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.