The recent attacks by Democrats on Attorney General William Barr have been portrayed as a reaction to the Justice Department’s (DOJ) decision to intervene in the prosecution of Trump associate Roger Stone. That is not the whole story, though. Remarks by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) may have exposed her party’s real agenda: to interfere with – and even halt – the ongoing DOJ investigation into the genesis of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.
The four attorneys handling the prosecution of Stone signed off on a sentencing memo, which recommended the 67-year-old receive a prison term of between seven and nine years. To put that in perspective, child molesters, rapists, and repeat-offender drunk drivers responsible for fatal road accidents have served less jail time. Stone, who has no previous criminal record, was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing the House investigation into the Russia affair.
These are all victimless crimes that, one could argue, shouldn’t be considered crimes because Stone himself was unwittingly swept up in a bogus, politically motivated investigation based almost entirely on uncorroborated claims, media reports, and hearsay.
Fake News Strikes at the DOJ
Media coverage of the DOJ’s intervention in the case has painted the entire affair as far more dramatic than it is. The Department considered the recommendation of seven to nine years to be excessive, and so it stepped in and recommended a lesser sentence.
If media reports are to be taken at face value, though, the DOJ only intervened because President Trump tweeted criticism of the proposed sentence for Stone. Additionally, the Justice Department – doing the president’s bidding – has overruled both the prosecutors and the judge handling the case. Of course, neither is true.
The Department’s objection to the proposed sentence was filed before the president’s tweet, according to officials. Furthermore, the revised recommendation is just that: It does not command the judge to impose a lighter sentence. As Liberty Nation Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza, Esq. explains:
“[Stone] will be sentenced by Judge Amy Berman Jackson – not by the Justice Department or anyone else. You could be forgiven for thinking somehow that the DOJ was the sentencing body given how the story has been reported. The DOJ often recommends sentences to judges, but it has no legal basis for doing anything other than recommending. Judges impose sentences.”
Obstruction of Justice
Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sen. Warren called for Barr’s resignation and suggested that if he would not step down, House Democrats could impeach him. The senator went a step further, though, by suggesting that the House might push to “defund” Department of Justice investigations: “And the United States Congress right now should put a writer on an upcoming bill to say, ‘Hey, no funding of any investigations that Barr meddles into,’” Warren told Cooper.
Strange indeed to claim the United States attorney general is “meddling” by doing the very thing he was appointed to do, but has Warren let the cat out of the bag? Democrats appear very nervous about what John Durham, the federal prosecutor appointed by Barr to investigate the origins of the Russian conspiracy theory, may uncover. Their aim, therefore, may be to discredit the A.G. and, by extension, the Durham investigation. Shutting it down altogether would likely be their ideal scenario.
Additionally, the president’s political enemies have shown themselves to be determined to pursue multiple investigations into every aspect of his conduct and even his business dealings prior to taking office. They are attempting to prevent the DOJ from taking any steps to reign in their excesses, and taking out Barr, they seem to feel, is essential to that end.
What Warren is suggesting – the defunding of DOJ investigations – would be the clearest example of something the Democrats themselves have been crowing about for quite some time: obstruction of justice. There is no word on how long Durham will take to conclude his investigation. Warren – along with her Democrat colleagues – appears to be acting to prevent its conclusion. Should Republicans retake the House in November, they could, perhaps, think about doing some impeaching of their own.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.