Roger Stone was convicted by a jury for lying and witness tampering, so the Justice Department recommended to the judge in the case that he be sentenced with seven to nine years in prison. President Donald Trump tweeted his demand that Stone get out of jail with no time or accountability, despite a guilty verdict from a jury. After that, the Department of Justice decided to change its sentencing recommendation. The prosecutor handling the case has since resigned from handling the Stone affair, though it is unclear if he also quit the DOJ.
John Dean, former White House Counsel under President Richard Nixon, explained that Trump’s tweet obviously had a huge influence.
“And I must say, to put the cards on the table, Roger Stone is somebody I hold in minimum high esteem to put it nicely,” Dean said. “In fact, I can’t even say on television my assessment of him, so I was not unhappy to see him get seven to nine.”
He noted that he did think it was too aggressive, comparing it to the Watergate precedent.
“The most egregious and least cooperative and most belligerent figure was Gordon Liddy, who is someone that Stone admires greatly,” Dean recalled. “He only got four years in prison, but his sentence was commuted by Jimmy Carter when it got to that point. The chief of staff Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, his top domestic adviser, all committed perjury in front of Congress and obstructed justice. They only got 18 months so seven to nine years was very hefty.”
He went on to say that it’s clear Bill Barr is having a huge influence, even though the judge in the case is the one who will get the final decision. What she will likely look at is the probation report, Dean said.
Stone had previously attacked the judge, posting a photo of her in the crosshairs of a firearm sight.
See Dean’s full remarks below:
‘That’s how authoritarian countries work’: CNN’s Toobin warns Trump is acting like a dictator
On CNN Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin broke down the significance of President Donald Trump's decision to pardon several high-powered friends accused of political corruption and tax crimes.
"There is no doubt, under the Constitution, the president has the power to do this," said Toobin. "This is not legally a — an open question. And there is a history of controversial pardons, whether it's President Clinton pardoning Marc Rich, a fugitive financier, or George Herbert Walker Bush pardoning the Iran-Contra people on his way out of the office."
"So what makes this so troubling is in the middle of his term, here he is assigning friends, basically friends and friends of friends, to get pardons and clemency, which is how authoritarians behave, which is playing favorites with your personal friends at a time when you are playing with the opposite of favorites with prosecutorial decisions," said Toobin. "I want these people prosecuted, these people freed — that's how authoritarian countries work. Countries where there is the rule of law, there are systems in place for who gets prosecuted, who gets clemency. This is a very individually-focused way to run a presidency."
GOP’s portrayal of Trump as a corruption fighter torn to shreds as ‘complete nonsense’
Republicans who defended President Donald Trump during impeachment hearings insisted that he wasn't trying to shake down the Ukrainian government to investigate his political foes, but was instead sincerely concerned about fighting corruption abroad.
CNN's John Avlon, however, argued on Wednesday that Trump showed these claims were "complete nonsense" after he unleashed a slew of pardons and commutations for corrupt former public officials, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who both were sent to prison after being found guilty of abusing their offices for personal gain.
Pete Buttigieg answers those who question his family values: ‘I’ve never had to pay off a porn star’
Mayor Pete Buttigieg appeared on CNN Tuesday for a town hall in Nevada where he was asked about his sexual orientation. Thus far, Buttigieg is the first openly gay presidential candidate being taken seriously by both the media and the electorate.
He was asked by a voter how he would deal with the flood of personal attacks on his sexual orientation and his family.
He explained that it would happen and he was ready for it. Speaking about his coming-out story, Buttigieg said that he wasn't sure what impact it would have on his career but that he didn't want to not have a personal life anymore after he got out of the military.