Another one of the side effects of the Republican-controlled Senate’s refusal to remove Donald Trump from the presidency — despite the more than ample evidence of his guilt on the two impeachment charges that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved — is a validation in the president’s own twisted mind of the deliberately misleading, paranoid theories that it was he and his campaign who were victims of a conspiracy by his opponents to prevent him from winning an election that he actually lost by nearly three million of the popular votes despite Russian interference and the dirty tricks used to assist his electoral college victory.
If Trump were a magician rather than a conman, such artful misdirection of attention from his own thieving hands towards what he wants his audience to perceive would be considered masterful.
Instead, his pitiful attempts to project his own criminal motivations upon the Democrats, the “Deep State,” and any other convenient scapegoat simply suggest further evidence of the weight of his guilt.
Now, faced with the concrete evidence of his campaign’s misdeeds in the form of the criminal conviction of Trump’s chief political advisor Roger Stone on seven federal counts of obstruction, making false statements, and witness tampering — a conviction obtained by the president’s own Justice Department in a case that began before Trump installed his latest personal fixer William Barr to head that agency — a president unleashed from the threat of any sort of rightful punishment for his actions is now trying to revise history to fit his own excuses.
After the obviously dedicated and dutiful federal prosecutors in Stone’s case announced yesterday that they would seek a sentence of seven to nine years in prison for his transgressions — because he “threatened the witness with bodily harm, interfered with a congressional investigation and then, after he was charged in a federal indictment, repeatedly flouted the orders of the judge overseeing his case,” as The New York Times described the prosecution’s reasoning — Trump had a late-night freakout, apparently from the cognitive dissonance of the DOJ’s sentencing request in relation to the implications on his own involvement in Stone’s activities.
After returning to the White House from his New Hampshire rally late last night, Trump quickly retweeted three posts in a row condemning the harshness of the sentencing recommendations for his 67-year-old political advisor — or as some would consider Stone, his co-conspirator.
A *9 year* prison recommendation for non-violent crimes committed by a 67-year-old man. https://t.co/9w7IUa2f09
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) February 10, 2020
Prosecutors disregard gov't witness Randy Credico's plea for no jail time for Stone on the grounds that he didn't take Stone's threats seriously.
"It is the threat itself, not the likelihood of carrying out the threat, that triggers the enhancement."https://t.co/F1VoGEYmfU
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) February 10, 2020
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
This morning, lo and behold, the Associated Press is reporting that Trump’s tweets have caused some unnamed “leaders” at the Department of Justice to reconsider the sentencing guidelines recommended by those prosecutors who were involved in the day to day pursuit of the case and who were intimately familiar with all of its details.
The DOJ is changing its sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, according to a Senior DOJ official.
“The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate," the source said, adding the DOJ will clarify its position on sentencing later today
— Jake Gibson (@JakeBGibson) February 11, 2020
According to a report in Politico, a “senior Justice Department official” requesting anonymity told them that the leadership of the department was blindsided by the prosecution team’s sentencing recommendation.
“The department was shocked to see the sentencing recommendation in the Stone case last night,” said the official. “That recommendation was not the recommendation that had been briefed to the department. The department found the recommendation to be extreme and excessive and grossly disproportionate to Stone’s offenses and the department will clarify its position in court later today.”
Hopefully, the judge in the case will see through the transparent political pressure that engendered this overnight metamorphosis and sentence the president’s sinister political trickster to the long and well-deserved prison term that he has earned with his proven violations of the law.
Even so, with rumors flying of the newly emboldened president considering granting pardons to all of his convicted campaign staff — including convicted felon Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, and his fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who is now attempting to change his guilty plea while claiming to be victim of the same bogus conspiracy that Trump is constantly touting in a blatantly clear pardon solicitation — it’s evident that Trump wants to share the lack of accountability granted him by a corrupt and complicit Senate with his cronies.
If Trump is allowed to invalidate the proper punishment these men’s crimes deserve, then the American public should start the funeral services for the rule of law immediately. We will all be too busy fearing for our future to want the rotting corpse of justice hanging around to remind us of what we have squandered by our failure to hold the man at the center of the nefarious scheme to control our nation’s destiny accountable for his crimes.
UPDATE: By late afternoon, all four of the federal prosecutors originally working on the Roger Stone case have resigned.
All four prosecutors of Trump friend/adviser Roger Stone — Jonathan Kravis, Michael Marando, Aaron Zelinsky and Adam C. Jed — have now resigned in the wake of President Trump criticizing their sentencing recommendation, and DOJ acquiescing.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 11, 2020
Please CALL your Senator TODAY @ 202-224-3121. tell them to support the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022.
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.