Ari Kasle

There Is No Roger Stone Firestorm. There’s Just Angry Democrats.

The Story: The Department of Justice suggested, via a sentencing memo, that colorful character and former President Donald Trump political adviser Roger Stone receive seven to nine years in jail for lying to Congress. President Trump spoke out against the recommendation. The DOJ is now reviewing the sentencing, saying the length of time suggested is excessive. The four lawyers who made the recommendation have resigned. Now, Democrats and the media are claiming that Attorney General William Barr and the DOJ have been compromised, and that President Trump is abusing his power.

The Reality: The DOJ wanted seven to nine years for Stone for lying to Congress. Rational people know that sentence is insane. Trump said so. The DOJ rejected the memo and reduced the sentence. 

Also reality: Democrats are screaming about this because they lost the impeachment battle, and need another way to attack Trump in an election year. Also, also reality: Media is more than happy to amplify the anti-Trump narrative, even if it’s not true.

I’ll leave to the plethora of breathless media reports the details of the original sentencing memo. The seven to nine years, as has been learned, was on the highest possible end for the crime. Trump’s reaction to it:

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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020

The new potential guidelines will most likely lower the possible jail time for Stone to three to four years. From Andrew McCarthy:

Late Tuesday, the DOJ filed a revised sentencing memo, which does not recommend a specific sentence but strongly suggests that a term calculated without the eight-point enhancement — i.e., between 37 and 46 months’ imprisonment — would be just. The new memo concedes that the prosecutors’ calculation in the original memo was “arguably” correct, but contends that it would be unreasonable under the circumstances.

But the story here is the faux outrage from the Democratic party. Current failing presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren reminded America that AG Barr can be impeached. Failed presidential candidate Eric Swalwell reminded Americans that Trump could be impeached. Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer called for an emergency oversight hearing. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy said Trump’s comments on Stone are worse than what got him impeached to begin with:

Convince me that what Trump has done since the impeachment vote isn’t worse than what he did to warrant impeachment.

Like we warned, acquittal has turned out to be a green light for him to take a wrecking ball to democracy.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 12, 2020

Media has piled on (or is it pounced?) They are outraged that President Trump would speak openly on the subject, screaming that he has violated all the “norms.” On CNN, political analyst David Gergen called Trump’s comments on Stone’s original sentencing worse that the Nixon Administration.

Yes, it’s faux outrage. The only reason Stone’s sentencing is a front page, top of the hour story is the total failure of impeachment. During the trial, and in the three years of ramp up to it, media moved multiple narratives that Trump was dangerous, that he was acting like a dictator, that he was shredding the Constitution.

But those arguments fell flat with the American people. The House Managers, utilizing those arguments, could not convince Republicans to call the witnesses that House Democrats failed to question when they had the chance. The Roger Stone sentencing helps the Left further the narrative that just failed them for the last three years: Trump violates the law. Trump is a dictator. Trump is dangerous.

Attorney General Barr has publicly stated that Trump should stop tweeting about him, and about cases the DOJ has before the courts. He said, clearly, that those tweets make it, “…impossible for me to do my job. And to assure that the courts and the prosecutors in the department, that we’re doing our job with integrity.”

It is fine for AG Barr to tell President Trump that his public pronouncements make it more difficult for him to do his job. He could have said it privately (and maybe he did,) but it’s not the end of the world that he said it publicly. Just like it’s not the end of the world that President Trump voiced publicly that the original Roger Stone sentencing guidelines were egregious in their length. The media reaction/Democratic reaction is about continuing a narrative to sell to America, even if that narrative is a proven failure. 

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