Sunday, July 12, 2020

Shutting Roger Stone Up With A Commutation Of His Sentence-- Few Republican Elected Officials Seem To Mind


"The most corrupt act in recent history," is what Trump detractors are calling the big Roger Stone commutation. Legal author and CNN contributor Jeffrey Toobin said, specifically, that it was "the most corrupt and cronyistic act in perhaps all of recent history." After all, just hours before Trump announced it, Stone had admitted to Howard Fineman that he has the goods on Trump. Will it matter? The mask-free young woman in this Facebook video is a very typical Trump fan-- something she proudly admits. [Basically she is ALL Trump supporters rolled up into one-- the absolute essence of populist Trumpism.] Watch it a couple of times. Do you think anything about this commutation will bother her or her boyfriend or any Trumpist?

South Carolina closet queen Lindsey Graham, whose career Trump could destroy with one tweet, pulled his head out of Trump's ass Friday long enough to tweet that that Trump's commutation of Roger Stone would be justified because "Mr. Stone is in his 70s and this was a non-violent, first-time offense," apparently a dry run for the Republican congressional party line on what was about to happen. But it seems to have bothered Utah Senator Mitt Romney, quite a bit... enough to have stuck his neck out to tweet this:

I read yesterday that Trump may bring Flynn out on the road to his COVID-KKK rallies. I hope he brings Roger too. I asked some of the candidates for Congress what the Republicans they're running against are saying about the Roger Stone commutation. Or if Trump has anything on them too? Like many candidates, Kara Eastman pointed to Donald J. Bacon’s "silence on this travesty as an amplification of his complicity. He’s a Donald Trump rubber stamp and Trump’s top enabler in Congress in his shambling journey towards autocracy."

Goal ThermometerLike Kara, this is Julie Oliver's second swing at a ghastly Trump-devoted incumbent. She told me last night that "Political corruption in Congress isn't new. We see it anywhere from corporate lobbyists writing gigantic tax cuts in the margins of a Republican tax bill that incentivized shipping jobs overseas, to the pharmaceutical industry charging $3,000 for a treatment that American taxpayers subsidized. But commuting the sentence of a political ally who was convicted of 7 felonies, conspired with foreign spies to disrupt a U.S. election and helped cover it up seals Donald Trump's reputation as the most corrupt president in history. And those who have enabled this corruption, like Roger Williams, can never live this down." Neither Williams nor Bacon has said a word about Trump's blatant corruption in regard to Roger Stone-- or anything else. Neither deserves to be reelected.

History professor and Riverside County progressive congressional candidate Liam O'Mara said "It's just business as usual to forgive corruption in your own camp, so it is honestly surprising that any Republicans have spoken out. (I almost hate that I need to give respect to Mitt Romney and former GOPer Justin Amash for standing on principle, given how terrible many of their ideas are for America, but I do respect it.) People in both parties reflexively defend their own-- this is why so many New Dems and Blue Dogs hate progressives so much. But we all know the corruption is far worse in the Republican party, and has been for decades (look at all the indictments in Reagan's administration). That Republicans never care is just par for the course. Most Republicans stuck with Nixon all the way to the resignation, remember. Calvert won't say a word about this, because as much shady crap as he's been in, he might need a get-out-of-jail-free card himself some day. Or at least, he should, if this country's politicians cared half as much about graft and corruption as they claim."

#NeverTrumper Bill Kristof wrote late Friday night that members of Congress shouldn't be mute about this outrage. "Democrats certainly will not be. But what of Republicans? Will they cower? Probably. Or will some-- a few, a happy few-- step forth now, in light of this extraordinarily corrupt exercise of presidential power, and say: No second term for this president. Will some elected Republicans make clear that Donald Trump’s America is not their America, not our America, nor the America of patriots, not the America of our future? A healthy Republican party would feature dozens of members of Congress stepping forward to say this... Republicans had their chance a few months ago to vote to impeach, and then convict, Donald Trump. With one (one!) honorable exception, they chose not to stand up for the rule of law. Now Trump has carried through on promises even Nixon never had the nerve or opportunity to carry out. Trump has gone further than Nixon ever did. Will no elected Republican now stand up and say to the president: You chose Stone; I choose Biden."

So is it a done deal? Have Trump and Stone gotten away with this (at least outside of the history books?) Well, where better to seek an answer than from Ben Wittes at Lawfare? He wrote that "the predictable nature of Trump’s action should not obscure its rank corruption. In fact, the predictability makes the commutation all the more corrupt, the capstone of an all-but-open attempt on the president’s part to obstruct justice in a self-protective fashion over a protracted period of time. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s actually not. Trump publicly encouraged Stone not to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation; he publicly dangled clemency as a reward for silence; and he has now delivered. The act is predictable precisely because the corrupt action is so naked. In a normal world, this pattern of conduct would constitute an almost prototypical impeachable offense. But this is not a normal world. Congress is unlikely to bestir itself to do anything about what Trump has done-- just as it has previously done nothing about the obstruction allegations detailed in the Mueller Report."

Now, with Trump’s commutation, Stone has received the precise reward Trump dangled at the time his possible testimony was at issue.

“Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency,” the White House said Friday evening. In the White House’s telling, Stone was targeted by out-of-control Mueller prosecutors for mere “process” crimes when their “collusion delusion” fell apart. He was subject to needless humiliation in his arrest, and he did not get a fair trial. “[P]articularly in light of the egregious facts and circumstances surrounding his unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial, the President has determined to commute his sentence. Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”

Indeed he is. But the story may not be over.

“Time to put Roger Stone in the grand jury to find out what he knows about Trump but would not tell. Commutation can’t stop that,” tweeted Andrew Weissman, one of Mueller’s top prosecutors, following the president’s action.

That’s most unlikely while the Justice Department remains in the hands of Attorney General Bill Barr. But it’s far from unthinkable should Trump leave office in January. What’s more, the commutation means that the story Mueller tells about potential obstruction vis a vis Stone did not end with the activity described by the Mueller Report. It is a continuing pattern of conduct up until the present day. That potentially makes it easier for a future Justice Department to revive at least one of the obstruction questions that Barr squelched when he closed the cases Mueller intentionally did not resolve. In addition to all of the facts reported by Mueller, including facts that have been redacted until recently, Trump has now consummated the deal he dangled before Stone.

That’s something the Justice Department may want to examine anew-- someday.

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At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

horse shit. stone won't shut up. he'll be on fox spewing his man-love of his fuhrer by tomorrow, if not today.

and he'll probably get a tattoo of trump's anus on the tip of his penis, if not his upper lip.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger tony in san diego said...

If all these Republicans are going to lose in November, it would be better for them to lose for repudiating Trump, rather than sucking his ass all the way down.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No member of the Trump Admin needs feat Justice. Trump doesn't believe in it. I'm sure the deal is already cut that if Trump loses, he resigns so that Pence can pardon him. Pence will suffer no immediate penalty because he won't be running for re-election as a Lame Duck.

And the "Democrats" will continue to do nothing about any of this.


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