Schumer Calls For Investigation of DOJ Involvement in Stone Sentencing

February 12, 2020 by Dan McCue
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) discusses the Senate impeachment trial at a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate the department’s interference in the sentencing of former Trump insider Roger Stone.

Schumer sent his written request to Inspector General Michael Horowitz after a key prosecutor resigned and another withdrew from the case following the Justice Department’s intervention in their sentencing recommendation.

Federal prosecutors in Washington asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson late Monday to sentence Stone to seven to nine years in prison for trying to sabotage a congressional investigation that threatened Trump.

President Trump himself responded to the recommendation on Twitter, calling it “horrible and very unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice.”

Shortly thereafter, Justice Department officials said they would overrule the prosecutors and recommend a more lenient sentence.

Speaking at the White House Tuesday afternoon Trump said he had no direct conversations with the Justice Department about the matter.

The Justice Department said the decision to shorten the sentencing recommendation was made Monday night — before Trump’s tweet — and also said prosecutors had not spoken to the White House about it.

In his letter to Horowitz, Schumer said the “situation” he’s been reading about in the press “has all the indicia of improper political interference in a criminal prosecution.”

“I therefore request that you immediately investigate this matter to determine how and why the Stone sentencing recommendations were countermanded, which Justice Department officials made this decision, and which White House officials were involved,” he wrote.

It is extremely rare for Justice Department leaders to reverse the decision of its own prosecutors on a sentencing recommendation, particularly after that recommendation has been submitted to the court.

Schumer suggested the move raised questions about political interference and whether Trump’s views hold unusual sway over the Justice Department, which is meant to operate independently of the White House in criminal investigations and prosecutions.

“The American people must have confidence that justice in this country is dispensed impartially,” he wrote.  “That confidence cannot be sustained if the president or his political appointees are permitted to interfere in prosecution and sentencing recommendations in order to protect their friends and associates. I urge you to conduct an expedited review of this urgent matter and issue a public report with your findings and recommendations as soon as possible.”

In The News

Pandemic Doesn't Prevent Musician from Completing 'Project of a Lifetime'
Entertainment
Pandemic Doesn't Prevent Musician from Completing 'Project of a Lifetime'
July 8, 2020
by Dan McCue

For the musician Nick Parker, a dream 17 years in the making was just coming to fruition when the coronavirus outbreak suddenly brought the world's arts and entertainment industries to a screeching halt. The son of the acclaimed artist Robert Andrew Parker, whose work hangs in... Read More

Justices Allow Limited Access to Free Birth Control Under ACA
Supreme Court
Justices Allow Limited Access to Free Birth Control Under ACA
July 8, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Trump administration regulation that lets employers with religious objections limit women’s access to free birth control under the Affordable Care Act. The 7-2 decision could have a profound, immediate effect on as many as 126,000 women who... Read More

COVID-19 Meets the 2020 Election: The Perfect Storm for Misinformation
Social Media
COVID-19 Meets the 2020 Election: The Perfect Storm for Misinformation

SEATTLE — When a mysterious virus began racing around the globe early this year, scientists at the University of Washington’s newly created Center for an Informed Public described it as the perfect storm for bogus information, both innocent and malicious. So what’s the situation six months... Read More

President’s Reelection Message Risks Alienating Voters, Strategists Say
2020 Elections
President’s Reelection Message Risks Alienating Voters, Strategists Say

WASHINGTON — His back up against a wall, President Donald Trump has made a concerted effort in recent weeks to regain a coalition of white voters who can help him win the 2020 presidential election with a message finely calibrated to play on racial anxieties. He... Read More

A Kennedy Emerges as Upset Winner in NJ Congressional District to Face Jeff Van Drew
2020 Elections
A Kennedy Emerges as Upset Winner in NJ Congressional District to Face Jeff Van Drew

A member of the storied Kennedy political family emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee in a South Jersey congressional district late Tuesday, defying expectations that it would take days before results were clear in the state’s primary election while officials count hundreds of thousands of mail... Read More

Social Media Platforms Gird for 78 Days of Disinformation Chaos After Election Day
Social Media
Social Media Platforms Gird for 78 Days of Disinformation Chaos After Election Day

WASHINGTON — The 78 days between Election Day this fall and Inauguration Day next January could be a greatly unsettled time for American democracy. Unlike most presidential elections, when ballots are tallied and counted in a majority of precincts by midnight on Election Day and news... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top