Democrats and the media are in another tizzy. This time over the Justice Department’s Tuesday decision to file a sentencing memo calling for Roger Stone to receive a shorter prison sentence than four line prosecutors originally recommended, explains Kimberely Strassel in the WSJ.
The reversal came not long after President Trump tweeted his own outrage over the initial sentencing memo, leading to the inevitable conspiracy theories and calls for investigation.
Why Stone Was in Justice Department’s Crosshairs
Mitigating factors are an important role here, continues Ms. Strassel. After Team Clinton, the DNC and Fusion GPS weaponized the FBI to go after political opponents, Mr. Mueller could easily have unraveled this ambush.
Instead, (Mueller) rampaged through dozens of lives, and—unable to find collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, his original charge—obtained indictments for process crimes.
That’s no excuse for Mr. Stone’s behavior, but his sentence ought to reflect that he was prosecuted by an overzealous, politicized Justice Department.
Mr. Barr also promised accountability, and the permanent bureaucracy is displaying its contempt for that mission. Line prosecutors made clear up front that they’d cause a political spectacle unless their demands were met. When overruled, four went on to withdraw.
In a Washington Post op-ed, former Justice Department employee Chuck Rosenberg summed up the resistance to supervision: “We all understand that the leadership at the top of the department is politically appointed, and we make peace with that.”
Unelected Officials Calling the Shots, Making Policy
Career civil servants aren’t some aristocratic class entitled to immunity from supervision. They are employees. The danger isn’t political authority, but rather an unelected mandarin class that believes itself exempt from democratic accountability.
Mr. Barr’s reassertion of basic principles is overdue and important. The pity is that President Trump is ruining the moment with ill-considered tweets and statements that feed the conspiracy narratives.
Mr. Trump is right to distrust the bureaucrats, but he should trust the attorney general to do the right thing—and give him the time and space to do it. His every comment on Mr. Stone puts Mr. Barr in a more difficult position—and for what? Mr. Barr on Thursday publicly asked the president to lay off, and he should.
Restoring Evenhandedness, Integrity, Respect to Chain of Command
The only scandal, yet again, is that so much of partisan Washington is willing to throw mud on this progress in the name of damaging this White House.
Read more here.