The first thing to grasp about the Roger Stone sentencing fiasco is that Stone, even accepting the worst plausible gloss on his crimes, is a 67-year-old nonviolent first offender. If the criminal justice “reform” fad were authentic, and not a stratagem of social-justice warriors who have taken Washington’s surfeit of useful idiots for a ride, then we could all agree that the original seven-to-nine-year sentence advocated by prosecutors was too draconian — even if it was, as we shall see, a faithful application of the federal sentencing guidelines as written.
But no. Like criminal justice “reform,” the Stone prosecution is more politics than law enforcement. It was the Mueller probe’s last gasp at pretending there might be something to the Russia-collusion narrative – notwithstanding that, when the “gee, it sure feels like there could be some collusion here” indictment was filed, over a year and a half after special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, it had long been manifest that there was no Trump-Russia conspiracy.
So, the left has a quandary here: Do they hate Trump more than they love sentencing “reform”? We could have predicted the decision to go with hating Trump, thus fomenting outrage over DOJ’s retraction of its original sentencing recommendation of about nine years’ imprisonment, now slashed to a far more reasonable range of four years or less.
To be fair, though, Trump critics could not have been expected to resist the combination of DOJ missteps and Trump Twitter taunts that mark Stone’s sentencing, the combination that has managed to turn Mueller’s maulers into media martyrs.
Some background: In a ridiculously overblown, overcharged prosecution, Mueller slammed the ineffable Stone with seven felony counts of obstructing Congress’s Russia investigation. One of these involved tampering with a witness, left-wing radio host Randy Credico (through whom Stone sought a communications channel with WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange).
At a certain point, Credico let it be known that he intended to cooperate with investigators. A ballistic Stone, when not uttering lunatic references to Watergate and Frank Pentangeli (the Mafioso character goaded into suicide when a plot to take out the Don fails in "Godfather II"), warned the “stoolie” “rat” Credico to “prepare to die” and vowed to steal his pet dog.
Even in context, these seem to be puerile ravings, not real threats. (Stone added that his lawyers were anxious to “rip [Credico] to shreds,” so any murder and dognapping was apparently going to await cross-examination), And though Stone is patently guilty of witness tampering, Credico himself told the court that he did not take Stone’s threats seriously.