This week, political independence at the Justice Department fell apart even further when higher-ups intervened to shorten a sentencing recommendation that the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office had delivered to federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson for longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, who a jury found guilty of an array of obstruction of justice charges. Asked about the case’s latest developments during a sit-down with the Ecadourian president this Wednesday, Trump delivered an angry, unhinged tirade, railing against “Mueller people,” the prosecutors behind Stone’s original sentencing recommendation, former FBI Director James Comey, and a whole host of other people.
Throughout the whole exchange, Trump displayed a stunning willful ignorance of the basic facts of Stone’s case. For example, Stone was convicted not by some deep state conspirator; he was convicted by a jury, who responded to a lengthy presentation of detailed evidence of Stone’s dedicated scheme to obstruct justice. Trump ignored all of this.
He railed to a reporter:
‘Nine years recommended by four people that, perhaps they were Mueller people, I don’t know who they were — I don’t know what happened, but they all hit the road pretty quickly. Look, you had somebody recently that got two months; he got sentenced to two months for leaking classified information at the highest level. They treated Roger Stone very badly. They treated everybody very badly, and if you look at the Mueller investigation, it was a scam, because it was illegally set up. It was set up based on false documentation and false documents; you look at what happened, how many people were hurt — their lives were destroyed, and nothing happened to all the people did it and launched this scam.’
He’s just spouting off whatever comes to mind without any regard for the actual facts of the situation. There is no evidence of any illegality surrounding the actual start of the Russia investigation that eventually ended up led by Robert Mueller. Also — whose life was ruined by the investigation, exactly? Is that his take on the prison sentence that his former campaign manager Paul Manafort is currently serving? One doesn’t simply let crimes like money laundering go undealt with because the consequences aren’t convenient for the wannabe despot in charge.
Undeterred, Trump continued:
‘Where’s Comey? What’s happening to McCabe? What’s happening to Lisa and Peter Strzok and Lisa Page? What’s happening to them? It was a whole set up and a disgrace for our country and everyone knows it too, including NBC, which gives a lot of fake news. The fact is that Roger Stone was treated horribly, and so were many other people — their lives were destroyed… and frankly, they should apologize to a lot of the people whose lives they’ve ruined.’
He went on to offer his uniquely self-centered view of what happened surrounding Stone’s sentencing:
‘They saw the horribleness of a nine year sentence… nine years for doing something that nobody can even define what he did. Somebody said he put out a tweet, and the tweet — you based it on that.’
Nope. In fact, Stone’s crimes are well-defined. Prosecutors spent days outlining them. Obstruction of justice is not an imaginary offense. And now, Stone’s fate is up to Judge Amy Berman Jackson — unless Trump steps in with a pardon, which this week he seemed to acknowledge that he’d been considering.