On Thursday morning the media was glued to a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. That’s where Judge Amy Berman Jackson would be handing down the sentence for Donald Trump’s longtime political fixer, Roger Stone, who was convicted on all seven counts of lying to Congress and witness intimidation.
Stone’s sentencing was thrown into a whirlwind of controversy after Trump and his Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, interfered with the ordinary procedures for prosecutors to recommend the sentence. Barr overruled the prosecutors’ recommendation for seven to nine years as being “too harsh,” despite the fact that they were within the established guidelines. And Trump unleashed a frantic flurry of tweets condemning the courts, the Justice Department, and congratulating Barr for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control.”
Trump considered the prosecution of Stone a “miscarriage of justice.” But the twelve Americans on the jury unanimously disagreed. Now Judge Jackson has sentenced Stone to forty months in prison. He’ll be joining several other Trump associates who ran afoul of the law, such as his personal attorney Michael Cohen and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort. It really doesn’t pay to do business with Trump.
While Stone’s sentence caps the latest chapter in his melodrama, it does not accurately reflect what should be the main story line. Stone is a supporting cast member. Trump is the star. And what people should be paying attention to was noted in Judge Jackson’s remarks:
“[Stone] was not prosecuted, as some have claimed, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”
Exactly! The real crimes here were committed by Trump. His lackeys merely helped him to carry out his nefarious schemes. If, as the Judge said, Stone was covering up for Trump, then there was, by definition, a criminal conspiracy that required Stone’s efforts to keep it secret.
Now that Stone has been convicted and sentenced, there needs to be a full investigation of what Stone was covering up on Trump’s behalf. And if Trump is found to have broken the law, he needs to be indicted and tried. Contrary to some Republican legal hacks, it is permissible to indict a sitting president. The only alleged obstacle is a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department that has no force of law.
Stone’s case isn’t the only one that implicates Trump in the commission of broader crimes. Michael Cohen is currently serving three years for his role in Trump’s hush money payoff to Stormy Daniels. In that affair Trump was identified in court documents as “Individual-1,” an unindicted co-conspirator.
The fact that Donald Trump is so often on the periphery of criminal activity, but only his minions are swept up in the legal snare, is something that needs to be examined and corrected. It’s clear that he has criminal intentions, but continues to get off scot free. And many of his cohorts will as well via presidential pardons. That would represent an even deeper level of corruption and abuse of power. And for someone who has already been impeached for those very things, it is imperative that Trump be held accountable and forced to pay his own price for his criminal behavior.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.