After being exonerated in impeachment political judgment
Donald Trump has decided he doesn’t have to shut up any opinions. And it is not that before the president was precisely given to mutism. The facts of this week, however, mean a full-blown breakdown of the unwritten rules in force so far, according to which an active president does not intervene in judicial proceedings and does not pressure the prosecutor or the judges, even less when the Reo is a personal friend and former employee of his.
The president has complained, repeatedly, that the prosecution has asked Roger Stone, a lawyer who worked on his election campaign in 2016, between seven and nine years in prison in a case where the judge will issue sentence on the 20th of February. On Wednesday, in a conversation with the press at the Oval Office, the president said: “Roger Stone is being treated very badly, his life has been destroyed.”
That the president, the person with more power in the country, says from the White House that an inmate deserves a lighter sentence than the one requested by the prosecution is something unprecedented. What happened next is even more unheard of, all in a dizzying succession of events that has called into question the independence of the US tax ministry. So much so, that yesterday the Democratic leader and architect of the failed impeachment, Nancy Pelosi, said that these pressures are, again, a case of “abuse of power” that could be tried.
On Monday, prosecutors in the Stone case, who was convicted of perjury and lying to Congress in the investigation of the Russian plot, recommended the judge between seven and ten years of sentence. Immediately, Trump broke out on Twitter saying the case is “a great injustice.”
Then the department [ministerio] de Justicia issued a statement making its own recommendation: the penalty should be less. The four prosecutors who worked on the indictment resigned Wednesday. Her boss, the director of the prosecution in Washington, the federal capital, did the same hours later. Trump, far from expressing remorse, congratulated himself on the resignations. “He has done a great job,” he said in reference to the Ministry of Justice and his boss, Attorney General William Barr.
The next objective of the president is the judge who is going to pass sentence. This is Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who has already tried two friends and collaborators of the president for crimes related to the Russian plot, who pleaded guilty and have been imprisoned: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. From it, the president said on Twitter: “Isn’t this the judge who put Paul Manafort in solitary confinement, something that the Al Capone gangster didn’t suffer?”
In the end, the sentence of Roger Stone will depend on that same judge, victim already, like many others in Washington, on the attacks of the president on Twitter. But Trump has an ace left in his sleeve: the pardon. It is not common. In fact, since he arrived at the White House this president has only pardoned 17 people. Asked on Wednesday at the Oval Office on whether he plans to cancel the penalty to Stone, who has remained faithful to him throughout his trial, Trump said: “We will see, now that does not touch.” .