BECAUSE the seven-to-nine year sentence recommended for veteran political fixer Roger Stone was absurdly excessive, no-nonsense Attorney-General Bill Barr reportedly had it on his lengthy to-do list for review. Donald Trump should therefore have kept schtum on the case. Pursuant to his celebrated (or lamented) wont, however, the President couldn’t resist attacking those responsible on Twitter. This kind of intervention does indeed make Barr’s job difficult. “Impossible” was the word Barr used, a rare show of exasperation with his headstrong boss. The intervention has gifted Democrats another fake scandal to talk about just as they were reeling from train-crash impeachment and SOTU stunts. Given that Trump ‘scandals’ are endless and crazy, it’s unlikely new ones register in voters’ minds. Democrats promoting them are now little read whining hoods. That can change. Yes, the public loses interest in the no-show big bad wolf. But politics is not a fairy tale (not quite). Lie hard enough and you can eventually schlep those conspiracy theories back to the promising upslope of the bell-curved law of diminishing returns. Politics aside, the President’s concerns were just.
Concocted by Democrat-aligned prosecutors – embittered by the failure of principal Bob Mueller’s nutty Russia collusion investigation – the proposed stretch for Stone was more than wrongheaded overkill. An utterly corrupt proxy punishment of the man they really wanted to frame – Donald Trump – it was their way of unnerving the President’s supporters by inflicting pain on one of their more defiant number. The story began with a pre-dawn raid by 29 FBI agents on Stone’s Fort Lauderdale home in January 2019. The heavily armed operation occurred at the height of the Russia Hoax and its timing was leaked to far-left CNN beforehand. Nothing more clearly illustrates how decades of police power had corrupted the moral bearings of Mueller. Awarded the Bronze Star in Vietnam, he sent half a platoon to arrest a 66 year-old in his pyjamas and made sure network television was there to film it. Asked about the CNN set-up during groggy testimony at Congressional hearings in July, he refused to tell the truth about it despite being sworn. Stone goes to jail, Mueller to pipe and slippers.
Two other things are important to remember in relation to the Stone affair. First, Bill Barr does indeed work for the President who is entitled and constitutionally empowered to give him lawful directions. Certainly he can be held accountable politically if those directions prove to be unwise but the Attorney-General in the US system of government is not some kind of unaccountable cop-caudillo. He answers to the man and the man was hired by the American people. Second, more than any president in history, Donald Trump has been the victim of highly illegal, politically motivated misbehaviour by officials and Democrat holdovers in the Justice Department and the FBI. While he seems to have more trust in Barr than any other member of his cabinet or administration, he is understandably suspicious of the many and varied ways cases against conservatives are pursued while those against Deep State darlings are engineered to fail. The decision not to prosecute former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for dissembling to investigators about leaking to the media is an example of the latter. In this context, a Tweeting President on overwatch is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, McCabe – who was targeted remorselessly by Trump – was indeed guilty of dishonesty, as the Horowitz Report found. If the President takes over too often, however, his A-G will be sidelined. He’ll end up losing a good man.