differently after 911 but we chose to, as Cheney said, “explore the Dark Side”.

                Some people resisted but most didn’t. To their credit I recall some righty blogs bitching about excessive TSA intrusiveness, but most have gone quiet now. Gitmo was a cause celebre on the left but is now largely ceded.

                Proposing to dial back the security state is electoral suicide, in either party.

                Which is why I brought up the younger generation, who are learning from their elders, from kindergarten onward that freedom must always be sacrificed to security .Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Unfortunately, much of the situation is technology driven.

                It’s possible and cheap to get on an airplane in Afghanistan and go to NY. Communications have increased to the point where everyone can talk to everyone. The end result is information-plagues.

                Two dozen people can get fired up on their culture being “attacked” and use airplanes to knock down buildings. School shootings fueled by a desire for fame. 99% of people aren’t willing to do these sorts of things, but 1% of a large enough number is enough to create a problem.

                Information-plagues isn’t a new thing, the Salem Witch Trials had everyone stepping forward to turn in witches because everyone else was stepping forward, but we’re still figuring out how to deal with this. In Salem the solution was to tighten up the rules of evidence. For us it’s unclear. The 1st AM is important enough that we probably don’t want to tear it up just to prevent future school shootings, but making those guys celebrities is a big part of the problem.

                The magic thinking being proposed to “deal” with these issues fails… If we word the gun control law correctly, suicidal mass murderers will obey the law. People who join terror armies deserve trials even if trials are impossible. Gitmo’s inmates are innocent victims of a misunderstanding. …but without magic thinking we don’t have solutions so they’re “sticky” for lack of a better word.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The Bill of Rights was drafted by men who were keenly aware of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament.

                More accurately, they were men themselves who plotted to overthrow the government and participated in terrorist campaigns against it.

                Nothing you have pointed out would be unfamiliar to them.
                And over the years, the subsequent generations who enlarged civil rights protections were also familiar with technology and chaos;

                The right to attorney, the Miranda rights, the prohibition on forced confessions; these were all done by people who were aware of the terrorist organizations like the Klan which could bring entire towns to their knees.

                And even within your own logic, has it occurred to you that if “Oooga Booga Terrorism” allows us to weaken the 4th, 5th, and 8th Amendments, shouldn’t it also allow us to weaken the 2nd?

                And how does this expansive view of government power not eventually get applied to everyone?

                Imagine for a moment that Roger Stone were treated to “enhanced interrogation”;

                Imagine if we subjected Wall Street bankers to random “stop and frisk” exercises where teams of lawyers and auditors just walked in without warrants and searched through all their files looking for evidence of a crime?

                Of course, you and I have to just “imagine” this because authoritarian uses of government only ever get applied to those who are on the outgroup to begin with.

                Which just goes to show how bullshit they are. We don’t need to use fascist tactics on Wall Street bankers or CEOs any more than we need to use them on street hustlers or would-be mass shooters.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                How many people did we waterboard? 3? What is that in terms of percentage of population?

                The concept that the rule of law would cover everything everywhere at all times is very much a modern creation. The founders and those who came after them didn’t have the resources to make anything like that happen. For them their “in group” was white land owning men, so maybe 10% of the population.

                The founders would never have tried to impose trials on every terrorist on a foreign battlefield we can’t control in the name of rule of law. We are deep into magic thinking trying to get the rule of law to apply to all of this, it’s never been done before and it probably can’t be.

                The concept that the founders would have been willing to tollerate mass murder in the name of applying the rule of law to everyone is nonsense. More than half of South Carolina (57% slaves) and Mississippi (62%) could be legally tortured, and often were.

                We’re now applying the protections of the law to everyone who wants it, and most everyone who doesn’t, so much more than 95% of the population. The tiny minority of terrorists who have figured out a way to make the law not apply can live with the law not applying.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                if your team has a history of the bad behavior you’re claiming the other side might start to do, then one has to question why you gave your side a pass.

                So the fact that {{deep inhale}} Democrats didn’t police their own over acts which they now concede were bad {{exhale}} gives free license to Republicans to violate any laws or constitutional norms they want whenever. Clinton’s blow job justifies Bush’s illegal war and Trump kidnapping children at the border.

                {{deep inhale}} OK.

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Democrats didn’t police their own over acts which they now concede were bad…

                Nonsense. Democrats don’t concede their actions were bad. That’s why you went with HRC as a candidate. That’s why Obama still gets a pass on boarder security and blowing people up overseas. What you have is magic thinking that your side isn’t corrupt (so we don’t need better laws to prevent corruption), and won’t need to deal with reality if put in office (so we also don’t need to outlaw anything else).

                Your argument is Trump’s behavior threatens-the-Republic! Trump is Hitler! Trump is stealing children! Trump is murdering people overseas without trials! Trump is corrupt!

                So no, we don’t need to outlaw politician’s-personal-“charities”, nor the children of politicians-being-given-special-jobs, nor even blowing-people-up.

                All we have to do is replace Trump with someone from Team Blue, HRC would do, and they’ll run the country on unicorn-farts and rainbows. The chaos at the Southern boarder will stop. The wars will stop. The press won’t be reporting the children of politicians getting special jobs.

                Although actually that last one is true I suppose.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Shorter Dark: Hillary! Hillary HILLARY !!!HILLARY!!!Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Which brings me to Bloomberg and the desperation I see on the part of the opposition. And how I mentioned that extremism breeds its mirror image.

      Bloomberg isn’t a Democratic mirror image of Republican extremism. Bloomberg is a Republican.

      If AOC or Sanders started running on repurposing the concentration ca migrant detention facilities as reeducation centres for Wall Street folks and Confederacy fanboys, that would be a mirror image of Republican extremism.

      Bloomberg isn’t mirrored at all relative to what the Republicans are up to. His candicacy is an attempt to drag the Democrats onto the same side of the mirror as the Republicans.Report

  4. George Turner says:

    I think Barr is the one who shook up the team, and he might have a bunch of memos about why they were focused on nail Stone, a minor figure who’s been a DC player in political stunts since the Nixon era. If he can be sent to jail for 10 years for talking smack in front of Congress, then half the Democrats in the House, along with most of Robert Mueller’s legal team, could face life-sentences.

    I suspect Barr has a bunch of memos where the DoJ prosecutors were discussing how important it was to make an example of Stone so other people in the Trump Administration would roll on him out of fear, so they could go ahead and impeach and remove him from office. If that’s the case, they were just part of the ongoing coup attempt against the government of the United States and Stone was just some collateral damage along the way. If that’s the case, the prosecutors are probably more worried about losing their jobs, avoiding being named in all the upcoming reports on DoJ misconduct, and avoiding indictment.

    In related news, the judge in the Michael Flynn case has suspended the sentencing hearing indefinitely. That case may get even uglier than the Stone case.Report

    • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

      Riding the “coup attempt” line hard. Indeed anything disliked by the king is a coup.

      How about some of that conservative love for the military with his trumpness saying Vindman should be punished for testifying. Boy that is some real rock hard love of the Glorious Veterans right there.Report

      • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

        Just about every military person who’s commented on him thinks Vindmann should, at best, be working on a base in the high-Arctic. He’s an arrogant, self-important, and incompetent disaster of an officer, the kind who they don’t let lead troops because the risk of a fratricide incident would be too high.

        It doesn’t matter if the CiC’s orders make a soldier “uncomfortable”. Don’t you think all the troops heading toward Normandy had a warm-fuzzy feeling about the peachy plan to invade Europe, or do you think some were a bit uneasy about the whole thing?

        A hypothetical Vindmann back then would be a French-American O-5 in DC who decided to get FDR impeached and removed because he overheard FDR telling Churchill that he was going to pressure De Gaulle into letting the US lead the Allied drive into Paris, claiming FDR was engaged in a criminal conspiracy to help his prospects the ’44 elections, and then working with a gaggle of anti-FDR German-American and Italian-American congressmen and staffers to do just that.

        Trump doesn’t have to put up with that, and along with Vindmann, he fired 70 other Obama holdovers who are likely doing everything they can to undermine and sabotage the US government.Report

        • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

          Bullshit. Absolute bullshit. But it does show how fast you will throw a vet, or anyone, under the tank the second they are disloyal to his trumpness.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to greginak says:

            Remember all the urban legends about hippies spitting on veterans?


          • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

            The soldiers who served under him, and many of the officers who commanded him, heavily implied that they’d throw him under the bus, too. I suppose you didn’t read what they’d been saying about him, based on their personal experiences with him.

            One group reported that he got along better with Russian troops than American ones, joking it up with the Russians and mocking American soldiers for being stupid ignorant rubes. His fellow servicemen weren’t happy about that, and they wrote it up in case anyone higher up cared to listen.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

              “One group reported that he got along better with Russian troops than American ones, joking it up with the Russians and mocking American soldiers for being stupid ignorant rubes. ”

              Wait, are you talking about Trump here?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Vindmann was born a Ukrainian citizen of the Soviet Union, in case you didn’t notice. His fluency in Russian is why he was in intelligence, a fluency honed because he spent his childhood summers over there.

                As part of his job, he met with top Ukrainian officials, including the President of Ukraine, and was deeply involved in the Obama NSC’s relations with those officials, including Biden’s. He told his superiors that he was offered the job of head of the Ukrainian military. Was he lying, or did the Ukrainians think they knew where his true loyalties were?

                The more you dig into his background, the stranger he gets, confirming the impression of his fellow Ranger school students who tried to get him kicked out of the program.Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                Classic trump tactics. Pump the shit cannon. Who cares if some is innuendo or nonsense. Just spray the feces which justifies everything. Even in this case apparently firing his brother.Report

              • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

                So you’re happy to ignore what Vindmann’s fellow Ranger students say about him, along with many soldiers who served with him.

                It’s been a long-standing maxim that to the left, soldiers are only useful if they’re denouncing the US and trying to undermine it. See John Kerry’s campaign staff for details.

                A normal soldier doesn’t try to sabotage a US president, undermine US policy, or work with a hostile foreign government to rig a US election. A normal soldier doesn’t angrily insist that civilians address him by his rank. That tantrum caused so much eye-rolling among military folks that the VA will probably be treating ocular damage for decades.

                Now, let’s assume that somehow one of the Democratic candidates wins the White House in 2016, but the Republicans take the House and hold the Senate. The NSC is of course gong to be full of Trump loyalists, so will you have any problem when all those Trump loyalists listen in on Bernie or Buttigieg’s phone calls, feeding incorrect information to Gaetz, Graham, and McConnell so they can begin impeachment proceedings?

                Long after it’s obvious that all the Trump loyalists are just there to sabotage the new President, and after they’ve testified against him to try and get him thrown out of office, will you get upset if the new President gets rid of the whole lot of them, or will you insist that it’s critical that Trump loyalists continue to monitor all of Bernie’s phone calls?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Until you can show how any of this is relevant, much less true, its safe to assume this is all just smokescreen agit-prop to cover for the Dear Leader.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Yeah, that’s it. All those soldiers slamming Vindmann, including Medal of Honor recipient Master Sergeant Leroy Petry (for actions in Afghanistan in 2008) are just following Dear Leader’s orders.

                No way would they think that spilling classified information and going around the chain of command to destroy the Commander in Chief of the US military was in any way wrong, especially if it was done by a foreign-born officer of questioned loyalties to boost himself and quite possibly a foreign adversary named Vladimir Putin.

                So gee, why wouldn’t pro-military patriots, and officers who actually commanded troops in combat, be all upset over the sacking of a pain-in-the-a** self-serving, self-promoting, sanctimonious REMF who thinks the opinion of an O-5 should have any weight at all?

                And that’s why nobody on the right is upset that he’s gone, along with his brother who had probably leaked Bolton’s book to the New York Times in an effort to try and topple the President and sow as much chaos as possible, probably to help Putin and Russia.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                This is like we were talking about elsewhere, how people who not too long ago had a credible claim to things like patriotism and piety, now have turned into these cultish followers who turn on a dime to attack anyone who deviates from the party line.

                Really, that’s what this is now. There isn’t even the pretense of making a coherent appeal to a sincerely held belief. We have millions of Trumpists all over social media now, slandering an American soldier without a trace of shame.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So if a Trump-selected foreign-born military officer, who maintained close ties to his home country, leaked classified information to get Bernie impeached and removed for encouraging the President of Kazakhstan to investigate a rancid looking Trump hotel deal there, a deal the officer was involved in setting up, you’d be all on board with how the officer was acting to protect America?

                Surely you wouldn’t suggest he was acting with less than complete patriotism in overturning the results of the 2020 election.Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                Let me get my abacus and count all the hypothetical lies in this hypothetical of yours. So far the periods, the question mark and the conjunctions are all true. Strong work.Report

              • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

                If you pay attention, you’ll notice lots of stories like this one: Washington Examiner article

                Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman admitted that he had been offered to serve as minister of defense for Ukraine.

                Vindman, 44, explained during his impeachment testimony that he had been offered the position three times but declined the position because of his loyalty to the United States. The lieutenant colonel was born in Ukraine, but his family immigrated to the U.S. when he was a toddler.

                Vindman claimed he did not know why he was offered the high ranking position of defense minister.

                Now why was an O-6 with no combat experience offered a job as former Soviet republic’s defense minister, and offered it three times? What made them think he was completely loyal to Ukraine? We know he met with their President (we have lots of pics), but do we know what else he was doing?

                Or is this a fantabulous lie he told his superiors so they’d be more likely to give him a promotion, kind of like telling your boss that you’re getting much better offers from other companies?Report

              • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                Well he’s an O-5 as an LTC, and he got a purple heart for being wounded by an IED in Afghanistan. He also testified to this under oath – and presumably reported it to his superiors at the time. SO yeah, you hit the nail on the head again George.


            • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

              Which A) isn’t what you claimed since plenty of military folks are appalled by this retaliation. B) this is standard poo flinging since you dont’ punish a guy for testifying based on whether some of co workers didn’t like him. Co-workers reporting malfeasance certainly didn’t matter when it was about a SEAL accused of crimes.

              “heavily implied” they would throw him under the bus???? I also read people saying great things about him.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    The four listed prosecutors listed on the case have resigned in protestReport

  6. Aaron David says:

    The revised recommendation doesn’t ask for a particular sentence but says the one that was recommended earlier “does not accurately reflect the Department of Justice’s position on what would be a reasonable sentence in this matter” and that the actual sentence should be “far less.”

    It urges the judge in the case, Amy Berman Jackson, to consider Stone’s “advanced age, health, personal circumstances, and lack of criminal history in fashioning an appropriate sentence.”

    “The defendant committed serious offenses and deserves a sentence of incarceration,” but based “on the facts known to the government, a sentence of between 87 to 108 months’ imprisonment, however, could be considered excessive and unwarranted under the circumstances. Ultimately, the government defers to the Court as to what specific sentence is appropriate under the facts and circumstances of this case,” the filing said.

    After reports that a softer sentencing recommendation was imminent, lead prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky withdrew as a prosecutor in the case. A footnote in his court filing noted that “the undersigned attorney has resigned effective immediately.”

    Sounds more like one of Mueller’s boys got too big for his britches in trying to send a message, and the people he works for pushed back. He resigned. That’s all on him and same with the others. I’m guessingZelinski thought the impeachment would play out is his favor. Sucks to be wrong.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Aaron David says:

      he would have had to clear the initial recommendation through the AG first. That initial memo wouldn’t have made it to the trial court absent that clearance on something like this. SO yeah, nice theory.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

        What I read from people in the know: The then-current prosecutors recommended the standard sentence for the crimes Stone was convicted of, which DOJ higher-ups objected to *after* the recommendation was submitted. Shenaninigans are afoot, but not from the then-current prosecutors.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Stillwater says:

          I agree on the source of the shenanigans. It will be interesting to see how this and Gen. Flynn’s sentencing plays out – reporting I’ve seen says the judge in that case has suspended the sentencing phase at the moment.Report

    • InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

      Eh Stillwater is closer. The original recommendation was based on federal sentencing guidelines. While the guidelines themselves are arbitrary and quite harsh the number of months was totally normal and consistent with what happens in federal courtrooms every day with defendants no one has heard of. US attorneys offices aren’t totally above politics but what happened here is really unusual. Knowing nothing else about the attorneys involved I can say what they did here is a credit to their integrity, particularly the one who resigned from Justice altogether.Report

      • Philip H in reply to InMD says:

        Its a pattern. Just look at the DoJ reversal in the Flynn case. There’s also a case out of the 7th Circuit on immigration where DoJ tols the Appellate Panel to essentially go pound sand when the panel issued a remand order in a deportation matter.Report

  7. This is the sort of corruption we were told would lead immediately to impeachment.Report

  8. PD Shaw says:

    Seven to nine years is far too harsh of a sentence for a first-time non-violent felon. It would be just as true if Trump didn’t exist and Roger Stone wasn’t an ass.Report

    • JS in reply to PD Shaw says:

      “Seven to nine years is far too harsh of a sentence for a first-time non-violent felon.”

      Based on what, exactly? The general sentencing guidelines? Have they been misapplied? Or are you speaking more generally, as a disagreement with the very guidelines themselves as applied in general? Or even more generally, with the sentence ranges laid out in federal law?

      You can see the original memorandum here ( The logic behind the recommendation is laid out, complete with references to both Stone’s actions and the law.

      The bulk of his sentence came from threatening both witnesses and the judge. He didn’t actually kill anyone, so I guess he’s technically “non-violent” but he did explicitly threaten to kill a witness if he testified, and implicitly threatened to kill the judge. That seems the sort of behavior, technically non-violent or not, that should be rewarded with lengthier sentences.Report

    • Non-violent for someone who threatened a bunch of people for decades, including the presiding judge in this case, is not a compelling argument here.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        Yes, but lying to Congress normally just goes with a two year sentence in the House, six in the Senate.


        The sentence they went for, based on the act, edges far enough into “political prisoner” territory to make Putin blush. The 14 convicted Watergate conspirators only served an average of 16 months, and i don’t think talking smack about Wikileaks quite compares to Watergate.Report

        • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

          Mr. Stone threatened the presiding judge at his trail and was caught red handed trying to intimidate witnesses. To my knowledge none of the Watergate folks did anything similar. He also violated not one but two gag orders during the trial, and the original recommendation was in the MIDDLE of what the guidelines are for the things he was convicted of.

          But you really don’t care do you?Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I love the whiplash of hearing Trump talk like the big tough Dirty Harry then switch to sniveling and whining about how cruel it is to lock people up for breaking the law.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          But was Stone locked up for breaking the law, or because the same people obsessed with overturning the 2016 election were determined to break Stone, hoping he or would give them something impeachable that Nancy could use? Well, Stone proved useless and all Nancy accomplished was torpedoing Biden and guaranteeing Trump’s re-election, so what further purpose was served by locking Stone up, other than to give Trump yet another great attack line for his stump speeches?

          That’s where it gets into “political prisoner” territory, with out-of-control zealotry and a disregard for collateral damage, and it wasn’t Trump that was doing it, it was the anti-Trump swamp dwellers. The whole affair feeds right in to his narrative, and makes him stronger.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        A threat is to violence as a valentine’s day card is to a kiss.

        For some context, the day after the Oklahoma City bombing, Mr. Horton called security at a federal courthouse to say that a bomb was going to go off in the building in 15 minutes. Over a hundred federal employees were quickly evacuated. Horton was quickly identified and sentenced to 40 months in prison for a bomb threat, and on appeal the sentence was reversed because the judge failed to articulate his reasons for an upward departure for unique circumstances and failing to consider whether his conduct demonstrated little or no deliberation. His sentence was reduced to 21 1/2 months, of which he served 15 months.

        I set out the background to U.S. v. Horton, not because its identical. For one thing Horton had a prior assault conviction and his criminal conviction “score” meant slight changes in calculating his sentence level moved his threat from between 0 and 4 years. Zero was highly unlikely 40 months was excessive. No legitimate purpose was served by sentencing him longer than a couple of years aside from outrage.

        Likewise, seven to nine years is too harsh.Report

        • Philip H in reply to PD Shaw says:

          and yet its in the MIDDLE of the range that DoJ guidelines give for all the things Mr. Stone is convicted of. MIDDLE. Harsh would be top end. Which DoJ has not recommended.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

            PD’s point is +/- that all guidelines impose sentences that are too harsh, but even if that’s true (and I agree with him that it is true) Trump and Barr taking action to reduce the sentence of a Trump crony rather than establishing a fully general policy to reduce them across the board is evidence of corruption, not beneficence.Report

  9. CJColucci says:

    Whether current criminal sentences are too high in general is a separate issue from the right sentence for Stone. When Paul Manafort was given a four-year sentence, I told people I’d be happy to live in a world where that was the normal sentence for what he did. But we don’t live in that world, and I don’t see why Manafort — or Stone — should get there ahead of the rest of us.Report

  10. Jaybird says:

    The current talking points floating around point to the foreperson on the jury being a vocal anti-Trump person and this would have been found out during voir dire but these trial work differently and so the prosecutors resigned because they didn’t want their names attached to a bungled mistrial (which strikes me as a stretch) to “if this is injustice, we should fight against it, because it’s unjust”.

    This latter one is actually interesting.

    The question of whether the law ought to be enforced at written until it is changed versus whether the law is obviously absurd and we need to make exceptions (except where we don’t) is one that has gone on forever.

    I’m kind of a fan of making the powerful live according to the laws they impose on the little folks, of course. And if they don’t want to live under those laws, they should change them.

    But opinions differ on that when different oxen are being gored, for some reason.Report

  11. Philip H says:

    Interesting side note – the DoJ has closed its investigation in to Andrew McCabe without bringing charges. one has to wonder if yesterday’s interview and this announcement are related, since the President can’t be happy about that.Report

  12. CJColucci says:

    The judge sentenced Stone to 40 months. She said she wasn’t going to sentence him to 7-9 even before Trump shot off his mouth and DOJ shot itself in the foot. She recited some technical reasons that she thought the original recommendation was improperly calculated under the guidelines. I look forward to a written decision explaining things more thoroughly.Report