Trump Says He Had 'Nothing to Do' With Changing Roger Stone's 'Disgraceful' Sentencing Memo
President Trump let loose with a barrage of criticism Tuesday for federal prosecutors who asked a judge to send his friend Roger Stone to prison for as long as a violent criminal. But when asked if he'd orchestrated the switch in the sentencing memo now calling for less time, and the walk-out by prosecutors involved, he said he'd had nothing to do with it.
Earlier Tuesday, the Justice Department brass retracted and rewrote the sentencing recommendation memo, after becoming aware of the "extreme" prison sentence they wanted for Stone. Furthermore, they also discovered that the prosecutors involved had lied to the Department of Justice brass about what they were going to request. Switching the sentencing memo led four of the prosecutors to quit the case.
Stone's prosecutors, some of whom were on the Mueller Trump-Russia team, ordered a pre-dawn raid on Stone's Florida home as CNN cameras recorded the event.
Stone was found guilty of obstruction in the case involving the DNC hack of emails by Wikileaks. He testified he'd had no connection with WikiLeaks.
Nevertheless, federal prosecutors threw the book at Stone and also charged him with threatening a witness and breaking a gag order imposed by the judge. The premise underlying the entire case against Stone, Trump-Russia collusion, of course has been mooted by the Mueller report.
Trump said the suggested sentencing and, indeed, the entire prosecution was "ridiculous":
"I thought it was ridiculous. He said he has nothing to do with the judge in the case saying, 'I'd be able to do it if I wanted. I have the absolute right to do it.' But I stay out of things to a degree that people wouldn't believe. But I didn't speak to them. I thought the recommendation was ridiculous. I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous. And I look at others that haven't been prosecuted ... but when you see that I thought it was an insult to our country and it shouldn't happen. And we'll see what goes on there. That was a horrible aberration. These are, I guess, the same Mueller people that put everybody through hell. And I think it's a disgrace. No, I've not been involved in it. At all. I think it was a disgraceful recommendation."
Trump was furious with the unequal justice on display between Democrats and Republicans:
He gave a couple of examples:
Hillary Clinton, watching from the sidelines, chimed in with her thoughts on Trump's anger:
Fox News reported that the top brass at Main Justice were "shocked" "that prosecutors handling the case had recommended Monday night that Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentence 67-year-old Stone to between 87 and 108 months in prison. The prosecutors asserted in the Monday filing that Stone's conduct post-indictment -- including violating the judge's social media gag orders -- merited a sentence much longer than the 15 to 21 months that the defense said was actually advisable under the federal sentencing guidelines."