24 June 2020
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
One of the men who prosecuted Trump ally and Nixon worshipper Roger Stone for crimes against the Republic is testifying shortly before Congress regarding the sentencing phase of that trial. Aaron Zelinsky will tell the committee under oath that there was "heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break." He is going to say that word came from on high that Mr. Stone should be treated "differently and more leniently" because of his "relationship with the President." If true, it is an impeachable offense. If not true, one would be very surprised.
"What I heard -- repeatedly -- was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the president," Mr. Zelinsky, said in a written opening statement submitted on Tuesday to the House Judiciary Committee ahead of Wednesday's hearing.
The Justice Department is circling the wagons. "Mr. Zelinsky's allegations concerning the U.S. attorney's motivation are based on his own interpretation of events and hearsay (at best), not firsthand knowledge," said the spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, adding that Mr. Zelinsky never spoke with any member of the department's leadership about the case.
Fair enough but by the same token, that is not a refutation. Mr. Zelinsky and three other prosecutors proposed to the judge a seven-to-nine year stretch in jail for Mr. Stone. Mr. Trump tweeted a rather strident attack on the proposal. The Justice Department (which may soon have to change its name to avoid being in volation of truth in advertising rules) drafted a more lenient sentencing memo, which reached the judge sans the signatures of the four trial prosecutors. They had resigned from the case in protest.
Mr. Zelinsky's testimony is consistent with the sudden resignations following a second sentencing memo. It is not proof, but it is sufficient grounds to bring Mr. Barr before Congress to explain just what happened. If there is an innocent explanation, if there are documents that prove the case one way or another, Congress should hear and see them.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has said that impeaching Mr. Barr would be a waste of time because there is so little time left before the election. If Mr Trump loses, Mr. Barr will be gone in January. If Mr. Trump wins, impeaching Mr. Barr remains a possibility. The political calculation is solid.
That said, political influence over a case once the defendant has pled guilty to felonies or a jury has convicted him or her of the same is unacceptable. One is not so naive as to believe politics never enters into prosecutors charging decisions. If a president says the Justice Department should focus on drug-related crimes, that is inherently political. Resources will flow to those investigations and away from, for instance, financial crimes like tax evasion. One can live with that. That is not the case with Roger Stone.
This is manipulation of the process to benefit a friend of the president solely because he is the friend of the president. It is a case of rule of man rather than rule of law. It is unAmerican.
© Copyright 2020 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.