Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that U.S. Attorneys throughout the country’s 94 DOJ field offices have felt the need to offer encouragement to their 10,000 lawyers after what they portray as “Trump’s efforts to influence a politically fraught case.” The article says, “After a week of tumult, some career prosecutors expressed concerns about political interference and the Attorney General’s response to the President weighing in on the prosecution of an associate.” The piece is entitled, “Fearful of Trump’s Attacks, Justice Dept. Lawyers Worry Barr Will Leave Them Exposed.”
The Times writes that Trump’s comments on the Roger Stone sentencing recommendation “provoked the kind of consternation the department has rarely seen since the Watergate era.” It continues (emphasis mine):
In more than three dozen interviews in recent days, lawyers across the federal government’s legal establishment wondered aloud whether Mr. Trump was undermining the Justice Department’s treasured reputation for upholding the law without favor or political bias — and whether Attorney General William P. Barr was able or willing to protect it.
Although this sounds like something out of The Babylon Bee, I can assure you it’s real.
Here is The Times version of what happened last week.
Mr. Trump elicited those fears by denouncing federal prosecutors who had recommended a prison sentence of up to nine years for his longtime friend and political adviser Roger J. Stone Jr. Mr. Barr fanned them by scrapping the recommendation in favor of a far more lenient one, leading the prosecutors to quit the case in protest.
Here is my version:
President Trump, stunned after hearing that the four federal prosecutors handling Roger Stone’s case, three of whom had been investigators on
pit bull Andrew Weissmann’s Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel team, recommended the maximum sentence. Mr. Stone, a 69-year-old man, was charged with making false statements much like former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had. Additionally, he was charged with threatening a witness, even though the witness testified that he hadn’t felt at all threatened. Given that this was Mr. Stone’s first offense, and did not involve violence or drugs, he hardly presents a threat to society. In the end, he was charged with process crimes because of the Special Counsel’s desire to charge someone associated with Trump for something after coming up empty handed in their search for a crime committed by the President.
Additionally, after Mr. Barr’s initial objection to the maximum sentence, it was Mr. Barr’s understanding that the four prosecutors had agreed to downgrade their recommendation. He was blind-sided when he heard that they had gone into court and recommended the very sentence he had opposed.
After Mr. Barr intervened to right that wrong, the four prosecutors, one by one, withdrew from the case in protest.
Furthermore, many conservatives, myself included, believe this incident was a set-up from the get-go, coordinated to produce precisely the media frenzy which has ensued. It sure looks as if the four prosecutors intentionally sought to create the appearance that Attorney General William Barr had intervened on President Trump’s request and that they did so to damage Mr. Barr’s credibility.
Fox News contributor Dan Bongino covered this on one of his podcasts last week (included below):
The sentencing recommendation made to Bill Barr and the Justice Department was not the sentencing recommendation that they showed up in court with. So they go to court and they recommend nine years in jail.
These prosecutors may have made done this knowing that Barr would react and say, ‘That’s ridiculous, you didn’t tell us you were going to push for nine years.’ So then they could resign from the case in protest to make Barr look like he’s intervening in a case to help Trump.
And then, knowing Barr would object, they can [say] ‘We’re protesting. We’re protesting. We’re resigning from the case. Knowing what? That the media sycophant, boot-licking butt-kissers would pick up the story and say “Look at this. These moral prosecutors are resigning because they have spines of titanium to stand up against Bill Barr and Donald Trump’s interference in the justice system again. Obstruction!”
And, of course, on cue we have lunatics like that nut bag from California, Eric Swalwell, saying, ‘Hey, hey, we could impeach over this, you know.’
We’ve been down this road before and we’re starting to recognize a familiar pattern.
Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker joined Fox New’s Laura Ingraham on Thursday night. (Whitaker’s remarks can be viewed on the second video below) He said:
It is very clear from his interview that they had told him that they were going to do quite the opposite and then did exactly what he had said, no let’s go in another direction. The decision had been made and then they went in the opposite direction anyway. This seems to be a little bit of a set-up to cause this exact kerfuffle. Very much choreographed. Fundamentally all of their power is driven from the President and the Attorney General. And if the Attorney General is led to believe that we should make this recommendation and they don’t! They shouldn’t be concerned about resigning, they should be removed.
Why would they do that? It appears to me that they’re trying to get ahead of what will be revealed when U.S. Attorney John Durham completes his investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia collusion case. And, as always, The New York Times is only too willing to carry water for them. The Democrats know they can count on their mainstream media adjunct.
Read the entire New York Times article here.
Scroll down for a brief timeline of events on Monday and Tuesday.
(Relevant segment starts at 14:50)
Timeline of Events on Monday and Tuesday from my previous post:
On Monday, it was reported that federal prosecutors had recommended a sentence of seven to nine years behind bars for Trump associate Roger Stone following his conviction on making false statements and witness tampering charges. Many of us were shocked and saw this as unreasonable, abusive and a continuation of the injustice we’d grown used to during the Mueller investigation.
President Trump strongly condemned this excessive sentence. He tweeted, “This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”
A Justice Department official issued a statement in which he characterized the sentence recommended by the prosecutors on the case as “extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate.” Additionally, he said the proposed sentence was “not what had been briefed to the Department.”
On Tuesday morning, the Associated Press reported that the DOJ had taken the “extraordinary step” of reducing Stone’s sentence.
By early Tuesday evening, each of the four prosecutors handling the case had (separately) announced their resignations. It won’t surprise you to hear that three of them, Jonathan Kravis, Aaron Zelinsky, and Adam Jed, had been members of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel team. Nor that, according to the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, “witnesses and attorneys who have dealt with Zelinsky described him as among the most aggressive prosecutors they’d dealt with on the special counsel’s team.”
The fourth prosecutor to withdraw from the case was Michael Marando.