Politics - News Analysis
New Scandal Explodes: NBC Reports Barr ‘Overtook’ Stone and Flynn Cases — Watchdog Group Demands Documents
The explosive situation at DOJ continues to rock the country. A huge new scandal is blooming that could threaten the Trump presidency as much as the Ukraine matter. It may not go through to impeachment, but the action might be just as lawless. A citizen watchdog group has demanded that DOJ preserve all documentation concerning communications regarding the reduction in sentencing and intends to demand copies of all communication.
NBC is reporting that William Barr is taking over the prosecution of Stone and Flynn, an act so unusual it’s being called “unprecedented” according to CNN’s Jeffery Toobin. The blog’s favorite analyst, Nicole Wallace, just said that Barr and Trump are attempting to “erase” the Mueller investigation and criminal charges against everyone charged and prosecuted in the 2016 lawless campaign.
There should be a treasure trove within the documents sought shedding light upon just that issue. Barr cannot “take over” the Flynn and Stone case without many memorandums and emails protesting, written by the four prosecutors that resigned in protest.
Some of the fallout on the immensely important development is hitting the news wires. The scandal is so new and so explosive that little in-depth analysis is available this early. We are doing our best to provide it here.
From CNN on Trump’s “denial.”
“He is denying that he got involved and asked them to change that sentencing recommendation,” CNN’s Katlin Collins reported Tuesday afternoon.
But the story doesn’t end there, because Trump flapped his mouth off at reporters today, addressing the Stone sentencing, as reported by CNN:
“The president does not agree with it, and is calling it disgraceful and an insult and talking about this in the Oval Office with reporters in a few moments ago” she reported, noting that they didn’t expect to be brought into the Oval Office today.
“One thing, he is not saying whether or not he would commute Roger Stone’s sentence, whatever he is supposed to get next week or pardon him, but we know that the sources are telling us that is something that the president is considering for months and reported it back in November and essentially what the president is deciding, against the advisers and the friends of Roger Stone, to pardon him.”
Trump is absolutely dying to pardon these two, and there should be documentation about that very issue.
But a pardon is exclusively within the province of the president, it would be THE most corrupt pardon in all of history, not eve close, but it at least only involves Trump. IF Trump interfered in sentencing, and there is every indication that he did, then the House is near forced to take up the issue and investigate it with formal oversight hearings, which would likely result in another round of stonewalling by the White House and claims of “absolute immunity” from congressional subpoenas.
Such an action could be particularly dangerous for Trump because the country will truly understand that Trump will always do what he wants, claim he was “right” to do it, then stonewall anyone wanting to investigate it.
Meanwhile, a watchdog gave notice to preserve all documentation as they filed a FOIA request:
“CREW has requested communications from the DOJ and the US Attorney’s office about Stone’s sentencing recommendation, including with President Trump and Attorney General Barr,” the group said. “The requested documents will shed light on the process DOJ used to arrive at a sentencing recommendation and the extent to which that recommendation was influenced by Trump and other DOJ officials seeking to accommodate his complaints.
This is where the trouble will be exposed. Because unlike “pardons,” Trump is not supposed to be sticking his nose in DOJ, nor is the A.G. supposed to be ordering around lowly prosecutors in response to a president’s anger.
“This highly unusual interference by senior DOJ officials in Stone’s prosecution raises serious questions about the integrity of DOJ’s processes. The extent to which these processes have been improperly influenced by the president is of urgent public concern,” CREW added.
“Highly unusual interference,” “questions about the integrity of DOJ’s processes,” those are the types of statements one can expect when a president intervenes on behalf of someone close to him, something previously inconceivable. In any other presidency, this news would have resulted in automatic impeachment, which is likely why Trump waited until now to intervene. He wanted to clear the acquittal.
Watch out. We are in for a scandal that nears the size of the Ukraine matter. We cannot know yet whether Congress will pursue it with the same energy, or whether they might fear that they’re taking attention away from the campaign.
I dearly hope that the House goes after Trump just as aggressively to find out what happened.
This is exploding across all media platforms, a story almost as big as the New Hampshire primary. Telling.
[email protected] and on Twitter @MiciakZoom