Former advisor to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, Roger Stone, was indicted and convicted for lying to Congress and obstructing justice.
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice recommended Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison. The recommendation was signed by the case's top prosecutor.
That's when things got...interesting.
The President railed against the recommendation on Twitter Tuesday night.
This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. C… https://t.co/as5QvEacVs— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1581403707.0
Disgraceful! https://t.co/nNXEjJuVyw— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1581400644.0
That's when the Justice Department mysteriously backtracked on the sentence recommendation it had issued to Judge Amy Berman Jackson only one day before, saying:
"The Department was shocked to see the sentencing recommendation," the official told CNN. "The Department believes the recommendation is extreme and excessive and is grossly disproportionate to Stone's offenses."
The department later recommended a sentence of three to four years. Officials also claimed the decision was made before Trump's tweets.
Since that announcement, all four career special prosecutors on Stone's case have resigned in response to the Justice Department's rebuke.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) criticized the decision, and predicted that the DOJ, under the leadership of Attorney General William Barr, would reward Stone for crimes that benefitted Trump.
They’ll probably recommend no jail time, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a show on Fox News. https://t.co/yjgM397qja— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1581444790.0
Shortly after, Stone sent a letter to the Inspector General for the Justice Department seeking answers.
NEW: @SenSchumer has sent a letter to the DOJ IG requesting sn investigation into the reduced sentencing recommenda… https://t.co/A6wEfLhB69— Frank Thorp V (@Frank Thorp V) 1581458654.0
"The American people must have confidence that justice in this country is dispensed impartially. That confidence cannot be sustained if the president or his political appointees are permitted to interfere in prosecution and sentencing recommendations in order to protect their friends and associates. I urge you to conduct an expedited review of this urgent matter and issue a public report with your findings and recommendations as soon as possible."
With DOJ announcing the reversal right after Trump's criticisms, people agree that the administration is working to give Roger Stone a sweetheart sentence thanks to his allegiance to the President.
On the same day: - Two prosecutors have resigned from the DOJ to protest the administration’s intervention to ligh… https://t.co/H2tUnCFz0E— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton) 1581461141.0
If DOJ reduces its sentencing recommendation below the sentencing guidelines for Stone after Trump’s public critici… https://t.co/Sa8drq3bDa— Barb McQuade (@Barb McQuade) 1581446755.0
This is shocking. It's an earthquake. The corruption of DOJ under Barr is now complete. Absolutely every decision t… https://t.co/AqiuDX9uUZ— Walter Shaub (@Walter Shaub) 1581448949.0
It appears that the President and the Attorney General have overruled career prosecutors in order to help Roger Sto… https://t.co/suC1Slo007— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@(((Rep. Nadler)))) 1581453604.0
Does @realDonaldTrump have the power to make the @TheJusticeDept go light on his friends, like felon Roger Stone? Y… https://t.co/ui7OyxiHrA— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu) 1581452920.0
Roger Stone faces 7 felony convictions for interfering in a congressional investigation, violating a judge's gag or… https://t.co/eZ78wOdKXA— Senator Jeff Merkley (@Senator Jeff Merkley) 1581453059.0
By recommending a reduction in Roger Stone’s sentence, President Trump is corrupting the Department of Justice to b… https://t.co/Sg1xQKJjDY— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@Rep. Eric Swalwell) 1581459149.0
This all is about much more than how much time Roger Stone does in prison. It’s about the use of DOJ to reward and… https://t.co/iakwvFJ9ML— Elie Honig (@Elie Honig) 1581447931.0
It looks more and more like Democratic lawmakers were right in their prediction that a failure to convict Trump in the Senate's impeachment trial would only embolden him to further corrupt Democratic norms.