The president of the United States is now claiming that he had nothing to do with the Justice Department’s decision to send a memo to the judge in Roger Stone’s criminal case. This after Trump’s very public complaint Tuesday morning after hearing that prosecutors in the case were suggesting a 7-9 year sentence for Stone.
In Trump’s tweet, he said that he would not stand for something like that. These are his exact words:
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!
The Justice Department immediately requested that the recommendation be dropped substantially, prompting a nationwide backlash against Trump.
Now, Trump is saying he had nothing to do with it. Trump gave the following statement Tuesday evening when asked about what he said to the DOJ, more specifically AG Barr:
“I’d be able to do it if I wanted. I have the absolute right to do it. I stay out of things.”
“I didn’t speak to them. I thought the recommendation was ridiculous. I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous. I thought it was an insult to our country and it shouldn’t happen.”
Three prosecutors resigned upon hearing of the DOJ’s intervention, essentially attempting to override their professional opinions. Trump smeared the prosecutors to the press, saying:
“These are, I guess, the same Mueller people that put everybody through hell and I think it’s a disgrace. No, I have not been involved with it right now.”
When asked whether or not he would commute Stone’s sentence, Trump responded:
“I don’t want to talk about that now. I think it was a disgraceful recommendation. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. … I think it’s a disgrace. We’ll see what happens.”
The DOJ sent this message to the judge in the case Tuesday afternoon:
“The government respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration far less than 87 to 108 months’ imprisonment would be reasonable under the circumstances.”
“While it remains the position of the United States that a sentence of incarceration is warranted here, the government respectfully submits that the range of 87 to 108 months presented as the applicable advisory Guidelines range would not be appropriate or serve the interests of justice in this case.”
Bill Barr’s DOJ is plainly nothing more than a satellite office of the White House. Career prosecutors made a considered, fully vetted AND APPROPRIATE sentencing recommendation for Stone, Trump tweets his outrage and Barr reacts like a lapdog. @ABC https://t.co/QWzrnIWFrO
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) February 11, 2020
Prosecutor Timothy J. Shea left the case with two other lawyers, Jonathan Kravis and Aaron Zelinsky. Kravis not only left the case, but resigned from the DOJ all together.
Stone’s lawyers are asking for probation.
Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted this out just an hour ago:
There’s also a word for that. It’s called CORRUPTION.
DOJ has now stained its reputation. If you are at DOJ & have the resources to resign, I hope you do so. https://t.co/jiugsZcBjV
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 11, 2020
Does @realDonaldTrump have the power to make the @TheJusticeDept go light on his friends, like felon Roger Stone? Yes. There’s also a word for that. It’s called CORRUPTION. DOJ has now stained its reputation. If you are at DOJ & have the resources to resign, I hope you do so.
This is shocking. It's an earthquake. The corruption of DOJ under Barr is now complete. Absolutely every decision the agency makes from now on will be suspect. DOJ accepts dirt on political rivals from Trump's attorney and goes easy on his friends.https://t.co/7HYTDWO2MC
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) February 11, 2020
Twitter is going crazy over this with politicians and citizens alike taking to the outlet to express their disgust with the president’s continual abuse of his powers as president. Below are some of the best tweets we’ve found:
It appears that the President and the Attorney General have overruled career prosecutors in order to help Roger Stone, who lied under oath on the President’s behalf. 1/2 https://t.co/ryQmhbNB1i
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) February 11, 2020
If DOJ reduces its sentencing recommendation below the sentencing guidelines for Stone after Trump’s public criticism, U.S. Attorney must resign. Otherwise, he is either not in charge of his own office or is a pawn of the president. Both are intolerable. https://t.co/DBWic5VCNF
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) February 11, 2020
Breaking via Axios: Top Mueller prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky filed a notice withdrawing from the Roger Stone case on Tuesday afternoon. The filing notes that Zelinsky has resigned from the Justice Department "effective immediately."https://t.co/TfCfizY8EC
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 11, 2020
So for those of you who with a day job, here’s what happened: Roger Stone gets recommended for 7-9 years for his crimes. Trump tweets that it’s unfair. DOJ then intervenes to reduce the prison term, something that is literally never done. 3 prosecutors just resigned in protest.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) February 11, 2020
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
Part of the problem might be that we’re still calling this the Justice Department. https://t.co/r8kdLlaDId
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) February 11, 2020
The Constitution lay in tatters. Checks and Balances are gone. Now the Department of Justice is a four-alarm fire.
It's time for more patriots to rise and speak truth to power!https://t.co/zvDacy478E
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) February 11, 2020
Why bother trying to lower Roger Stone’s sentence when you’re just gonna pardon him anyway. Like an infected cyst, corruption just oozes out of this administration. A hot Democratic compress & scalpel in 2020 should take care of this infection.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) February 11, 2020
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
Trump's pet AG, William Barr, is giving Roger Stone a pass. Want to drain the swamp? Get rid of this crooked crew of rightwingers.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 11, 2020
Roger Stone faces 7 felony convictions for interfering in a congressional investigation, violating a judge's gag order, lying under oath, forging documents, & more. Are we back to abusing the office of the president so soon, @realdonaldtrump? You really have learned nothing. https://t.co/dNQo9OWrCP
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) February 11, 2020