WSJ: The Trials of Bill Barr

Source behind PAYWALL.

Kimberly Strassel claims to have the real story behind the revision of the Roger Stone sentencing memo:

“Justice sources tell me that interim U.S. Attorney Tim Shea had told the department’s leadership he and other career officials in the office felt the proposed sentence was excessive. As the deadline for the filing neared, the prosecutors on the case nonetheless threatened to withdraw from the case unless they got their demands for these stiffest of penalties. Mr. Shea—new to the job—suffered a moment of cowardice and submitted to this ultimatum. The filing took Justice Department leaders by surprise, and the decision to reverse was made well before Mr. Trump tweeted, and with no communication with the White House. The revised filing, meanwhile, had the signature of the acting supervisor of the office’s criminal division, who is a career civil servant, not a political appointee.”

Here are the key points:

  • A line supervisor (Tim Shea) allowed his superiors to have false expectations about the case, then caved to his own subordinates’ demands.
  • Senior, non-political management intervened when it learned the case was not proceeding as expected.
  • The problem was fixed before anyone outside DOJ knew or said anything about it.

These facts will likely be confirmed when Bill Barr speaks to Congress next month, if not before. Whether Democratic Party conspiracy theorists will be deterred is altogether a different matter.

37 thoughts on “WSJ: The Trials of Bill Barr

  1. Ms Strassel has been a Trump apologist since the beginning. I doubt the credibility of her reporting as much as you do anyone from the NYT.

    And I wish we could have public access to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the computations used for the original recommended sentence. THAT would put the discussion to rest, one way or the other, if the recommendation was excessive. Anyone can claim excessiveness, but without the proof, we just don’t know.

    Like

    1. Your wish is granted

      https://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2020/02/for-roger-stone-federal-prosecutors-advocate-for-within-guideline-sentence-of-73-to-9-years-in-priso.html

      Most of the recommendation of the prosecutors was based on an “enhancement” intended for use against organized crime figures who make CREDIBLE threats against a witness or their family.

      Stone, in anger, told Randy Creidco, to ‘prepare to die, cocksucker’ and that he would take away his dog, without any indication that he had the means or real intent to carry either out.

      That’s it. 8 of the 9 year recommendation for a few words spoken in anger with no indication that real violence would follow.

      Any honest person would have to concede that Trump was right to call that unreasonable, and the prosecutors who resigned because their ludicrous recommendation was criticized should have been fired for abusing the law anyway.

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      1. @Tabor

        I am an honest person and I do not concede that Trump was right to offer ANY opinion. Seems Barr agrees with me or at least that is the story they are peddling now.

        IMHO, they were not unreasonable to throw the book at him. He is a treasonous “ratfucker” who has shown his disrespect for the this country and the rule of law throughout his “ratfucking” career. And that includes his disrespectful behavior in Judge Jackson’s court. He has acted like this is all some sort of joke. It isn’t.

        You pooh pooh his death threats but if you were on the receiving end of them from someone mobbed up like the Trump crime family with a large dose of Russian gangsters mixed in, you too might find it intimidating. I, for one, have had plenty of occasion to be angry with people but have never made anything remotely like a death threat. Maybe you behave differently. I dunno.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks for sharing that.

        Federal prosecutors ALWAYS go for the highest enhancements in their recommendations. It is not special to Stone. Believe me I have seen it. Prosecutors recommend 12-18 years to an acquaintance of mine. The judge sentences him to 6 years, 4 months. Let the judge do her job and decide on the reasonable sentence. (And THEN Trump can pardon him)

        And regardless, he DID threaten Credico. If it were you being threatened by someone with the history of Senor Ratfucker, you would more than likely take it seriously as well. Or is it like Trump , Just Kidding excuses regularly thrown around by his sycophants?

        And 7-9 years for the SEVEN charges he was found guilty of doesn’t sound too unreasonable when taken in context 1 of year per crime convicted of.

        Trump was not right to stick his nose into any prosecution. It sets a very bad precedent and if done in the future by a Democratic president, you would be screaming bloody murder.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And from the blog post: “Stone, 67, faces a maximum of 50 years in prison at the sentencing, which Jackson has set for Feb. 20. Prosecutors say federal sentencing guidelines urge between 87 to 108 months in prison for Stone. The defense disputes several aspects of that calculation and argues that the guidelines call for just 15 to 21 months. Judges have the right to sentence above or below the guidelines, but are required to calculate the recommended sentence and take it into account.”

        This is the part hat has “law and order” people such as yourself in an uproar:
        ” Prosecutors say federal sentencing guidelines urge between 87 to 108 months in prison for Stone.” If that is the guidelines calculation, then that is what they are REQUIRED to submit. Ad I’m sorry but the phrase “prepare to die, cocksucker” (and your little dog too), regardless of whether it comes from the Cosa Nostra or the “GOP Ratfucker” is still a credible threat in the eyes of the prosecutor and probably to the target of the threat.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. And while the blog post was helpful, it would have been nice to have the same charts, info, and necessary info to see exactly how the original prosecutors came to their recommendation. If we had that, like I said, we could see how they determined it and the argument from either side of the discussion would be put to rest.

        Like

    2. RE: “I doubt the credibility of her reporting as much as you do anyone from the NYT.”

      There’s a difference. When I criticize a NYT story I take the trouble to explain why.

      In Strassel’s case, do you think your opinion is valid or even relevant just because you share it with us? More importantly, do you have any reason to believe she didn’t speak to anyone at DOJ, or that she isn’t reporting what they told her accurately?

      The problem with shooting the messenger automatically is that you won’t get the message.

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      1. @Roberts

        One does not have to doubt the honesty of the reporter to doubt the truthfulness of the story she is reporting. She is probably reporting what she has been told. This is an old trick. If you work for Trump and you want to spread some “alternative facts” the way you do it is to feed them to a friendly person in friendly news media. That is the role of Fox News, a sister organization of the WSJ.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: “One does not have to doubt the honesty of the reporter to doubt the truthfulness of the story she is reporting.”

        Why, exactly, should we doubt the truthfullness of the story in this case? Or is it your claim that WSJ as a rule is untrustworthy?

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        1. @Roberts

          Why exactly should we doubt the truthfulness of this story?

          The source is the Trump administration and it deals in “alternative facts” ALL THE TIME. And this particular story comes at a very convenient moment. But, even the smoke screen of internal confusion raises a damning question – Why was ANYBODY second guessing the four prosecutors who have handled the case. That very, very rarely happens. Occam’s Razor says that the most likely explanation is that the leadership doing that second guessing wanted soft treatment for a Trump henchman.

          Or, maybe it was all totally innocent even though four respected prosecutors did not think so. Again, that is the problem when DOJ has pissed away its independence and its credibility. Even if they may be telling the truth this time, can you believe them?

          As for the WSJ, its ownership is enough to sully its reputation but, in this case, there is no reason to think they did anything but convey the story that Trump wanted conveyed.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. RE: “Why was ANYBODY second guessing the four prosecutors who have handled the case.”

            As I mentioned to you yesterday in a different thread, from the very beginning when this story broke there were allegations that the four prosecutors may have lied to their superiors about their intentions with respect to the sentencing recommendation. Strassel has confirmed this, but with more nuance than originally reported. Your Occam’s Razor doesn’t apply here, and the known timeline of events doesn’t support your speculations.

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          2. @Roberts

            Those “allegations” make no sense. Argle Bargle to confuse those eager to be confused. THREE of the four who resigned from the case are continuing their careers in the DOJ. Would they be allowed to do that if they had been guilty of the sort of malfeasance in this “allegation?” Obviously not. This is part of the well-established Trumpian pattern of baseless smears aimed at people doing their duty.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. RE: ” This is part of the well-established Trumpian pattern of baseless smears aimed at people doing their duty.”

            The baseless smears are all yours. That was the point I made to you yesterday when I pointed out that you really had no knowledge of why the prosecutors resigned.

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          4. @Roberts

            The point you made the other day is the same point I just addressed. You seem to have no answer. Try again. If these prosecutors were forced to resign from this case for bad behavior as you theorize, then why are they continuing their DOJ careers in very important positions? You are smearing them with this silly nonsense just as you have smeared virtually every witness to testify to the truth in the impeachment process. Character assassination is the go to Trump response to the truth.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. RE: “If these prosecutors were forced to resign from this case for bad behavior as you theorize, then why are they continuing their DOJ careers in very important positions?”

            I said that was one of many possible explanations for the resignations. You, on the other hand, are insisting that your explanation is the only valid one, even though there is no reason to think so. Strassel has confirmed that the prosecutors’ superiors didn’t like their actions and intervened for that reason. We still haven’t heard a confirmed explanation for their resignations. You can bloviate your explanation all you want until we do, but bloviation is all your theory is.

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      3. “When I criticize a NYT story I take the trouble to explain why.” I disagree. You tend to say a lot of words that have little to do with it and just fall back to the “NYT is unreliable because” of some fringe news site told you something different.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Kim Strassel has been, from the beginning, one of Trump’s prime apologists. Kim believes, and has virtually said as much, that if Trump does it it can’t be illegal. If he says it it must be true.

            And notice I did NOT criticize the WSJ. Just the individual reporter. You, on the other hand,dismiss the NYT out of hand regularly. Regardless of the numerous large words used to back your theory. It’s mostly bullshit. But like all individuals, you are entitled to your own.

            Like

          2. RE: “Kim believes, and has virtually said as much, that if Trump does it it can’t be illegal. If he says it it must be true.”

            You have already said as much, but I think you are unable to prove it.

            Like

          3. I do not have access to the WSJ archives, so it is difficult to prove. However, having seen enough of her pieces referred to in other forums, it is plain to see her apologist tendencies. You, of course, agree with her position, so there is no reason to doubt her integrity on your part.

            Your bubble is in tact. Hope the air is refreshed from time to time. Because it is obvious the thoughts are not.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. RE: “You, of course, agree with her position, so there is no reason to doubt her integrity on your part.”

            The Stassel quote I shared today actually confirms similar reporting from other sources I have mentioned here several times over the last couple of days. That’s why I shared it. The excerpt helps to establish the factual record that is emerging, and which some Trump critics insist on ignoring.

            You might notice that the selection itself contains no “position” or “opinion” statements, just straight reporting.

            Like

  2. And so the spinning begins.

    More lies from lying liars or are they telling the truth this time? That is the problem with being a lying liar. It destroys all credibility.

    The key facts are not in dispute. Trump tweeted his outrage and hours later the DOJ recommended a much lighter sentence overruling the four prosecutors who proved their case to a jury. With, you know, testimony and evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: ” Trump tweeted his outrage and hours later the DOJ recommended a much lighter sentence”

      As a matter of fact, any connection between the two events is very much in dispute.

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      1. @Roberts

        Of course the connection between the two events is in dispute. I understand that which is why I said that we do not know one way or the other but that those who deny it have wasted their credibility on many “alternative facts.”

        Sadly and wrongly, Barr does not need to be told what Trump wants politically and he does not hesitate to do it. He just does not like to have Trump make it look like that is what he is doing.

        https://www.salon.com/2020/02/14/bill-barrs-sudden-rift-with-trump-its-probably-real-and-the-president-must-be-furious/?utm_source=Master+Newsletter+List&utm_campaign=f22c1b77ed-DAILY_W_IMAGES_AND_ADS&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5deda2aaa7-f22c1b77ed-303226269

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: “I understand that which is why I said that we do not know one way or the other but that those who deny it have wasted their credibility”

        That makes no sense. Since you admit we don’t know what the connection is, what exactly do you think other people are denial about?

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        1. @Roberts

          Okay, I will word it differently . . .

          I said that we do not know what is true in this case. And one reason for that is that those people who deny that there is a connection between Trump’s tweet and Barr’s action have very little credibility. They have very little credibility because they have wasted it spreading so many lies.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. RE: “Okay, I will word it differently…”

          Good. Now we can see more clearly from your outline that you are promoting a conspiracy theory.

          Like

          1. @Roberts
            It appears that even though you use it all the time, you have no idea what a “conspiracy theory” might be.
            I am not promoting one. I am discussing the alternative explanations for a sequence of events – Trump tweeting disapproval of the proposed sentence recommendation followed almost immediately by Barr over-riding the prosecutors.

            There are 4 scenarios to explain this sequence of events.

            1. Trump ordered Barr to take action.
            2. Barr saw the tweet and took action.
            3. Barr did not see the tweet but knows Trump wants Stone let off the hook.
            4. It is just a coincidence and no desire to please Trump was involved.

            Scenarios 1 – 3 are all bad. The DOJ should not be administering justice based on politics.
            Scenario 4 is very improbable and yet THAT is the one that Barr and Trump is saying occurred. Their word might be evidence to support #4 but they has ruined their credibility with constant lying.

            Now, if I wanted to make this a conspiracy theory I would say that Scenario #1 occurred because Roger Stone has the missing Russian pee tapes which he found hidden in a Washington DC pizza parlor and threatened to give them to Hunter Biden unless Trump gets him off the hook. But I am not saying that.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “Scenario 4 is very improbable”

            Yes, that’s the conspiracy theory: Scenario 4 most likely didn’t happen because it is more likely one of the three bad scenarios did. There’s no solid basis for the theory, and the known facts contradict it, but hey, the conspiracy theory is reasonable. Just look at the odds!

            Like

          3. @Roberts

            It is even more apparent that you do not know what a “conspiracy theory” is and that you have real difficulty reading and understanding plain English. All I have actually said is that the “evidence” for this being purely coincidental is tainted and it is. Maybe the lying liars are telling the truth for once but I, for one, would never take their (Barr or Trump) word for anything. You enjoy being duped be these creeps so go ahead. Be duped again.

            Liked by 1 person

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