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Tag: roger stone

DOJ Watchdog Is Investigating Handling of Roger Stone Sentencing Recommendation

GOP trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department Inspector General’s Office is investigating the unusual intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone, a dirty GOP trickster and longtime ally of President Trump, NBC News reports.

The review comes after a team of career prosecutors withdrew from the case in February after Attorney General William Barr and senior prosecutors for the Justice Department sought a shorter sentence for Stone, who had been convicted on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

High-ranking Justice Department officials overrode the career prosecutors’ recommendation of seven to nine years in prison, saying the sentence should be “far less.”

Trump, who commuted Stone’s 40-month sentence on July 10, congratulated Barr in February for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought” and suggested the prosecutors who recommended the stiffer sentence were “rouge.”

While testifying before the House Judicary Committee on July 28, Barr defended intervening in the case.

“I agree the president’s friends don’t deserve special breaks, but they also don’t deserve to be treated more harshly than other people,” Barr said.

Jonathan Kravis, one of the prosecutors who withdrew from the case, wrote in a Washington Post column that “the department undercut the work of career employees to protect an ally of the president, an abdication of the commitment to equal justice under the law.”

Stejskal: As the Election Approaches, Keep in Mind Who Trump Chooses to Reward or Punish

The writer, an FBI agent for 31 years, retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office in 2006.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

Last week two peoples’ lives changed dramatically. One avoided jail. The other’s military career ended prematurely.

Featured_stone_43837
One’s a hero, the other isn’t.

On Friday evening, the White House announced that President Trump had commuted Roger Stone’s 40-month prison term. Stone, a longtime friend of Trump and a self-described “dirty trickster,” had made no secret of his desire to receive a pardon or clemency from the president. He made it known that he had remained “loyal” to the president. Actually, he had gone beyond loyalty and committed perjury by lying to Congress and threatening a potential witness.

The subject of his lies was his knowledge of Wikileaks’ possession and ultimate distribution of emails that a Russian intelligence agency had hacked from the Democratic National Committee. He had acted as a go-between for the Trump campaign with Wikileaks. Stone refused to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, ostensibly to protect the president.

He was charged with seven counts, including perjury, obstruction of Congress and witness tampering. He was convicted by a jury on all seven counts and sentenced to 40 months in prison.

At his sentencing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that Stone “was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president, he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”

Read more »

After Trump Commuted Roger Stone’s Prison Term, Is Michael Flynn Next?

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Now that President Trump has commuted the prison term of Roger Stone, many are wondering if Michael Flynn is next.

Flynn is Trump’s first national security advisor and also was the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

When it comes to a potential pardon of Flynn, who was convicted of lying to FBI agents, Trump said Monday, “I don’t have a decision to make” about a potential pardon for Flynn “until I find out what’s going to happen” with Flynn’s attempt to get his conviction tossed, CNBC reports.

“I think he’s doing very well with respect to his case,” Trump told reporters. “I hope that he’s going to be able to win it.”

The Justice Department is asking Judge Emmett Sullivan to dismiss the conviction. After he was ordered to dismiss the case by a federal appeals court panel, Sullivan requested the court’s full line-up to reconsider the decision.

Trump has long insisted that the Mueller investigation was a hoax, even though numerous people have been convicted as a result of the probe.

Sen. Graham to Invite Mueller to Testify After Ex-Special Counsel Wrote Op-Ed about Roger Stone

Robert S. Mueller III testifies before Congress last summer.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to invite former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee after Mueller penned a rare op-ed in response to President Trump’s decision to commute Roger Stone’s prison sentence.

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have long called for Mueller to testify, but Graham has denied the request – until now.

“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing – and also capable – of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post,” Graham tweeted. “Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr. Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation. That request will be granted.”

A spokesman for Graham told NBC News that a “formal invivtation to Mr. Mueller is in the works.”

In The Washington Post op-ed, Mueller wrote that he was “compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office.”

“The Russia investigation was of paramount importance,” he said. “Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

Trump drew criticism from Democrats and some Republicans after commuting Stone’s prison sentence on Friday.

Robert S. Mueller III: Roger Stone Was Not A Victim of Our Office

The author is the former FBI director and served as special counsel for the Justice Department from 2017 to 2019.

By Robert S. Mueller III
For the Washington Post

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before congress.

The work of the special counsel’s office — its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions — should speak for itself. But I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office. The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.

Russia’s actions were a threat to America’s democracy. It was critical that they be investigated and understood. By late 2016, the FBI had evidence that the Russians had signaled to a Trump campaign adviser that they could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to the Democratic candidate. And the FBI knew that the Russians had done just that: Beginning in July 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen by Russian military intelligence officers from the Clinton campaign. Other online personas using false names — fronts for Russian military intelligence — also released Clinton campaign emails.

Following FBI Director James B. Comey’s termination in May 2017, the acting attorney general named me as special counsel and directed the special counsel’s office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The order specified lines of investigation for us to pursue, including any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. One of our cases involved Stone, an official on the campaign until mid-2015 and a supporter of the campaign throughout 2016. Stone became a central figure in our investigation for two key reasons: He communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers.

To read the full column click here.

Former Roger Stone Prosecutor to Testify about ‘Significant Pressure’ to go easy on Roger Stone

GOP trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal prosecutor is expected to tell lawmakers on Wednesday that he “faced political influence” to go easy on Roger Stone, a GOP trickster and longtime Trump ally who was convicted of lying to Congress during its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I have never seen political influence play a role in prosecutorial decision making, with one exception: United States v. Roger Stone,” federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky said in testimony prepared for Wednesday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, NPR reports.

Zelinsky is one of two whistleblowers who are expected to testify at the hearing and one of four prosecutors who withdraw from the Stone case after the Justice Department intervened and urged the judge to impose a lighter sentence.

According to his written statement, Zelinsky said the person in charge of the U.S. attorney’s office at the time told him “that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the President.'”

Zelinsky said he felt “significant pressure … to water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in (Stone’s) trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction.”

Trump to Nominate Tim Shea as New Acting Administrator of DEA

Tim Shea

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Tim Shea, the top federal prosecutor in Washington D.C. and a former senior adviser to Attorney General William Barr, will soon be tapped to become the DEA administrator, ABC News reports, citing an administration official.

President Trump plans to replace him with Justin Herdman, the U.S. attorney in Cleveland.

Shea oversaw the Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser. He also played a significant role in reversing the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally.

Shea will replace Uttam Dhillon, who was serving as acting DEA administrator. Dhillon will be transferred to a senior leadership position in the Justice Department.

Prosecutor Who Resigned Amid DOJ’s intervention of Roger Stone Sentencing Lands New Job

Roger Stone

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A prosecutor who resigned after the Justice Department intervened in the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone has landed a new job.

Jonathan Kravis, who was on the team prosecuting Trump’s henchman, will head a new public corruption unit for the District of Columbia’s Office of the Attorney General that focuses on ensuring lower-level crimes are prosecuted.

“Here in the District of Columbia, there are numerous local public corruption offenses that are on the code book, in the DC code, that really are not enforced in this jurisdiction right now because the U.S. attorney’s office properly is focused on federal corruption matters,” Kravis said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.

“Those provisions don’t get the attention that they need,” he added.

Among the crimes that often fall between the cracks are campaign finance violations and false statements on financial disclosure forms.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said Kravis has “good old-fashioned lawyering skills.”

“The District of Columbia seeks to have a local prosecutor focused on local public corruption in the same way that every state in America does,” Racine said in the interview.