The nation gasped in horror today as we collectively watched yet another erosion of the rule of law, ethical behavior, and judicial and legal propriety: Department of Justice prosecutors amended a statement to the judge in the Roger Stone sentencing they made just yesterday, somehow now arguing that the 7-to-9 years they had initially requested was overkill in relation to the crimes he committed.
That announcement came, most believe not coincidentally, after a tweet from President Trump calling the recommended sentence for his long-suffering (and innocence-proclaiming to this day) pal Stone “horrible and very unfair”:
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! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
In fact, many believed at the time of the tweet that Trump was secretly indicating he would pardon Stone at some time most convenient to himself. But that chatter quickly turned after the DOJ’s announcement about the sentencing recommendation adjustment, with most assuming that following Trump’s tweet, he made overtures to the DOJ in order to influence the decision.
Inside the White House today, Reuters reporter Jeff Mason heard a familiar tune that Americans have come to know and dread every time there’s something overtly unethical that appears to be a direct order from the President: I didn’t, but I could have if I’d wanted to.
That was the basis of his entire defense during the impeachment America just watched — that he’d done nothing wrong, but that even if he’d done everything he was accused of, it still wouldn’t have been wrong because he’s the President.
Donald Trump, unfortunately, believes that he has unlimited power due to Article II of the US Constitution.
He doesn’t, of course, but that doesn’t stop him from both believing that he does and acting as though he does, and really the only people who could stop him are Republicans in the Senate — who just proved they’ll never do any such thing.
Trump says he did not ask the Justice Dept to change the Roger Stone sentence recommendation but says he would be allowed to do so pic.twitter.com/5AI2cCjFvy
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) February 11, 2020
Then, to REALLY sell the story, Trump buttered it up a tiny bit:
Trump says he stayed out of the Roger Stone sentencing debate internally, though he strongly disagreed with the initial recommendation. He tells reporters: “I stay out of things to a degree that people wouldn’t believe.”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 11, 2020
He’s right about one thing: We wouldn’t believe it. We wouldn’t even believe he’d say such a stupid thing if we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes:
Asked about Roger Stone, Trump says he has an “absolute right” to tell the Justice Department what to do pic.twitter.com/AZRv9Aff7P
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 11, 2020
Featured image via screen capture
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