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Stone’s Sentencing Controversy – Another Molehill Made into a Mountain

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Stone’s Sentencing Controversy – Another Molehill Made into a Mountain

Stone’s Sentencing Controversy – Another Molehill Made into a Mountain
February 14
17:56 2020

In their obsessive pursuit of President Trump, the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement seems to be combining a Chicken Little and the Boy Who Cried Wolf strategy.  Everything is a major crisis … nay … a constitutional crisis. To hear their cries, Trump is undermining democracy and bringing down the Republic.

There is no doubt that Trump is re-writing the established rules of the establishment.  He is not following the Washington tradition that Democrat bureaucrats’ rule.  Republicans and conservatives are merely an occasional annoyance – sort of a pimple on the butt of Big Brother.

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One could argue that Trump – not them – is the constitutionalist who is restoring the powers of the three constitutional branches of government.  The entire debate over the call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was because Trump was not following the traditional diplomatic policies of the bureaucrats who see the President only as the implementer of policy – not the creator.
Whenever Trump exerts his constitutional authority as President of the United States, the left sees treason.

The controversy that has evolved around the sentencing of Roger Stone is just another example of an obsessive reaction.

Perhaps, Trump would have been wise not to create yet another opportunity for a media-driven controversy.  He is his own worst enemy when it comes to shooting off his mouth.  But nothing really dramatic happened.

Let’s examine the situation rationally and objectively.

It is customary for federal prosecutors to “recommend” a range of sentencing on a convicted felon.  They often use federal guidelines to make their recommendations.  But these guidelines are not chiseled in granite.  They can be used arbitrarily by federal prosecutors.  If they like the defendant, they can use a lenient guideline.  If they dd not like the guy or gal, they use a tough guideline.

Then there is the problem of the guidelines themselves. The very Democrats who defend the guidelines, in this case, have long been critics of the guidelines as being too tough.  Rapists and drug dealers get lower sentences. Yep!  Another example of political hypocrisy.

John Dean, who was the unofficial whistleblower, in the impeachment of President Nixon – and who served time for his own misdeeds – had an interesting observation.  Part of him would be happy to see Stone suffer the worst fate possible.  But that was personal.  Dean said that the 7 to 9-year recommendation seemed out of line – especially when you see Nixon’s presidential aides, who committed far worse crimes than Stone, were given 18 months.

We must remember that the guidelines are not mandatory.  The judge has the final decision.  A judge can impose a higher sentence than recommended or a lower one.  Nothing the prosecutors on the case did – and nothing the Department of Justice did – changes that.  The initial recommendation and the change by the folks at the DOJ are virtually meaningless in terms of the judge’s decision.

We also have to remember that the DOJ did NOT recommend a lower sentencing as was misstated by the media.  They left it totally up to the judge – which was the actual case anyway.

Democrats and their media pals have created a narrative that Attorney General William Barr changed the sentencing recommendation at the demand of the President.  Trump denies that he had any discussion with Barr or folks at the DOJ in advance of their decision.  MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough claims that Trump is lying.  I do not know if Trump is lying or not – but neither does Scarborough.  In making his flat-out claim, it is Scarborough who is lying.

Stone will be sentenced to jail time as determined solely by the judge.  She has every reason to dislike Stone, so it could be on the more severe side.  That will, of course, lead to an appeal – and Stone should be out on appeal, but that is not certain.  In short, the Stone case will go forward as if nothing had happened.  All the political drama is just that – and for what?

Whether it is politically wise or not for Trump to make a public comment before sentencing – and I personally think it was unwise – it is not illegal or unconstitutional.  It is not a threat to the rule-of-law or the Republic.  The real threat to the Republic may be the Democrats’ ability to use the press as their own propaganda vehicle and create these mountain-out-of-molehill controversies as a way to get at Trump.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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