William Barr

Even Without Trump's Tweets, the Attorney General's Intervention on Roger Stone's Behalf Would Have Looked Bad

If Barr is so concerned about the appearance of integrity, why did he insert himself into a high-profile case involving a presidential pal?

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Is Attorney General William Barr defending the independence and integrity of the Justice Department, or is he just trying to quell the controversy over Roger Stone's sentencing and reassure prosecutors who are anxious about political interference with their work? Is he annoyed by the president's tweets about the case because they "make it impossible for me to do my job," as he told ABC News yesterday, or because they make it impossible to pretend that the decision to override the original sentencing recommendation was untainted by Donald Trump's personal interests?

Barr obviously wants the public to believe he is a straight shooter who does what he thinks is right in criminal cases without regard to the president's preferences, and I suspect that is how he views himself. He does not want to go down in history as a political hack who did the White House's bidding instead of doing his duty, who let the Justice Department become a vehicle for helping Trump's friends and hurting his enemies. Barr's interest in protecting his own reputation may be the department's strongest shield against a president who seems genuinely puzzled by the idea that he should not use his power over the executive branch to dictate prosecutorial decisions.

Yet Barr chose to intervene in Stone's case, a decision that would have hurt his reputation even if Trump had kept his mouth shut. According to Barr's account in the ABC interview, Timothy Shea, a former Barr adviser whom he named the interim U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia on January 30, "came by to briefly chat with me" about the Stone case on Monday. Shea told Barr the prosecutors assigned to the case "very much wanted" to recommend a seven-to-nine-year sentence, "but he thought that there was a way of satisfying everybody and providing more flexibility." After that "brief discussion," Barr said, "I was under the impression that what was going to happen was very much what I had suggested, which is deferring to the judge and then pointing at various factors and circumstances."

When Barr learned from news reports on Monday night that the prosecutors had filed a memorandum recommending the sentence they had originally favored, he said, "I was very surprised. Once I confirmed that that's actually what we filed, I said that night to my staff that we had to get ready, because we had to do something in the morning to amend that and clarify what our position was."

Then this happened:

"I had made a decision that I thought was fair and reasonable in this particular case," Barr said, "and once the tweet occurred, the question is, 'Well, now what do I do?' Do you go forward with what you think is the right decision, or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be."

Barr insists he never discussed the Stone case with the president or anyone else at the White House. But even assuming that's true, the case of a longtime Trump crony who was convicted of trying to protect the president by lying to a congressional committee and tampering with a witness was obviously of strong personal interest to Barr's boss. In case there was any doubt about that, Trump already had publicly commented on the case, complaining in November and again in January that Stone was being prosecuted for lying while various Trump foes had gotten away scot-free after committing what he viewed as similar offenses. He also had praised Stone as "tough, loyal guy" and commended him for saying, "I will never testify against Trump."

Given all that, why was Shea conferring with Barr about Stone's sentence to begin with? While Barr initially made it sound as if that conversation was a mere "chat" in which he "suggested" what prosecutors might do, he made it clear later in the interview that he viewed the sentencing recommendation as a decision he was called upon to make. Apparently he did not communicate his decision clearly enough, because Shea let his prosecutors follow their initial inclination. And by Barr's account, he knew he could not let that stand even before the president's tweet.

"I have a problem with some of the tweets," Barr said. "I'm happy to say that in fact, the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. However, to have public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, make[s] it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we're doing our work with integrity."

If Barr is so concerned about the appearance of integrity, why did he insert himself into a high-profile case involving a presidential pal, urging lenience for a man whose loyalty Trump had publicly praised and whose prosecution he had publicly criticized? As I wrote the other day, there were sound reasons to believe a prison sentence of seven or more years would be disproportionate given the nature and consequences of Stone's crimes. But federal judges sentence around 70,000 defendants every year, and many of those cases involve injustices as bad or worse. Why did Roger Stone merit the attorney general's help when thousands of nonviolent offenders who are not the president's friends are routinely receiving "very unfair" sentences (even according to Trump), many of which could be mitigated by prosecutorial restraint?

"I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do, and I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody," Barr said, "whether it's Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president. I'm going to do what I think is right."

Barr acknowledged that Trump's tweets might leave a different impression. "I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me," he said. "The fact that the tweets are out there and correspond to things we're doing at the department sort of give grist to the mill, and that's why I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases."

But even if Trump had not said anything about the case this week, it would be reasonable to question the wisdom and propriety of Barr's decision to intervene on Stone's behalf. An attorney general's self-restraint is especially important when he serves a president who seems incapable of it.

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  1. I mean, wouldn’t exactly be the first time a president has inserted himself into a case. Or are we gonna pretend Obama didn’t try to influence the Trayvon Martin case with “he could have been my kid”? Hell, Buchanan went so far as to show up to the murder case of Dan Sickles and make a show of treating him as a friend in front of the entire court to let them know that he had powerful friends (coincidentally, it’s the first murder case where the temporary insanity plea worked).

    The big difference here is that the prosecutors were trying to do the same thing, in the opposite direction. Or are we gonna pretend that Mueller’s pals pushing to give Stone 9-10 years for a crime that usually gets 3 is “unbiased”?

    1. Or are we gonna pretend Obama didn’t try to influence the Trayvon Martin case with “he could have been my kid”?

      Yeah, Barr can have the prosecutors over for a Beer Summit.

      1. And now McCabe isn’t going to be prosecuted. stone should walk free, and McCabe should die in prison.

    2. Crime usually doesnt even get prosecuted. Let alone in general being well under 4 years.

        1. Same could be said of perjury in a civil case.

          Ready to un-impeach Bill Clinton now?

    3. Oh unreason is on the TDS binge again.

      Obama butted into the Trayvon Martin case.

      Governors butt into criminal cases all the time.

      The Attorney General of Illinois is butting into the Smollett case.

      If you don’t want the President voicing an opinion in a federal criminal case, don’t use the prosecution of the defendant as a political tool against the PRESIDENT.

      1. There’s gonna be a reckoning eventually for all this shit, and I have a feeling it’ll happen after this next election. The farther left democrats are less of a political party and more of a religious cult at this point and believe they have the moral authority. It’s the reason they can’t accept lost elections, and I doubt they’ll just lie down and take it if they lose this election… which is almost a certainty at this point.

        1. Do not be overconfident. November is a long way off.

      2. Reason hates Trump more than they love libertarianism.

        1. True

          Maybe Barr actually DOES have integrity and got involved in the Stone case because the sentence recommendations were obviously excessive.

    4. Picayune shit compared to Obama firing Gerald Walpin while he was in the middle of investigating one of his buddies caught up in the AmeriCorps scandal.

    5. Well there aren’t that many prosecutions for lying to Congress so I don’t think there’s a well-established rule about what “usually” happens. Though it’s certainly the case that lying to Congress should be prosecuted more often.

      I don’t know where exactly you draw the line between important presidential commentary on a crime (e.g. a murder, a terrorist attack) and interfering. Yes, maybe the court could be more lenient on account of Stone’s age, evident mental instability (who gets a tattoo of Nixon for Pete’s sake?) and lack of prior convictions but it’s not the prosecution’s job to advise clemency (that’s what defense attorneys do). And normally contrition is an essential factor in the consideration of reduction of penalties.

  2. FFS. Putin’s plan for Barr and Trump to collude to get Stone’s sentence reduced without pardoning him worked!

    Just when I think it couldn’t get any more retarded, Reason goes and makes it retardeder.

  3. Was the 7 to 9 year sentence recommendation justified by the circumstances of the case or was this prosecutors from the Mueller investigation taking out their sour grapes on one person they got a conviction on?

    If Stone should not get leniency because he is a friend of Trump, then neither should he get harshness because of it.

    1. To save you a few minutes on Google –
      The reason the four prosecutors cited for bumping the sentence from probation only to 7 to 9 was the presence of a threat of violence, taking the phrase “prepare to die, cocksucker” as justification. Rather than a minor misquote from The Princess Bride’, the prosecutors pretended that Stone was one heartbeat away from spraying DC with bullets. The sworn deposition of the supposed victim of this deadly threat states it was not considered a real threat, just Stone being Stone.
      So yeah, Barr should step in, slap those political operatives disguised as government officials up side the head, and make the recommendation relate to the actual event.
      Note: some phrases enhanced for readability

      1. So, in short, the prosecutors lied.

        What.
        A.
        Surprise.

        They do it all the time people!

    2. Fairly certain it’s just because he was Trump’s buddy, and they’re taking their impotent rage out on him. Which is why I don’t have too many qualms about what Trump’s doing.

      1. The claims that Barr is Trump’s corrupt dog is silly as well. He’s shown much more independence than Holder did under Obama. He also hasn’t been involved in blatantly corrupt behaviour yet

  4. The Trump administration announced that they’ve reached a preliminary show of good faith deal–as a precursor to a long term deal to get us out of Afghanistan.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-taliban-reach-agreement-reduce-violence-opening-door/story?id=68988537

    I don’t know if the Russians are behind this in an ungodly plot to trick average Americans into voting for Trump again, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

    1. Not the Russians; that’s yesterday. Ukraine and Iran.

    2. The best news of the week? Month? Year?

      Make it happen!

      1. I can’t believe you’re letting the Ukrainians trick you into thinking that Trump trying to pull out of Afghanistan is a good thing.

        Here’s what we know from the news media:

        1) Trump isn’t trying to pull us out of Afghanistan because he walked out on a deal in September.

        2) Trump is trying to get us out of Afghanistan without an authorization from Congress, which is unconstitutional.

        3) Trump is abandoning our allies in Afghanistan like he abandoned our allies in Syria–which is disgraceful.

        4) If Trump is getting us out of Afghanistan, it’s probably because he took a bribe from the Russians, the Ukrainians, or because he’s trying to build a hotel in Kabul.

        5) Trump is a warmonger.

        In conclusion, don’t give Trump any credit for this if it goes well. It’s mostly because of what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did before they left office. If it goes badly, of course, it’s all Trump’s fault, and don’t worry, even if it goes well, we’ll report on it as if it went badly.

        Love,

        The White House Press Corp

    3. Fingers crossed he gets it done by November.

  5. So, if Barr is Trump’s bitch and Trump is Putin’s bitch, does that make Barr a bitch-by-proxy?

    1. I think Sullum enjoys the clusterfuck happening in his head a little too much.

    2. I honestly dont get Reasons appearance on this. The standard for lying to Congress has generally been not even a trial. We have many examples of this from Hillary’s lawyers (destroying evidence), destroying a server under subpoena (Hillary’s IT), Clapper and Brennan lying to Congress, McCabe lying to investigators, Comey lying to Congress, leadership of various companies lying to Congress (Twitter, Facebook). None of these people were even indicted, especially given actual evidence like the IG recommendations for McCabe.

      When people are indicted they are generally given days in jail or even a year. Yet Stone being threatened with almost a decade for lying about a non crime being reduced to 4 years is the politically unseemly interference? I just dont get this.

      How can any libertarian support 9 years forging about a non crime. And stop the bullshit about violent threats, the supposed victim said he was never threatened and was used to Stones bombastic personality. Stone was also set up for an early morning raid for fucks sake.

      The only political motivations apparent here is Team Mueller and political activists at the DoJ targeting the president’s associates.

      1. Not sure why this got posted as a reply.

      2. The DOJ is supposedly not going to prosecute McCabe for lying.

        These Lefties and government bureaucrats are two-faced liars and get away with it.

        If you prosecute regular people for lying to the government and police agencies like the FBI, then you should prosecute bureaucrats who get caught lying too.

        1. I really hope Barr understands the optics of McCabe. The fact that he was incensed about Trump’s tweets and even an appearance of impropriety… he has to be incensed over mccabe who the IG apparently gave the Doj an open and shut obstruction case. The fact that the government class and those around it are virtually immune to the same process and petty crimes the DOJ prosecutes others with os astounding.

          McCabe’s post news interview was fucking so ignorant. He complained about how it took 2 years for justice and how much this hurt his family. You know for a fact he has prosecuted people for less with more delays than he was subject to.

          1. No joke – for the sake of the republic, he needs to be dealt with.
            If not by the State, then by the People

          2. McCabe’s interview was a straight up “fuck you” to the American People.
            I don’t think it was accidental that the way he characterized his being a “victim” was exactly what he and his compatriots were guilty of doing themselves.
            He was sending a message that his caste is untouchable.
            There must be blood

            1. The Tree of Liberty is wilting. It needs to be refreshed with the blood of traitors and patriots.

      3. I honestly dont get Reasons appearance on this. The standard for lying to Congress has generally been not even a trial. We have many examples of this from Hillary’s lawyers (destroying evidence), destroying a server under subpoena (Hillary’s IT), Clapper and Brennan lying to Congress, McCabe lying to investigators, Comey lying to Congress, leadership of various companies lying to Congress (Twitter, Facebook). None of these people were even indicted, especially given actual evidence like the IG recommendations for McCabe.

        Even if all of the above, it’s entirely within the President’s purview to pardon them outright. It may be improper and abso-fucking-lutely reek of nepotism but Clinton pardoned his half-brother for a no-shit drug conviction.

        1. Clinton pardoned his half-brother for a no-shit drug conviction.

          If only that were Clinton’s most questionable pardon.

        2. It’s true that a President can pardon them outright, but that’s a stated public act with potential political repercussions. In other words, he owns that decision.

          AFAIK, it’s more of a good governance tradition than hard and fast legal standard that the president doesn’t intervene in prosecutorial decisions. He’s the AG’s boss, and the AG is the boss of all the prosecutors in the DoJ. Even if a statute says something different on that point, I think there’s a decent claim that the President has the inherent Constitutional executive power to do it, so any such statutory prohibition doesn’t hold.

          I agree that it’s generally a bad idea that reeks of banana republic lack of rule of law for the president to be telling line prosecutors, through the AG, whether or not to prosecute people.

          Of course here, Trump being Trump, he seems to have made a completely unnecessary mess of it by tweeting about it when he could have just issued a pardon or commutation after sentencing.

          And, on the actual substance of it, he *does* now publicly own this at least to some degree. If he’d made a quiet private call to Barr, the rule of law problems are more concerning.

          And, again on the substance of it, it seems like the original sentencing recommendation was way, way overboard.

    3. And you’re a fucking idiot.

  6. Most people don’t even get prosecuted for this stuff, let alone get a nine year sentence for it. Let me know when Clapper and Comey are prosecuted for lying to Congress.

    1. McCabe just got his pass – – – – – – –

    2. The balls on Clapper. Lied to congress. Came back and told them so to their face and nothing happened.

  7. In other messy clean up news from the 2016 election, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, was just found guilty of “extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, and wire fraud” because he threatened to accuse Nike of all sorts of salacious things if they didn’t pay him off and hire him to do an internal investigation.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-avenatti-found-guilty-11581708458?

    It’s hard to believe a porn star and a subsequently convicted extortionist would work together to take advantage of a presidential candidate at a precarious time in the election cycle, and I don’t if what they said was true. As election season heats up, however, it’s good to see some of the chickens from the last election coming home to roost.

    I’d love to see Mr. Comey’s name come up in regards to an investigation sometime soon, and I hope President Trump’s recent tweets in defense of Mr. Stone haven’t undermined whatever the Attorney General had in store for the former leadership at the FBI. I doubt it did.

    I refuse to believe that Trump tweeting something interferes with the facts and logic of justice. Mr. Stone either deserves or doesn’t deserve the sentence they were asking for him–regardless of what Trump tweets–and if Mr. Comey or anyone else at the top of the FBI circa 2016 deserves to be prosecuted and indicted, I’m sure that will remain true regardless of whatever Trump tweets, too.

    Just because Trump’s tweets make Adam Schiff and Chuck Schumer upset doesn’t mean they really matter. Those guys walk around in a permanent state of conniption all the time.

    1. under the Ukraine scandal shouldn’t Trump be impeached for his justice department investigating a rival presidential candidate and political rival?

      1. In all seriousness, I’m a little surprised Trump hasn’t been caught red-handed with some strange since he’s been in the White House.

        This is probably the driest spell he’s had since he was 16.

        1. I was really expecting Trump to have a major scandal by now. The Ukraine, Russian, and other Democrat/media scandals don’t rise to that level. I figured he would do something so blatantly out of bounds that he’d earn impeachment. So far he has surprised me.

          1. He’s had to spend so much time dealing with the other stuff that he hasn’t had time to come up with something that would be a major scandal.

            He’s got that, he’s got some actual governing to do, plus he obviously needs some time for tweeting. Only so many hours in the day. Mostly joking, but I think there’s a hint of truth to that.

    2. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up: A porn star, a presidential candidate, a sleazy lawyer, government spying; the stuff of Hollywood. It couldn’t possibly happen here….could it? 🙂

      The historians centuries from now are going to look at the objective circumstances of this time and just say: Whoa!

  8. How does this look worse that a tarmac meeting between the AG and the spouse of the target?

    1. It doesn’t. Did you support that meeting?

      1. No.

        But I can support a reduction in sentencing after a verdict if the sentencing appears too harsh. I would have supported the same if Hillary’s sentence was too harsh.

        1. And I really don’t like the Clintons. But just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean I think justice should be harsher on them. Which makes me different than a lot of people I’m around.

      2. Ye shall be known by the water ye carry

        1. Non-partisanship fairness is the water I carry.

      3. Leo… you do realize that in this case the political optics dont look bad at all when you consider they wanted Stone locked up for 9 years for lying about a legal action. Or do you support process crimes absent other crimes? I for sure dont.

    2. You may recall that the AG recused herself immediately. Barr should have done the same after Trump’s tweet.

      1. No she didnt. She waited quite a while before saying she excused herself, but kept her office directly in contact. That isnt an actual recusal.

        1. M4E full of shit again.

          1. I even believe her official “recusal” was to leave it up to the FBI (Comey after he had already decided not to pursue) in violation of DoJ regulations and process.

          2. When is he not?

  9. Lol, just two days ago Sullum was going on about how poor Roger Stone deserved a lighter sentence.

    Today he’s all upset that AG Barr intervened to make it happen.

    I firmly believe the outbreak of TDS at Reason HQ is so advanced and entrenched that if Trump descheduled marijuana tomorrow Reason would bitch that he didn’t do it sooner. Or that he bypassed Congress.

    That Nasty Orange Man will never be accepted into polite Beltway society, no matter what he does.

    1. Evidently, the TDS spreads at Unreason like the fucking COVID-19 virus does in China.

      1. Sure. A (+)ssRNA virus is exactly like this website.

        1. Sadly, bad thinking and illogic are very ‘catching’ these days. 🙂

  10. Even Without Trump’s Tweets, the Attorney General’s Intervention on Roger Stone’s Behalf Would Have Looked Bad

    Well, I certainly can’t argue with that. To some people, all things Trump look bad. Barr’s very existence looks bad. But if you’re suggesting that Barr should just look the other way when his subordinates are fucking somebody up the ass because “it looks bad” if he intervenes to stop the ass-fucking, well, that would make Barr a pretty horrible person, wouldn’t it?

    1. Well, sure, but ass sex is one of the Three Pillars of Libertarianism along with Mexicans and Pot. Why protest one of the core tenets of the philosophy?

      1. The three pillars of Reason, not libertarianism.

        Most small-L libertarians are more concerned about out of control prosecutors.

    2. It looks bad because they only time he doesn’t look away, as you put it, is when it’s one of Trump’s henchmen. As Sullum also noted, there are thousands of cases he could intervene in, but doesn’t.
      It’s like Trump pretending he’s interested in ending corruption. In a country with thousands of possible cases of corruption, he lands on the one that kinda involves Biden, of all people! What a coincidence!

  11. Stone’s case will almost certainly be overturned on appeal.
    The judge should be disbarred for numerous violations of Stone’s civil rights.
    McCabe should be executed.
    Nobody should give a shit what the Ds/MSM whine about.

    1. Notice how Reason is concerned about Barrs appearance but gives 2 shits about the jury foreman?

      1. How the fuck does a practicing attorney get on any jury, much less become the foreman?

      2. I wasn’t sure what people were talking about regarding the jury forman so I looked it up.

        Holy shit! The article shows the tweets. The verdict should be tossed. He should get another trial.

        https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/13/jury-foreman-in-roger-stone-case-was-trump-hating-russia-collusion-hoaxer/

        1. Holy shit! How is that not grounds for an immediate mistrial?

    2. It’s nice to see more commenters here come around to my point of view. Nothing is going to happen to these progtards and deep state shitweasels until they’re forced to account for themselves. Through long prison sentences.

  12. McCabe lied to the public while Director of the FBI – probably not a crime – and to the FBI about illegally leaking information to a journalist – both actual crimes.
    He faces nothing.
    Clapper lied on camera to a Senate committee. Nothing to see here.
    Brennen lied to the Senate. Move along.
    Stone lied to the FBI about something that was not illegal. 9 – 10 years in prison.
    What the first three have in common is they are ‘one of us.’
    Stone is ‘one of them.’

    1. What about Schiff lying about he and his staff not having any previous contact with the whistleblower during the impeachment circus, couldn’t that be a crime as well?

      1. Sadly the assholes are protected from prosecution for anything done during Senate business, including perjury. See Harry Reid.

    2. the feds better restore the roe of law. Or eventually, the publiildo it for them.

      1. “Rule of law’, and ‘public. Damn squirrels.

    3. Oh, you poor victimized people, lol! Maybe another Benghazi investigation would salve your souls?

  13. Just a reminder that the US Constitution has this to say:

    “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”

    In other words, if Trump _actually_ wanted to interfere in Stone’s sentencing, all he’d have to do is issue a pardon, because that’s an actual legitimate power that the President has. I wouldn’t have a problem with it if he did, since Stone’s only real crime was having the wrong friend.

    1. Trump is the chief law enforcement officer of the Federal Government. Everyone at DOJ is his subordinate.

      It’s not interference, it’s plenary power.

  14. “If Barr is so concerned about the appearance of integrity, why did he insert himself into a high-profile case involving a presidential pal?”

    Here’s why: The Eighth Amendment.

    Roger Stone is being sentenced to cruel and unusual punishment!

    How many other people have very recently lied to Congress and NEVER SERVED ONE DAY behind bars? A few come quickly to mind: Eric Holder, Lois Lerner, James Clapper, James Brennan, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff, and the list goes on.

    Plus, if the foreperson in Stone’s trial can be held accountable for her prior knowledge and bias in her duties (which is entirely likely), it becomes a mistrial and Stone’s case would have to be re-tried ANYWAY. Why is that so hard to understand here? It’s because of journalists like Sullum.

    1. There is no rule of law for the denizens of DC.

      But if the shit ever hits the fan there won’t be enough protection to go around for them and theirs.

      1. “But if the shit ever hits the fan there won’t be enough protection to go around for them and theirs.”

        I dunno. How long was the Green Zone in Baghdad maintained? I think the pols and their immediate camp followers will be fine. Travel might be a touch restricted, but fine.

        It’s all of their sympathizers—without the pull to live in the Greener D.C. area—who probably should worry. More than they currently do anyway, if their written love of bashing the fash is any clue.

    2. Adam Schiff should be convicted of treason and executed.

  15. I listened to what AG Barr said yesterday. Whoa.

    Senator McConnell gave POTUS Trump some very sagacious advice. Personally, I think POTUS Trump can find plenty of other people and topics to tweet about in this election year. Let AG Barr do his job, particularly with the events that transpired before and after the election. AG Barr has pledged to give our country a full and complete accounting of what happened, and I believe him. I don’t want AG Barr to leave because The Donald is well…behaving like only The Donald can behave.

    1. Have to agree. The Durham report is pending and any appearance that Trump is personally involved in DOJ decisions will allow media like Reason to write it off as weaponizing the DOJ against his political enemies.

      1. Grimsrud…I am perfectly fine with POTUS Trump making a call over an Executive branch matter. He is the head of the Executive branch and the constitution says he can. I am fine with that. Unreason can blather all they want, but the constitution is pretty clear on his authority. Now if we the people don’t like the calls and decisions he makes, we vote him out. In November, POTUS Trump’s contract is up, and we’ll see if it is renewed by the American people.

        AG Barr is a pretty stand-up guy, IMO. He cleaned up some serious f’ed up messes in his first term as AG. Specifically, I am thinking of Iran-Contra. One can disagree with some of his decisions on political grounds, but one cannot say his decisions were lawless. AG Barr played by the rules. On his second stint, he delivered on what he promised: Mueller will complete his investigation (he did), and the results would be shared with the maximum amount of transparency allowed by law (he did). You can disagree with him politically, but you cannot say he did not deliver on exactly what he said. POTUS Trump needs more people like that. So does America.

        Now AG Barr has promised a full and complete accounting of what transpired before and after the 2016 election. We know the broad outlines: A sitting POTUS (Obama) allowed the use of our primary intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI) to surveille the presidential campaign of a presidential candidate of the opposite party (Candidate Trump), and to spread purchased political misinformation (yeah, the dossier).

        AG Barr intends to fill in the blanks on who, what, when, where, how. We know the why. He has designated John Durham to ferret out the facts. POTUS Trump should let him do that, and not tweet about it. If not for political purposes, just so the American people can know what happened. It really is crazy what happened. That should never happen again.

    2. I’m indifferent to whether Barr leaves, because a) he’s been on the job a year and b) I’ve yet to see a single prosecution or even the hint of a prosecution for all the illegal shit that went on in the DOJ. Nobody is being held accountable…all we’ve seen is a bunch of pointless “reports” saying “people should be held accountable”.

      Trump’s management style, if you ignore the lies and hyperbole from his critics, is pretty simple:

      1) He hires someone, he leaves them alone to do their job and doesn’t micromanage,
      2) He gives them some time and public support against criticism,
      3) After awhile, if they’re not doing what he hired them to do or are accomplishing the opposite of what he hired them to do, he’ll toss out a public criticism on one of the issues annoying him, but leave them out of it.
      4) If they don’t fix the issue after he’s publicly complained, he starts publicly complaining about them personally.
      5) If they still don’t fix the issue, he fires them.

      Barr is on step 3 right now. He’s not prosecuting people who engaged in a criminal conspiracy against the President, while people who supported the President are being grilled for process crimes. The President is not happy about it…he’s let Barr know that publicly. If Barr doesn’t fix it to the President’s satisfaction, the next round of tweets will be calling out Barr by name.

      And if Barr doesn’t get that, fuck him and how hard his job is for him…he’s replaceable too.

      1. And while I have hope that Barr will turn it around, my biggest criticism of him so far is that he’s far too fucking collegial with the parasites infecting his department, when he should be looking to crush them ruthlessly and get people in line.

        It makes me question whether he truly realizes just how thoroughly the Obama administration corrupted the DOJ.

      2. “I’m indifferent to whether Barr leaves, because a) he’s been on the job a year and b) I’ve yet to see a single prosecution or even the hint of a prosecution for all the illegal shit that went on in the DOJ. Nobody is being held accountable…”

        This. From Gowdy’s strutting in front of Hillary Clinton in Congress to the present day, all I’ve heard is talk about how this one is going to be the crime that does it for stopping corruption in Washington. Nothing has happened.

        Wake me when indictments are issued and people who aren’t Trump’s colleagues start wearing orange jumpsuits.

      3. UCrawford nails it.
        I don’t trust Barr. He’s talked a decent enough game so far, but he hasn’t done his job yet.
        He really can’t talk about “doing his job” until he actually starts trying to do it.
        Not prosecuting McCabe, and letting him go on TV to piss on all us “lesser Americans” is not good.

      4. UCrawford, it is funny, I agree with almost every part of your post (especially the 5-point process outline – you nailed it) except two points.

        1) I do not want AG Barr to exit; therefore I am not indifferent.

        2) Replaceable by whom and by when are very relevant concerns. I think it is a really bad idea to fire your AG in an election year.

        POTUS Trump knows how to play it cool. He certainly did with the Chinese with great success as a negotiating tactic. He should do so here. Just play it cool on twitter and let AG Barr do his job to give us a full and complete accounting of what happened in the period before and after the 2016 election. Putting it in your 5-point outline, POTUS Trump needs to pause and give AG Barr some time.

        1. Agreed. Firing Barr now would be a terrible idea. If he must be replaced, do it after the election.

    3. We laugh at Chinese trucks spraying bleach in the streets, knowing it’s just for show meant to fool the rubes.

      Unless and until some of these deep state actors pay a real price tell me the gyrations from Barr, Durham, or anyone else are anything other than a show meant to fool the rubes.

  16. “If Barr is so concerned about the appearance of integrity, why did he insert himself into a high-profile case involving a presidential pal?”

    Oh, I don’t know. How about wanting to call BS on another political witch hunt? You would think Reason would be in the front lines calling out prosecutorial misconduct, charge-stacking, and all the other bag of tricks used to intimidate defendants. Damn, this case even had the gratuitous early-morning SWAT raid.

    Yeah, I know. That last was a rhetorical comment. TDS is a truly debilitating illness. Sad. Really sad.

  17. It’s entirely appropriate for the AG to revisit and scrutinize over every aspect of an tainted federal investigation. It would be no less than justice if Trump pardoned Flynn right now. He should arguably pardon Stone too.

    Reason has a story about how the FBI tried to coerce a Muslim man into working as an informant. The man refused and was eventually put on a no fly list. Would it be inappropriate for Barr to look over the individual agents and chain of command that let this happen? Recommend dropping charges or lighter sentences on related pending cases?

    What’s going on in this place? Robby Soave is the only Reason writer concerned about how the government lied to launch an investigation? As far as I’m concerned, the impeachment process is one big poisonous tree and any fruit should be discarded.

    Who cares if stone is Trump’s pal or not? The impeachment crew went after the president and his allies with little justification. They’r all targets and victims. The only disgrace is that the miserable miscreants in the house didn’t join Trump and Barr is undoing their witch hunt.

    1. “It would be no less than justice if Trump pardoned Flynn right now. He should arguably pardon Stone too.”

      Yes, it would be.
      Unfortunately it would also let the DOJ off the hook.
      They need to be held accountable.
      Let Trump pardon Flynn and Stone after their teams have thoroughly eviscerated the DOJ scum.

  18. Why are leftists getting so upset about this? The sentence is totally disproportionate to the crime. 9 years for a non violent first offense. More than the usual handed to bank robbers and rapists. Who cares if the president called Barr? He can do that. It’s not illegal. He can pardon him outright. These may be bad moves politically but none of this rates a moments consideration in the realm of legality.

    1. Odd that Reason is all for government reducing or invalidating prison sentences for non-violent crimes by any means.

      Except when it’s someone involved with Trump.

      When it’s someone involved with Trump, the Reason writers get out the pitchforks and wants people to rot forever in the deepest and darkest jail cells they can find. When it’s someone involved with Trump, Reason writers suddenly worry about propriety and invent new legal notions, such as that federal prosecutors are somehow an independent branch of the government.

      What I can’t figure out is whether Reason writers were always this stupid and partisan, or whether they are simply blinded by their hatred and partisanship now.

  19. I’ll answer your question about “what is so different about this crime” that merits his involvement:

    We know that the entire investigation was a politically motivated hit-piece. The point of “getting” Stone was to get him to flip on Trump. There was nothing to get. We know this now. We spent $30+ million dollars figuring that out. Of course, the investigators who started the thing in the first place knew that there was nothing to it when they started it. We know this now too. We know the whole thing was trumped up from the get-go.

    So pretending that Stone was “protecting” Trump when he committed these heinous crimes is silly. We know this isn’t true.

    I think we should have reason to suspect that the actual crimes are not all that serious to begin with. The most serious was “witness tampering”, in which he called a friend to find out what the FBI was up to when they called him. It is an odd thing to charge him with, since they were twisting arms of witnesses all over the place trying to get them to implicate someone… and he doesn’t twist arms or insist that he lies or any such thing. But his version is criminal and he needs to spend a decade in jail, and their version deserves a promotion and a raise.

    The reason Barr gets involved is that this whole thing stinks. Even if every individual investigator didn’t know that there was no conspiracy with the Russians, the FBI as an agency knew. And they set these people up, not because of a desire for justice, or because they were evading the law. They did it for entirely political reasons – to get them to “flip” on Trump and testify to something that never happened. Barr knows this. Everyone involved knows this.

    Even if the dude is a douche, that doesn’t make this stuff right.

    1. “We know that the entire investigation was a politically motivated hit-piece.”

      We know this. Reason and 99% of the MSM doesn’t.

      We don’t have an honest media in this country. No one is ringing any alarm bells over the investigative body of the government orchestrating a coordinated hit on a sitting president.

      But they jumped out of their when Jussie Smollett came up with his fake hate crime story. Same thing for Covington kids. They made Michael Avenatti resistance hero and invited him to all the cable shows and cocktail parties.

      The Trump presidency exposed these frauds for who they were. How do journalists point to detention center photos from 2015 and try to blame that on Trump? They basically told the world they didn’t do their job when their hero was in office.

  20. The President’s not pitching a fit over this show of disloyalty to his person is a fairly convincing indicator of this having been discussed between the two of them before-hand. Call it ‘independence theatre’.

  21. Man people in this comment section will bend over backwards with what-aboutism to justify the orange moron and his butt-boy William Barr unjustly interfering with federal prosecutors. If you don’t think this is wrong, you’re a partisan fool, plain and simple.

    “but….but….but……..Obama! Trayvon!”

    1. Go whine some place your tears aren’t found amusing, loser.

      1. You sound angry. Sevo, bad guy – very sad!

        1. You sound stupid. Losing and stupid is no way to go through life. Seek treatment.

        2. “You sound angry. Sevo, bad guy – very sad!”

          Hi ought to be angry. Very angry. You ought to be, too, as should anyone-especially libertarians-with a clue.

          And the anger ought to transcend any derived from the ugliness of the Stone show trial; the 7-9 year recommendation alone is criminal enough, setting aside the psychotic genesis of the case.

          Indeed, the assault on a Stone is a microcosm of what the virus on the radical left is all about: its purpose is retain control and to thoroughly destroy any other ideological species or threat that gets in its way.

          That is the raw nature of the totalitarian mentality, of the statists, and it’s embodied by today’s lunatic fringe. Trump depicts it as the swamp, as the deep state, but what he’s confronting is a warped consciousness which disregards all normative democratic boundaries.

          In short, Trump, as with Stone, represents an existential danger to the left. Being angry about that danger is step one in limiting it.

    2. Man, retards still dont understand the president is head of the Executive and the DoJ is not an independent branch.

      Man look at the dumbfucks in here who are fine with a sentencing guideline of 9 years for lying about a legal action. Way to prove yourself an authoritarian fuck.

      Have you ever had an honest thought on your life?

    3. Man people in this comment section will bend over backwards with what-aboutism to justify the orange moron and his butt-boy William Barr unjustly interfering with federal prosecutors.

      Federal prosecutors are part of the executive branch; the president and the AG can legitimately instruct them to not prosecute or seek lighter sentences if they choose.

      The orange moron understands this. You apparently don’t. What does that make you?

    4. It wasn’t just Trayvon.
      He also inserted himself into the Henry Gates issue, both of which had noting to do with any federal offenses.
      And don’t forget how he announced what ultimately turned out to be the excuse for HiLIARy’s abuse of National Security – lack if “intent”.
      There were others, too.
      If you lefties didn’t have double standards, you’d have no standards, at all.

    5. What’s wrong with what aboutism? Pointing out hypocrisy is a legitimate argument.

    6. But but but….. the FBI lied to obtain warrants and relied on a phony dossier they knew to be false.

      Now Paulie, if the government charged you with a crime but the entire investigative process was tainted and biased against you, would you sit on your ass and say “Yes call up any witnesses you want and introduce evidence you got from the poisonous tree” No, that’s wrong. Put DOWN the DNC newsletter and listen to your mom.

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  23. The rat-faced bastard deserves every bit of the 7-9 year sentence, but Barr and Trump both deserve to be locked up for life for perverting the Justice Department to help Trumps friends and persecute anyone who Trump doesn’t like.

    1. You spelled ‘Obama’ and ‘Lynch’ incorrectly. You are also confused. We are discussing Roger Stone case, who committed no real crime. Not Hillary Clinton. Who is a treasonous political mafioso.

    2. Looks like we got linked on Facebook or reddit again, the retards are spilling over.

  24. Should it even be a crime for anyone to lie about a legal act?

  25. Even Without Trump’s Tweets, the Attorney General’s Intervention on Roger Stone’s Behalf Would Have Looked Bad

    Reason is for anybody overriding the rule of law if it means lighter sentences for people with intersectionality.

    But, hey, if it’s a Trump associate, then Reason staff wants to see them sent off to the gulags no matter what, because anything else would “look bad”.

    Welcome to the New Libertarianism!

    1. Smells like garden variety progressivism.

  26. Sad to see Jacob Sullum standing up for the “integrity” of the Justice Department. It doesn’t exist, Jacob. And there is no justice in the federal criminal legal system, either. Assistant United States Attorneys routinely decide what the truth is and then prosecute anyone who does not agree with them. They threaten defendants with draconian sentences if they will not “cooperate” (i.e., lie) by telling the truth as determined by the AUSAs. Federal prosecutors achieve convictions in 99%+ of all felony cases. No one has a realistic chance at acquittal. Roger Stone was looking at 7-9 years in prison because he chose to go to trial, and lost, thus suffering the penalty for exercising his right to trial by jury. Had he not been a Trump crony, and had he just accepted his fate, he would have got off much lighter. So what does Sullum have against Barr investigating a Democrat hit job on Stone? Now it turns out that the jury foreman in Stone’s trial apparently lied during voir dire to hide her bias against Trump and Stone. If that is true, Stone will get a new trial. What has Sullum got against Barr intervening to prevent injustice. Sullum is just wrong – intervention to prevent injustice is never a mistake and it does not “look bad” for the Attorney General to monitor and supervise the DOJ and their prosecutions. Would Sullum prefer that the Democrats weaponization of federal prosecutions against Trump and his allies go unchecked?

    1. I believe the answer to your question is yes.

      It seems to be yes for a great swath of the American public.

      The odd thing is that civil libertarians should be aghast at the actions taken by the government in this suite of cases. And yet, the most prominent voices seem to be perfectly fine with it. Friend of my enemy is my enemy, I suppose.

  27. You do have to consider what others are being sentenced to realize how over the top 7-9 years.

    The former mayor of Baltimore was indicted on 11 counts of rather serious federal crimes. The sentencing memo suggested half the prison time as for Stone.

    https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bs-md-ci-pugh-sentence-highlights-20200213-feblotaljfcjnijkvxa4laysjm-story.html

    At this point, Stone has outlived his usefulness to an investigation that is over. The method of his arrest as well as the charges against him were intended to intimidate him to spill some dirt on Trump. Nothing to spill, no point in being more overly punishing to the man.

    The judge gets to set the sentence.

    Barr’s DoJ is still suggesting prison for Stone.

    It seems to me that actual Libertarians would want the government not to intimidate its citizens or even put them on trial for process crimes.

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  29. In the case of former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, prosecutors are recommending 5 years and her attorney’s are asking for 1. It only highlights how excessive the Roger Stone sentencing was.

    1. For those who don’t know the details, here’s the Wikipedia writeup of the actions she took that got her in trouble:

      In March 2019, Pugh was revealed to have accepted $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System while serving as a trustee to purchase her Healthy Holly self published books to donate to Baltimore schoolchildren. This no-bid payment was controversial because the years of payments coincided with her tenure as head of a health committee in the Maryland State Senate and as mayor of Baltimore. She did not disclose the payments or recuse herself from votes and decisions involving the medical system. Maryland legislative leaders pledged to reform the medical center’s practice of giving large contracts to trustees due the conflict it poses to their decision-making, which includes approving a $4 million salary to the institution’s CEO.[25] Pugh received $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for 100,000 copies of her books, however the firm printing the publication confirmed it had only printed 60,000 copies.[26]

      Pugh initially said that the University of Maryland Medical System were her only book sales, but on April 1, 2019, the Baltimore Sun reported that Kaiser Permanente paid more than $100,000 for copies of the book, and a nonprofit called Associated Black Charities paid Pugh’s organization nearly $80,000 for copies of the book. Both organizations do business with the city of Baltimore. Associated Black Charities in turn resold some of its copies to other organizations, including CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, another Baltimore insurer.

      1. Hidden among the numbers there is the fact that she “sold” about 136,000 books to these organizations, but the printer only printed less than half that many actual books – 60,000.

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  31. “Barr obviously wants the public to believe he is a straight shooter who does what he thinks is right in criminal cases without regard to the president’s preferences, and I suspect that is how he views himself.”

    Barr has a lot of faults. Stupidity is not one of them. He knows damn well he’s using the AG office to act as Trump’s personal lawyer, putting Trump’s personal interest ahead of anything else. Your statement is only true to the extent that what he thinks is right *is* whatever is in Trump’s personal best interest. Hell, he’s even acknowledged he doesn’t care about his legacy.

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  34. Barr has made a career of helping Republican criminals cover-up their crimes and escape justice.

    The Iran-Contra pardons and the Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, and Mueller investigation cover-ups are just a continuation of Barr’s long established pattern of protecting criminals.

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