Roger Stone isn’t going to magically get a shorter prison sentence as a result of Attorney General William Barr’s corrupt decision to retroactively try to force federal prosecutors to reduce the sentencing recommendation. Whatever sentence Judge Amy Berman Jackson gives Stone, it’ll be the same as what she was always going to give him. But the sheer corruption of Barr’s (pointless) stunt has immediately set off a chain reaction of fallout.
All four federal prosecutors who were handling Roger Stone’s case have now resigned from the case in protest of Barr’s corrupt meddling, according to several major news outlets. To be clear, as of right now only one of them has resigned from the Department of Justice entirely; the other three are just resigning from the Stone case. But this is still a big deal, because it’s quickly turning this into a massive scandal for Barr, and for Donald Trump.
As we explained earlier, this may actually be the point. Donald Trump tweeted earlier today that Roger Stone’s sentence is too long. It’s idiotic for Trump to be focused on something that can’t help him at all in 2020, and could potentially blow up in his face and cost him votes. But Trump is pretty far removed from reality. Bill Barr is trying to do something to convince Trump that he’s helping him out, because Barr has to convince Trump to pardon him on his way out the door, or Barr goes to prison after this. So Barr does something like this that makes Trump’s socks roll up and down, even though it hurts Trump, simply because Trump mistakenly thinks this nonsense somehow helps him.
But regardless of the motivations of anyone involved, this is turning into an explosive scandal that’s not going away. There’s a strong chance it’ll lead to Bill Barr being impeached in the House, and a decent chance it’ll lead to Donald Trump getting impeached again as well. Trump is clearly hesitant to pardon Stone, but he’s also afraid Stone will seek revenge on him. This stunt appears aimed at splitting the difference. But it doesn’t actually help Stone, and certainly doesn’t help Trump, and now it could turn into a scandal just as big as his Ukraine extortion scandal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report