The Right’s Big Lie About Roger Stone

Trump allies are saying Stone didn’t really threaten a witness. They’re wrong.

Comments: 224

  1. What's the stop Judge Jackson from imposing a sentence of 10-15 years? Would serve them all right, and send a powerful message about the independence of the judiciary. She's be doing a great service to justice, and it isn't as if Stone doesn't deserve it for his years of skullduggery.

  2. @Chris Bowling So if the judge gave a generous sentence, would Trump pardon him? I don't know why he doesn't pardon him.

  3. @Anon trump doesn't want to pardon Stone before the election. After the election all bets are off, Win or lose trump will be completely unleashed at that point and IMHO we will all see the true nature of his malevolence .

  4. Judge Jackson is ethically bound not to punish Stone for Trumps actions. That does not mean she has to accept the revised or even original DOJ sentencing guidelines. Note the DOJ recommendations are but guidelines. Judge Jackson is ethically bound to consider all factors she finds relevant when pronouncing the sentence. The jury found Stone guilty so Jackson must in the absence of facts mitigating the jury’s conclusion accept the verdict and within her discretion and the sentencing guidelines decide on the jail time if any.

  5. Goldberg makes an interesting point about Barr’s appearance on ABC. The public record already shows that he tilts the scale toward helping Trump, as he did in the way he put out a biased interpretation of the Mueller report. His statements yesterday could in part be an artful bit of misdirection as he goes about nudging DOJ actions toward the outcomes Trump wants.

  6. @Joel Sanders Who believes Barr would say anything that is not self serving? How many people await sentencing in Federal Courts? Which cases did Barr take an interest in? His interest is limited to cases that involve the enemies or friends of Trump. The AG's policy for all others directs attorneys to seek the maximum the guidelines recommend for those forcing a trial rather than cooperating. Was there a footnote excepting Friends of Trump or excluding those protecting Trump? Barr offers a smokescreen to suggest his office was not complicit in using the Justice Department as a vehicle to punish Trumps' enemies and reward Trump's friends. Stone's lies protected the president. Stone will be pardoned. I hope there are mass resignations when that occurs.

  7. @Joel Sanders Barr's interview only served to make it clear the fix was in for Stone before the tweets and Barr was displeased when Trump let the world know for sure.

  8. @Joel Sanders Agreed--Barr's protestations doth protest to much. They are all about the optics, and plausible deniability for when the Democrats start harping at his toadying to Trump during the campaign

  9. What an amazing editorial. Thank you Ms. Goldberg for laying it out so well.

  10. The DOJ retaliated against me for suing them by refusing to correct their records about me and sending lots of communications saying that I was arrested but not acknowledging that even though I was arrested, I was never prosecuted. The EOUSA component also refused to release 435 pages with my name on them but didn't state any anticipated harm from releasing them as required by the Freedom of Information Improvement Act of 2016. I think DOJ coordinates internal campaigns of retaliation and obstruction using their correspondence management system. They all use the same system, it includes all the communications to and about a person, and it is trivial for every employee to look in the system and find out what other DOJ employees have written and therefore what they are supposed to write. I have a letter from the Office of Professional Responsibility to the Assistant Attorney General that says that they don't process complaints about prosecutorial misconduct because they have more than 1,400 complaints from various people. The Office of Inspector General has a "hotline" for civil rights complaints but OIG never publishes any reports about the complaints which proves the complaints aren't processed. When I complained to OIG, they just sent my complaints unprocessed to the offices that I had complained about. Bottom line, DOJ is a bad agency.

  11. @Kay Sieverding Anyone who has been prosecuted by an AUSA knows this. It doesn't play fair at all. It has all the power and uses it to bully people into settlements. Like the Godfather, prosecutors make you a settlement offer you cannot refuse. If you do refuse, they come down on you like a ton of bricks. Punishment for not accepting their deal. Glad to see these prosecutors didn't get to jack up the sentence after reviewing it with their superiors. Wish everyone had such controls placed on overly zealous prosecutors.

  12. "We haven't kept (our republic). The question now is whether we ever get it back." Exactly! Michelle is asking the right question--and one gets the sense that she doesn't believe that this latest "terrifying new nadir" has hit bottom. Democrats have to begin preparing for the prospect of Trump cancelling the 2020 elections if he thinks he's going to lose (and right now Trump's poll numbers are anything but robust). Since we are fast becoming a banana republic, we must rely on our armed services to come to the rescue in a domestic conflict. Recent critical comments by Kelly and Bolton give us reason to hope. But when Trump makes his move and orders the national guard and the Marines to quell the inevitable uprising, our democracy will finally be finished for good if our servicemen and women choose to obey their commander-in-chief rather than defend the constitution. This is why Kelly's comment about Vindman not obeying an illegal order is so important. And here's a thought that could keep you up at night: what if millions of democracy loving demonstrators are confronted in the streets by Trump's white supremacist base and their AR-15's?

  13. @WDG -- All terrifying scenarios. But there's another way for Trump to steal the election. Electoral College votes must be certified by Congress. Suppose the Democrat wins Florida. Pam Bondi, one of Trump's impeachment lawyers and AG for Florida, declares "massive voter fraud." The Senate refuses to certify Florida's vote. Poof -- 23 Democratic electoral votes vanish. And (in this scenario) Trump, having a slim majority of those left, is "re-elected."

  14. @Gary You're absolutely right. And here's another thought to exacerbate our collective agita. Even if Trump doesn't cancel the election, and even if he loses and doesn't attempt to nullify the result through bogus claims of "voter fraud," he will still be commander-in-chief until January 20, 2021. Over 2 months of mischief are possible! Perhaps the best we can hope for is that Trump will hijack Air Force One, fly to Moscow, and then never come back. That's one way to avoid prison.

  15. @Gary And this is exactly the kind of legally questionable behavior that Trump favors.

  16. Another brilliant piece. Thank you Ms. Goldberg.

  17. The question I ask myself every single day - why is the upcoming election remotely in doubt? With a literal criminal enterprise in the White House? We continue to attempt to apply traditional standards and norms of behavior to them, and we continue to have them thrown in our face. And I include the GOP in "we". Why? What could possibly be the objective here? We are literally witnessing the methodical destruction of a democracy, of a nation. Why are we not marching in the streets? What will it take for us to do so?

  18. The election is in doubt for two reasons: 1) Trump supporters will turn out in droves to vote for his re-election. 2) There is no guarantee that Democrats will turn out to vote for the Presidential candidate if it’s not the person they supported. The message has to be loud and clear: fight for your preferred nominee, but once the nominee is named, close ranks and vote.

  19. @ERT I think it's a bit early to predict Democratic voter turnout. I share your fear of Mr. Trump's re-election, but it's a long time until November, and things are going to change a great deal on both side of the house between now and then.

  20. @ERT You forgot 3) and 4) 3) The US has a broken electoral system which a) gives unpopulated states inordinate voting power, and b) the winnner-take-all methodology allows distraction 3rd-runners to flip an election, and 4)The rise of ubiquitous social media allows outside actors leverage to manipulate voter behavior.

  21. Thank you for this piece Ms. Goldberg. I wish some reporters would talk more abut the fact that Barr's son-in-law works in the White House and his daughter works in Treasury. Barr knows exactly what is going on at all levels and is encouraging the behavior we see.

  22. In other words, “Don’t pay attention to this perfectly legal thing that my side did that looks really shady, BUT pay lots and lots and lots of attention to this perfectly legal thing that looks sort of shady that my opponent’s son did. If that’s not the definition of a double standard, what is?

  23. @Dennis Byron And what should we think about all of Trump’s kids making money by exploring foreign investment possibilities or foreign policy (with no background to do so) for him? Government run by neophytes for the financial benefit of the the few.

  24. @Sue Thompson Why look to reporters? I'd like to see the Democrats enlighten Americans. What the Democrats desperately need is a Press Secretary. Someone charismatic, smart, funny, articulate. Someone like perhaps Stacey Abrams? Every day this Press Secretary will hold a press conference and respond to Trump's abuses and educate Americans, and if she is compelling, she will grab the attention of the media, and thus, the nation.

  25. Has President Trump learned his lesson? Indeed he has. He learned that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican controlled Senate will allow him to do anything he wants.

  26. @Drew . Yes, Trump can now do anything he wants. But so can, "we the people". All of this can blow up big time for the republicans. I, for one, don't want the country run by a corrupt, fascist theocracy.

  27. @Drew To say nothing of the Republican controlled Supreme Court.

  28. @Drew I see you're from Costa you have room down there for a 78 woman and her daughter who are b eginning to feel real fear. After a lifetime of involvement with peace activities, Quaker schools, and mildly "left wing" (viewed by many in this country as the dread "socialist") leanings, we wonder if we should try to leave. This president, endlessly tweeting taunts, seems to be re-making our government in his own image. And lots of people seem to be going along - cheering him on.

  29. Another example of "alternative facts," in this case Trump supporters' deliberately omitting the context and Credico's intent by sticking to the literal words but not conveying the meaning. Of course Stone wouldn't personally carry out any threat. Thank you, Ms. Goldberg, for doing your job well. Now if Stone had said "I'll get you and your little dog, too," the tone would have been more ambiguous...Or if he asked Credico to do him a favor, though, it would of course have been innocuous, as we all know now. Unfortunately, I think we can all expect Stone to be pardoned in the not-too-distant future. "For my friends, everything. For my enemies, the law." And precedents among presidential pardons is full of examples. Mercy is one thing - cronyism another. Hence I think this practice, a holdover from monarchy, should be restricted and checked by a non-partisan ethics panel review.

  30. @Citoyen du monde Every morning the Trump supporters turn on Fox and learn the new lie. Then they trust the lie all day long. They don't believe the lies. They love being in on the lies. They love being in on the corruption and they love helping to destroy the Constitution because it makes the rest of us politically equal to them and their fragile egos can't handle that. Every day the rest of us should learn a new truth and repeat that truth all day.

  31. Sure - the former Democrat Congressional candidate who was the jury foreman certainly made for an impartial jury. Her anti-Trump social media rants assured Stone she’d be objective. That’s how we know of course that Ms Goldberg’s opinion is spot-on correct. I wonder what the odds are that not only was this person ‘called’ for jury duty on this case but was actually made foreman. Just a coincidence I’m sure.

  32. @Keith Colonna I thought that jury members were selected via a questioning process. Didn't Stone's lawyer help select each jury member? Are you saying that jury members should all be selected by which political party they have voted for? What next? Call only Republican doctors be trusted to treat Republican patients?

  33. @Keith Colonna Once again, the bias of allegedly "fair and impartial participants" surfaces. At least with the Obama Administration officials who pursued spying on the Trump campaign, we could expect such impartiality. But from everyone else? The FBI, CIA and now even participants in legal cases?

  34. @Keith Colonna, you either are uninformed or conveniently are playing dumb. First, when a jury is being assembled the court summons a lot of people who then go through extensive questioning to identify biases that may or may not affect the potential jurors’ ability to do their job impartially. In headline-grabbing cases like this one, both sides thoroughly investigate the potential jurors and look for any evidence of bias. When I practiced as a defense trial attorney, we even took photos of the potential jurors’ cars to see what kind of bumper stickers they had as that could help us uncover biases against our client. In this day of social media, I can assure you the potential jurors’ postings are carefully reviewed. Rest assured that Roger Stone lawyers knew exactly what was going on, and put people on the jury they thought were friendlier to Trump and thus “safer” for Stone. Second, the person selected as jury foreperson does not have any power over the rest of the jurors in the panel. He or she simply is tasked with administrative duties and of reporting the jury’s verdict to the court. And because in a criminal trial you need an unanimous jury to convict, the alleged biases of the jury foreperson would be counteracted by another juror’s opposite biases. Here, the jury unanimously found Stone guilty of the seven charges against him. In conclusion, you are way off base, sir.

  35. It doesn't matter what Trump's allies think. It doesn't matter what Credico wants you to think about the threat. It doesn't matter what Trump or Barr or anyone else thinks. What matters is the evidence was presented in court, to a jury of Stone's peers. A jury fully vetted for any relationship with the prosecution or defense. A jury found to be able to be impartial. They were questioned. The prosecution AND the defense could contest any jurors. And that jury convicted Stone on multiple counts. And during the case, it's probably not a good idea to post a picture of the judge with crosshairs over her face. Or to ignore the judge's instructions. That doesn't help your case any. And then to walk around with that smug smile on your face. Not the picture of contriteness. The look of someone who isn't taking the matter seriously. And then you wonder why anyone would want to throw the book at you. I remember the old TV miniseries Lonesome Dove. The best line that fully applies here is "When you ride with the outlaws, you die with the outlaws." I know Trump didn't tell Barr what to do. Any more than any mobster spells out the orders. 'Billy the Barr' always knows what to do. The Don never has to say anything.

  36. @Walking Man Excellent observations. I had forgotten the crosshairs incident.

  37. @Walking Man Michael Cohen testified in Congress that Trump never has to tell you what to do but you always know what he wants.

  38. @Walking Man Actually Trump says stuff in public or in tweets first, then suggests he didn’t say anything to Barr, or the Russians, or China....see the pattern hiding in plain sight?

  39. Our government for the most part used to be a trustworthy organization that ticked away in the background keeping us safe and prosperous. Boy, have things changed. Now we're living under a parasitic administration that employs lies to contradict lies to the point where everyone is starting to think that is a normal way to run a country. Donald Trump uses a methodology of treating lies as facts, and those who admire him or approve of his lawlessness happily go along. Then there are the opinions — often radical, dangerous and discriminatory opinions — that are treated like facts. Look no further than Fox to see this in action on a massive scale. Or on a small scale, Mr. Credico's statements. As you said, "Outrage seems rather too mild a word."

  40. Again, this misses the forest for the trees. Barr, Trump, and Republicans couldn’t care less about Credico’s safety, true, but they are far more interested in keeping Stone happy because then he’ll stay quiet. Stone is where he is because he lied to the Mueller investigators about Trump’s involvement in Russian meddling in the 2016 election. And, as shown by his testimony, and Steve Bannon’s testimony, Stone continues to withhold all he knows to this day. He expects a pardon, which has been slow in coming. And, with a jury verdict and established sentencing guidelines things are starting to cut a little too close. At 63 and looking at 9 years, Stone’s getting nervous, and likely making noises that scare Barr and Trump. Stone’s threats, the Attorney General’s meddling, career prosecutors’ quitting in protest, they all make this a Godfather-like story that the media loves. But the media is being played, Michelle too, if they focus on the narrative flourishes and not what is actually happening. Stone ties Trump to Russia in 2016. That’s the only story that matters.

  41. Yes, if they thought for one minute that Stone would tell the truths he knows he would surely "Pull an Epstein" and "commit suicide". Stone is one of Trumpxs crucial links to Putin;Trump emulates Putin as much as he is able, and poisoning is employed against defectors from the mob.

  42. @M, you are exactly right that this is the story, that Stone can tie Trump directly to Russian election interference. If prosecutors knew what Stone and Manafort know and aren’t telling us, I don’t think even McConnell’s Senate could prevent impeachment and conviction for Trump’s treasonous offenses. People who care about justice need to make this connection clear as well as tie it back to the related findings of obstruction of justice in the Mueller report. It’s a travesty and tragedy that so much of the country mistakenly believes it exonerated Trump and his campaign.

  43. @M Russia-gate has already been proven to be a hoax. Stone should be pardoned because a corrupt FBI put him in a no win situation. Peter Strzok and Lisa Paige will soon be singing. Don't you just love it when the shoe is on the other foot!

  44. Whether Credico felt personally threatened by Stone is completely irrelevant - it's a red herring. The facts are that Stone threatened Credico's life. Stone's threat implies premeditation as well: If you don't do X, I (or someone at my direction) will do Y. No wonder the prosecutors resigned from the case after their original sentencing recommendations were overruled.

  45. @Gramercy Nonsense. Context matters. Only an idiot would take Roger Stone seriously, and when it comes to Trump, there is no shortage of them.

  46. What's the difference if Stone get a long prison sentence or not? Trump undoubtedly will pardon him. At least in public, Stone has never looked worried. He already knows the fix is in.

  47. @Scott Kurant I believe that if someone receives a presidential pardon he can be called later in a trial against the president (once he leaves office). The person pardoned cannot claim the 5th under those circumstances and then may become a threat to the president as he would be compelled to testify.

  48. @Scott Kurant Trump interfered in the Mannafort trial, and he hasn't pardonner him yet. He will not do anything to help someone if he thinks it will hurt him politically. I disagree with you about whether Stone has ever looked worried. I am not a lawyer, but a pardon is an official act, as opposed to a tweet or pontificating on the Whitehouse lawn, and might be used against him if he were charged with a crime such as racketeering. I don't think he ever will be charged with anything. Democratic AG's are more bothered about appearances.

  49. @Scott Kurant; trump cannot pardon everyone of his minions for every crime against democracy and still have time to stuff his pockets with golfing trips to his resorts. Better to just drown the Justice Dept. in the bathtub and be done with it.

  50. I suspect Judge Jackson is wise enough to see through the Credico letter. Beyond the risk of violence, with this cast of characters, direct or indirect financial compensation to Credico to write the letter is a significant consideration. For a long list of reasons, AG Barr's comments about not being pressured by the president to pursue specific, personal investigations is not believable. Consider the Huber and Durham investigations that he initiated, accepting information from Giuliani's Ukraine adventure, the conflict of interest with a family member working in the White House, the failure to follow through on the whistle-blower complaint (he knows his responsibility was to turn it over to Congress regardless of whether he concluded no criminal activity occurred), and the misrepresentation of the Mueller report. He provided the legal justification for the pardons of many convicted in the Iran Contra affair in his prior stint as AG completing the cover-up of the activity of Bush. I have no doubt he is at it again. The big question- is he going to try to provide the justification for Trump to pardon himself for all his crimes prior to leaving office?

  51. @mjs79 "I suspect Judge Jackson is wise enough to see through the Credico letter" I don't know. It always turns out to be "so complicated" when the defendant is rich and/or connected to big corporations or in politics. Then there past ephemeral "good deeds" always seems to weigh more the their solid record of sordid behaviour confirmed by a jury.

  52. People simply do learn to love democracy. Our education system is all about civics and how our government works not about how each individual student finds his our her own way to participate in a democratic republic we all should share. Stone and his support from a rogue president is proof of the absence of that learning at the very pinnacle of our government, but it starts at the bottom with all of us learning to be citizens of a republic formed in the fabric of a democracy.

  53. “After his tweet, Barr overruled career prosecutors to have the D.O.J. ask the court for a lighter sentence. (Barr claims his decision preceded Trump’s tweet, which might mean he was anticipating Trump’s wishes rather than responding to them.)” Who believes Barr was acting on his own and not doing Trump’s bidding? Not I.

  54. @James Possibly a few Fox viewers out there who believe what they are spoon fed. That's it.

  55. The President has the power to pardon someone convicted in a federal court. Right? Further, a common law rule has been that if you have the power to do something, you also have the power to do less of it. So if he has the right to issue a pardon to Stone, then why the fuss about the President complaining that the proposed sentence is too severe? Look, to start with an Elizabeth Warren expression, isn't the controversy one of form rather than substance?

  56. @greg starr Perhaps it’s to subtly suggest that Trump will pardon Stone because the sentence was unfair.

  57. @greg starr In either case it’s not about whether or not he has the authority (it’s not a “right”) to do so, but whether it is productive, fair, equitable, correct, wise, ethical or honorable to do it. He cares not for any of those measures. His use of presidential powers is rapidly approaching the proverbial toddler with a loaded gun.

  58. @greg starr That’s a point. But the pardon power is not supposed to be used for corrupt purposes. Which to say: It’s not meant to shield the President’s friends from the law. Your logic applies here too. Lesser interventions are wrong in the same way (logically speaking—I don’t know about legally). Moreover, pardons are a final step that takes place after impartial justice has played itself out. That process cannot be impartial if the President protects his friends all along the way.

  59. The Stone Case raises new issues of the subversion and corruption of the institutions of justice. Here trimp calls for leniency for a crony. In other cases, trimp calls for prosecution of critics and rivals.. Also the Stone Case reminds us of how much validity there was in concerns about collusion with Russia in the previous presidential campaign. Finally, the Stone Case reminds us of the dangerous character of trimp and his associates.

  60. Career officials from DOJ, DOS, EPA, and a whole host of agencies realize that Trump and his appointees are destroying the mission, norms, processes, and personnel of their organizations. These officials have as yet done little to defend the integrity of their organizations and of themselves.

  61. @Edward B We can include the Department of the Treasury, also. In addition to being complicit in the withholding of aid from Ukraine, Treasury is holding back on documentation of Secret Service expenses. This information is being sought in a Federal Court in NY investigating reports that Trump properties have charged the Government up to $650 - $700 per night for Secret Service personnel protecting The President and his family at Mar a Lago, and paying $17,000 per month for a 3 bedroom cottage for the Secret Service near the President's Bedminster property. Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Request document these charges, according to the Washington Post. Eric Trump is on record claiming that they only charge the Government the cost of housekeeping, etc. The only "housekeeping" going on is another Federal Government Agency going in the tank for the criminal President.

  62. Barr is very careful about his words, saying one thing but implying another. He says he has never interfered in a criminal case, meaning he has interfered in other types of cases. We know he is going after Comey and catering to the Giuliani debacle, but there are probably plenty of others that we don't know about. He says Trump's tweets are making it impossible to do his job, but the job he is trying to do is maintaining plausible deniability while doing Trump's bidding. He is a lawyer and knows very well how to create a false narrative without actually lying. This is a very dangerous man.

  63. @Ann Voter Add to that Barr’s carefully chosen words about making his decision before Trump’s “tweet” (I wish a direct quote was provided in the article) — so, was tweeting the only way Trump and Barr communicated before Barr’s decision to interfere into Stone’s sentencing recommendation? No phone calls between Trump and Barr? No meeting(s)? No Trump aide relaying the message to Barr?

  64. @Ann Voter Yes, and Barr has a habit of prefacing lies with, "In my view."

  65. @Ann Voter "He is a lawyer and knows very well how to create a false narrative without actually lying." You've described the Clintons. Thank God we only had one of them in the White House. As for all your slandering of Barr, you know what he's thinking how?

  66. Forceful and frightening column. And thank you for coming out and saying what should be painfully obvious about Barr’s claim that Trump is interfering with the AG’s independence— Barr and Trump orchestrated both the attack on the rule of law and the PR designed to hide their conspiracy to do so.

  67. @SA totally agree, who is supposed to believe that there is no coordination between them and also who is supposed to believe that the guy that cannot keep his mouth shot for his life is all of a sudden quiet about a direct attack from one of his cronies, I do not believe one word they say.

  68. “There is now one set of laws in this country for people who serve Trump, and another for everyone else.” There are actually three sets of laws in this country now: One for people who serve Trump. One for people who Trump sees as his enemies who must pay for their disloyalty and betrayal. One for everyone else.

  69. The jury found him guilty on seven counts. The prosecutors made a recommendation. The judge will determine the sentence. Everything else is a circus. Can you believe the characters that fill the news these days since trump was elected? You couldn’t make them up. Maybe I should start writing The Rise and Fall of the American Era. It will be a best seller in Russia where Putin will still be in charge a decade from now.

  70. @Steve Ell Check out Chalmers Johnson's wonderful trilogy: BLOWBACK, SORROWS OF EMPIRE, and NEMESIS. It's a great look at the Rise and Fall of the United States that doesn't even touch the Trump virus that will only speed up the process.

  71. Barr's and Trump's behaviour together make it impossible to trust the DOJ now. Even if, in this instance, Barr is acting out of legitimate concerns, there is no way to know or trust that he is. The well has been poisoned. In fact, thanks to the hyper partisan actions of the Republicans—starting even before Trump came to power—the entire US government is facing a crisis of legitimacy. Can anyone trust the Republicans in any branch of the federal government—House, Senate, Presidency, Administration, and Courts—to act with integrity and principal and not pure partisan or even personally corrupt motive?

  72. There is hardly anything truthful or sincere that comes out from anyone actively supporting or in this administration unless it involves further erosion of the country.

  73. @Will Goubert yes, they’re working overtime to Make America Worse.

  74. The trauma of prison and having had one's own father harmed irreparably by it is one that is unlikely to pass. Mr. Credico knows he's not to blame for his father's incarceration any more than for Mr. Stone's. Instead of writing the judge, he ought to have discussed his feelings with his clergy or therapist. If he had not stood up to Stone, how many more people would Stone have threatened or harmed? Mr. Credico needs to see his own courage as a constructive force for the greater good instead of giving undue voice to guilt on matters that are beyond his conscience.

  75. Barr said Trump's tweets made it hard to do his job. What he didn't say was that his job was to protect Trump from the law.

  76. And what he didn’t say is that he would quit. Which would make the whole democracy loving world happy.

  77. @Angstrom Unit. EXACTLY.

  78. After reading this, I am convinced that our political and cultural polarization will soon enter an inevitable and irreversible state of balkanization. Our brakes are worn out and we are running off the road into the ditch.

  79. Oh, I suspect more than just this witness has been threatened. Examine Trump’s deep ties to organized crime, thanks to his affiliation with Roy Cohn, and you can easily surmise that the personal safety of Republican senators, other top government officials, and even their families, has been threatened if they don’t fall into line. This could explain the odd behaviors of some GOP members of Congress, especially those who once criticized Trump and are now suddenly among his most ardent supporters. If you think this is far-fetched, transport yourself back to 2014 and imagine how you would have reacted if someone described to you the America of 2020.

  80. @LIChef I wish your comment had been selected as a NYT Pick, so it would have had greater readership. I have been saying for years what you claim about Trump: "Examine Trump's deep ties to organized crime . . . and you can easily surmise that the personal safety of Republican senators, other top government officials, and their families, has been threatened if they don't fall into line." Except for Mitt Romney's lone act of bravery, the craven cowardice of the Republican senators seems inexplicable, until one figures in threats and/or blackmail. Add to this the very real possibility that a certain former KGB chief is behind all the close-knit toeing of the line by Republican officials. Some things about Trump's presidency we may never learn. Or we may discover the truth fifty years from now. But the sleaze is already apparent.

  81. @LIChef You don't even need to go back that far. Michael Cohen testified about fearing for his and his family's lives after testifying in the Muellar Investigation hearings (he testified "you don't know what this guy is capable of"). Others who have testified against Trump of his allies (e.g. Ms. Blasey-Ford in the Kavanaugh hearings) have reported receiving death threats. These may be from right wing supporters, rather than the Administration itself, but Trump knows that he can unleash the rage of his base with one tweet. It is not hard to see that this Administration operates like a crime family. It is not far-fetched at all.

  82. So this is where we are. The machinery of the US Department of Justice, often viewed as the gold standard of government justice in the modern world, is wrestling with the threats of a d-list political operative on a d-list comedian over the peccadillos of a b-list reality tv host. The only remaining puzzle is if Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton are synchronized-grave-spinning or if it’s more tortured than that.

  83. If they weren’t dead they’d probably be amazed that their scheme of liberty to enslave had become enshrined as an immutable divine revelation.

  84. @JP I borrowed your comment...It was far too good not to share...You have this right on too. I live in an ignorant Red state that believes this crime mob can do anything and it sickens me to the core knowing that we are all heading off of a cliff into an abyss

  85. If you compare the recommendation of these partisan AAGs with those made in other similar casss, it’s clear they were trying to salvage something from the failed Mueller investigation. They wanted Roger Stone as justification that their persecution was not in vain. Say what you want about Trump, but the sentence recommendation was extreme. And now we will see whether the conviction itself was tainted by the juror foreperson—a process crime for the other side perhaps?

  86. @ehillesum The AAG's were not partisan. The Mueller investigation was not failed. The recommendation was not extreme. The foreperson of the jury was vetted and accepted by both sides. Roger Stone belongs in jail.

  87. @ehillesum How do you know the AAGs are "partisan?" Just because they gave the longer sentence recommendation? Seems to me you make leaps and bounds to agree with Trump and Barr.

  88. @ehillesum Classic right wing, post-truth era strategy: dismiss allegations against right wing criminals, and attack those holding them accountable. Call a "prosecution" a "persecution." The guy was found guilty, after just a few hours of deliberation, of at least 7 felonies. He threatened a witness, and threatened the Judge. DOJ has a process for disagreements about sentencing recommendations, and the Judge utlimately makes the decision. The President publicly disparaging the Jury Forewoman, who now must also worry about being "Jack Ruby'd" by a red hatted MAGA lunatic, is totally unacceptable and indefensible.

  89. This entire episode suggest three things, all of which show Trump's corruption and interference with the judicial process. What seems to be left out of all the discussions of the Stone situation is how is Trump so aware of the details of Stone's prosecution such that he can tweet such details? The obvious possibilities include: 1. Stone's counsel are in direct contact with Trump to provide information and seek protection of their client because they know that Trump will intervene/interfere to protect Stone; 2. Barr's DOJ is providing regular updates to Trump on this particular case because Trump wants to intervene/interfere protect Stone; 3. Trump's own staff are monitoring every aspect of the Stone case in order to intervene/interfere to protect an ally of Trump despite his conviction for seven felony crimes. Everything about this situation points, yet again, to the ongoing organized-crime style corruption of President Trump. Hopefully, the Court will ignore the surrounding Trump-created circus and sentence Stone appropriately.

  90. Stone has been a gaslighter for Trump. He’s a prankster.

  91. Ben Franklin was imprecise. The US Constitution structurally provides for state discretion to maintain an enslaved economic sector.

  92. When I read about the "horrible and very unfair" seven-to-nine year sentencing recommendation for Stone, I think of Rosa Maria Ortega, who was sentenced in 2017 to eight years in prison for voting with a green card in Texas. Ortega, a mother of four with a seventh-grade education, didn't realize that you needed to be a citizen to vote. She stands to be deported upon her release from prison.

  93. Bigot dictators with their own personal AG and justice department don’t care about people like Rosa Maria Ortega.

  94. Thank you for explaining all of this. I’ve been wondering how anyone can argue or believe that Stone’s threat was a joke and was perceived that way all along. Republicans used to make claims to moral superiority. Now they broadcast their moral bankruptcy.

  95. Ms. Goldberg says "I’ve known Credico since 2002, although not terribly well." Does that really matter? A lot of people knew Epstein.Did they all know what he was doing. The prosecutors in this case wants to send Stone to prison for nine years. People who kill someone while driving intoxicated, get less time in many states. Armed robbery with a gun can be half of what they want to sentence Stone. Trump didn't say he should be freed. He thought the sentence was unfair. Credico is a "left-wing comedian and activist. according to Ms Goldberg. They are going to send Stone away for nine years on his claim that Stone was going to kidnap his "beloved dog" or told him, “Prepare to die,” There is a lot of variation there. Trump thinks the sentence is to harsh. Goldberg wants to buy into Credico's story. Based on her history, she may be supporting the longer sentence on her bias against Trump and not what Credico said Stone did.

  96. @Ron - "They are going to send Stone away for nine years on [Credico's] claim that Stone was going to kidnap his "beloved dog" or told him, “Prepare to die,” " Stone was found guilty on all counts. All of them. He's a proudly self-declared crook, and his threats make him a henchman. He deserves the sentence he got.

  97. @Ron It may not matter whether Michelle knew him, but as a journalist she is obligated to tell her readers this to avoid concealing possible bias.

  98. @Ron lying to Congress, another charge Stone is convicted of, matters more than a threat of violence to Credico or his dog. Don’t take it out of context - it isn’t a simple threat, like “ if you don’t move your car I’lll. . .” it’s a matter of protecting a president-as-candidate from revelations about his abuse of laws surrounding the elections of the US, mainstay of our democracy. That’s what Stone has tried to bring down. Yeah, 9 years. For traitorous behavior.

  99. In the end, it may be the generals who save us - a third world remedy for a once proud democracy become third world country.

  100. When Trump pardons Stone, which he surely will unless the judge gives him a suspended sentence, the entire DOJ should stage a walkout in protest to show exactly which side of justice they support.

  101. There is speculation that Barr is trying to assert independence from Trump. Barr does not deserve even the shadow of a doubt. His acts have been servile and other than complaining about tweets he continues to do pretty much what Trump wants. The outcry over Roger Stone has put him on the defensive and the tweets undermine any possible justification for intervening in the case. His pushback is about Trump tactics, not about what Trump wants.

  102. Trump could pardon Roger Stone whenever he feels like it. Instead he’d rather cause this havoc so that in the end he will pardon Stone and tell his supporters how unfair the sentencing and trial was against Roger. This is Trump’s MO cause chaos and then he he will fix it. Some examples are the Iran Deal, North Korea and healthcare that Trump fixed. Really?? We can all see through his shenanigans and most of us are sick of his abhorrent behavior. He’s talking to his base who loves this crazy show. Most of us want to turn the channel literally and figuratively. In the end Stone, Manafort and Flynn will be pardoned and Trump could have saved us all from this “craziness”. However, Trump thrives and enjoys this whacky show and so does his supporters. Folks, this is not normal.

  103. @Charna - I remember seeing Credico interviewed on MSNBC at the beginning of Mueller's investigation. The host stated he'd had a difficult time getting Credico to agree to the interview. The reason being that he feared reprisal from Stone and others close to trump. During the interview, he was very nervous - his fear was real and obvious. You use the word 'crazy' in your comment. It's appropriate, but if you've ever had an encounter with a rabidly dedicated trump supporter, that same word applies. Mr. Credico is right to be concerned for his safety.

  104. @Charna I may be wrong about this but I don't think Trump can pardon these men because their cases involve him. It could also open another impeachment cycle if he does get a second term. Or worse for him, it won't make him or his legacy look very good. I don't think he even cares that much about them. He uses them to cry "UNFAIR" frequently. He loves that word. As you clearly see, "Trump thrives and enjoys this whacky show and so does his supporters.". Stone likely has dirt in Trump though. The self-described dirty trickster is just the kind of person to collect dirt on powerful people. They both play dirty.

  105. @Charna The pardons won't come until AFTER the election, however it comes out.

  106. Bob Barr has zero credibility. None. This little staged outburst out of the thin air is just more Republican gaslighting, with a little admixture of posturing for the benefit of the increasingly angry career professionals in the Justice Department. The thing is, those professionals are about the last audience to buy this kind of transparent manipulation, so the eventual effect of this is going to make Barr even less credible to his staff, if that were even possible.

  107. I would argue that the unprecedented intervention of the President in the Roger Stone case could have some unintended positive side effects: Trump is probably driven by his authoritarian instincts but those are only exposing fundamental flaws in the justice system that are usually not as visible: there are indeed two sets of “laws” - one for the rich and white population and one for the rest. Mr.Trump himself revealed way before his presidency that he is using his financial reserves to force opponents with valid claims into giving up or settlements by continuing to sue them with bogus accusations until they are running out of money for their defense. The often cited example for that is the piano dealer who supplied Trump’s Atlantic City casinos with grand pianos for which Mr.Trump never paid as agreed. The case ended up in court until the piano dealer couldn’t afford a lawyer anymore. The astonishing part of the Roger Stone story is that everything he got convicted for is 100% related to his arrogance and disrespect for the power of congress and the law - likely believing that he belongs to the class of the powerful and “untouchables” and could get away with everything - just like Mr.Trump himself. Turns out that was some illusion and even the Trump intervention and a possible pardon will not change the fact that Mr.Stone is a convicted criminal now.

  108. @Thorsten Fleiter I hope that if Democrats take over Congress and the White House one of their primary actions will be to change and fix the courts. It takes too long for a case to be heard, and it is too expensive for ordinary people. There needs to be a revamp of the system to a) protect the rule of law, and b) to make it more accessible to most people. I think there need to be more judges, especially on the Supreme Court, which prioritizes Republican cases.

  109. @Thorsten Fleiter "The case ended up in court until the piano dealer couldn’t afford a lawyer anymore." This is also known amongs experienced litigators as "million-dollar poker." Raise the stakes until your opponent can't afford to stay in the game. I also heard one pundit report that Trump had a record of more out-of-court settlements than anyone else in NY. He has weaponized the courts with the adroit skills of a mob boss.

  110. @David Ohman Read the book "Plaintiff In Chief" to understand how he uses the law as a weapon.

  111. Terrorism whether committed by religious fundamentalists, ideological zealots, or in this case by gangsters in the White House use numerous tacit and over threats to force capitulation. Terrorism by any other name would still install the same fears. The Trump White House, the entire GOP (including Romney and his coy 2024 bid for POTUS), and the Justice Department have been tacitly and overtly implementing terror to everyone not wearing a MAGA hat. When laws are followed haphazardly, laws are meaningless. Our Constitution is no longer worth the paper it's printed upon.

  112. Kurt Vonnegut must be smiling in his heaven on Titan. The absurdity of the Trump presidency and the rapid decline of America in the final days of the planet goes way beyond what even the master himself could imagine in his smoke-filled study.

  113. “(Barr claims his decision preceded Trump’s tweet, which might mean he was anticipating Trump’s wishes rather than responding to them.)” No doubt Trump paced the White House fuming about “the injustice” to his criminal friend prior to Tweeting about it, thus Barr, and the entire team of toadies, knew about his desires.

  114. Credico said he wasn't intimidated by Stone "himself" but Stone is the one who will be doing time in prison for witness intimidation along with other charges. I'm a Democrat (no fan of Trump or Stone) trying to keep an open mind while tribes on both the right and left pursue head counts and I think giving a non-violent first offender 7-9 years is out of line.

  115. I do not know how all the republican senators can stand by and say nothing, can sleep at night after acquitting this monster of an excuse of a man that is the president. I thought the presidency was supposed to set the example for all in the country and was supposed to be held to higher standards and supposed to uphold the law. now, how are people of this country supposed to or be expected to obey the laws if the person that represents the law is lawless himself. William Barr is a disgrace. I hope we all show up to the polls to use our vote, our only weapon, to speak up loud and clear that we do not agree with any of this and we must work to get all of these excuses of lawmakers in the senate out of there. if they are not willing to be the firewall that they were supposed to be then they have to be voted out.

  116. Barr asked Trump to stop interfering in his interference.

  117. Mr. Barr continues to hide his majesty's tax returns, and the grand jury transcripts of the Mueller 'witch hunt'. Both items, that we know of, will keep Mr. Barr in place as his majesty's lap dog. His interview with ABC lacked sufficient panting between sentences which would have made his position clear. His majesty just may decide to pardon Mr. Stone before next week's sentencing to demonstrate power of his majesty over another branch of government. We are not heading to an election in November, allow me to suggest a coronation.

  118. Pres Trump threatens people publicly, either indirectly or directly, regularly. Then, he denies ever doing anything wrong. These two characteristics alone are unbecoming and unacceptable for someone who is president of the U.S.A. And, Roger Stone is no better. Vote Blue this November!

  119. I've been around a while but never imagined I'd be referring to the United States as a banana republic. More concerning is the uneasy feeling that it is going to get worse. Are you lurching toward Dante's Inferno?

  120. Stone was convicted for mere talk. He is a first-time, non-violent offender, if he is guilty of anything. If he was a routine criminal who knocked down an old man and ran off with a wallet, he'd get probation and be sent off to reform seminars. This is a political case, don't kid yourself.

  121. Just try to imagine being targeted by the President of the United States of America for being on a jury that finds a personal friend of the President guilty of multiple federal felonies. Think about the potential threats against your life, because we know that is/will happen. This is the country we live in now. This is who the Republican Party fully supports and defends - a President willfully knows his tweets and comments will endanger the life of any person who offends him. That is the country we now live in...

  122. The one problem with the article is that it mentions a “nadir” in Trump’s behavior, which implies a bottoming. We’ve all seen enough to know that Donnie knows no limits when it comes to keeping the ratings up on his reality freak show.

  123. They, and Trump, are also saying his conviction is corrupted because the forewoman had severe political bias. Well, good thing Republicans in the US Senate don't have extreme partisan bias and have never expressed political opinions on social media, because otherwise, Trump and their base might think Trump's impeachment acquittal is tainted!

  124. Trump and followers need to be voted out of government. We do not want our great grand children to wonder why we stood by while Trump trashed our Republic. Never again a Republican.

  125. All those tweets make it difficult for Barr to do Trump's bidding without all that pesky scrutiny.

  126. Stone didn’t tell Credico he was going to die, he wrote it. The test to determine what is a threat, in my part of the world, is objective. What a reasonable person in similar circumstances would think. Not what the author is thinking. « You are going to die » is objectively a threat. Of course, if Stone had written a few hours later, after he had calmed down, that he was sorry, maybe we could give him a break. But that’s not what he did.

  127. It is becoming increasingly doubtful whether your country can avoid becoming a full-blown dictatorship.

  128. For the US president to launch a Twitter attack against a jury member, in this case the forewoman, and accuse her of bias after an unfavorable verdict for one of his cronies should be grounds for impeachment all by itself. Donald Trump has brought every one of this country’s institutions into disrepute. This cannot be allowed to continue!

  129. Crime syndicates everywhere should feel good that jury tampering, witness intimidation and threatening federal judges is no longer a crime if you're friends of the Don.

  130. Roger Stone is a crook, a common criminal. The original DoJ sentencing guildeline was probably too severe, but 2-3 years of prison time sounds about right. The president shouldn't be intervening in his case, he's not that special. Let the justice system do its work.

  131. Credico wrote a letter to the judge asking for leniency and—as his rationale tells the judge he did not think Stone “himself” posed a danger to him or his dog, and Ms Goldberg concludes that the word himself justifies sending an almost 70 year old first offender with no history of violence to prison for 9 years? And this after citing the terrible damage Credico’s safecracking father sustained when he was sent to prison for about that same amount of time? Her view can only be explained by how much she despises Trump—collateral damage to others is fine so long as it hurts Trump.

  132. On November 4th, Trump will mass pardon all but Michael Cohen. As for Barr's complaint about Trump's tweets, it's a co-ordinated misdirection plan. Barr is Trump's stay out of jail insurance. He's as corrupt as Donnie.

  133. Sorry Mr. Franklin, the "Republic if you can keep it" you described is not the same Republic that exists in the United States today. Your Republic 1.0 sorta resembles the Republic of 4.5 present today in form but not function. The newest version still contains the "We the People" wording, but now represents two small subsets of "We the People" which are the above the law wealthy elites and the minority religious "Christains". The majority of the People worked, fought, and died to keep it, but the few took it as they are the ones who really matter and the Lord is on their side. Mr. Franklin, you and Washington and the framers supported by the majority of the People gave us a unique and special gift, we worked to keep it and improve it, but now we may have lost it.

  134. It seems to me that when you have to judge this issue the question is not whether Credico “felt threatened,” but whether Stone’s words implied or outright were threatening. If a six foot tall football player type person tries to snuggle up to a woman at a bar and says, “Let’s get out of this joint,” most women do not assume the “invitation” is for Tiddly Winks. But they also try to avoid “a scene.” Is there an implied threat? is there unwanted attention? You better believe it.

  135. Unfortunately for our country and the rule of law, the Justice Department has been totally corrupted by Trump and his tame AG. I expect Stone and Flynn to walk free, either pardoned, on "probation" or both. I expect Manafort to be pardoned. The only poor sap left sitting in prison will be former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, convicted of fraud and perjury, who testified against Unindicted Coconspirator No. 1 to get his sentence reduced and is now suffering the revenge of his vindictive client.

  136. I do expect the judge to lay down a fair sentence of five years. I do expect Trump to go on a spree of amnesty pardoning every turkey he knows out of prison right after the election in November. Sit tight Manafort, Gates, Stone, Flynn, et al. His base loves the way he plays the game without ethics.

  137. In an odd way you have to commend Mr. Stone. He's crafted a public image, with his ridiculous top hat and Nixon tattoo, as someone who doesn't need to be taken seriously. It's become far too easy to dismiss his efforts to undermine your democracy, but he's been doing it for almost 50 years now. This "self described dirty-trickster" has been working outside the law to do the dirty work of corrupt politicians and using his connections to ensure both he and his clients never face any consequences for decades. And because he's able to flaunt his ability to ignore the law, he emboldens other corrupt individuals to break the law without fear of repercussions. Now that he's been convicted, by a jury of his peer's, of obstruction of justice and lying to congress there is an attempt to diminish the significance of these crimes. As if there is a higher crime than attempting to undermine the core tenets of your republic. But it's all ok because of that silly top hat and absurd public statements... even if you don't like him you have to see the brilliance of that.

  138. The corruption of the system of justice endangers all Americans. Mr. Barr is less a public servant than his predecessor Jeff Sessions. One caved to White House pressure, the other didn't. This is a textbook example of how to completely undermine respect for law. It's more Don Corleone than James Madison. I abhor excessive prison sentences and wish no cruelty to Roger Stone. The culprits are Messrs. Trump and Barr. A question for Senator Collins: What lessons did the president learn from his acquittal?

  139. Remember that Barr cured GOP crimes under Bush 41 and the Republic survived, so I would not go too far and act as if the Republic has been healthy. We have had a criminal element in the GOP for a long time that simply wants to support the rich oligarchs, no matter what. What is comical is that the GOP counters this true narrative with the falsities that the Dems are corrupt, and a third of the population believes the GOP mouthpiece, FOX. Perhaps that is how the Republic survives, though. There is a third of the population that simply does not understand what is going on, there is a third that believes the GOP narrative, and a third that believes the truth. Is that the so-called balance of power the Founders had in mind? I doubt it.

  140. Eventually, crime heads run out the streak and the FBI puts them in jail. But Trump owns the FBI's boss and with the courts in his pocket, has called the bluff on Congress's unenforceable subpeonas. The GOP, fueled by billionaire cash, unleashed Trump the 'Berserker' on the Presidency and discovered too late that he is uncontrollable. Surrounded by the high priced legal teams of his religious fanatic and right wing ideologue pals, Trump is gutting democracy to make room for an authoritarian regime that he intends to rule, as long as he can keep it.

  141. Barr and Trump have no credibiliy at all. These two are as dangerous as two sociopaths who feed on each other and reek vengeance on the rest of society. Coming in from the garden, I listened to Barr's exoneration of Trump and had a minor stroke that caused a paralyzed arm and compromised speech during his warped analysis of the Muellar Report. Stress caused by this Administration and the Republicans has been a boon to big pharma and the psychiatric field for depression and more serious disorders for people who can't wrap their minds around the overt corruption and lies. I fully understand Mr. Credico's fear and why he wrote the letter. As for Stone, his history of deception, manipulation, arrogance the 7 to 9 years is a slap on the wrist compared to the damage he has done to the electoral process for decades.

  142. I am very concerned going forward. Why Republicans would want to continue with Trump is something I cannot understand. Is it just about the money? Special Interests and back door deals? Am I being naive? Trump is even trying to hide how corrupt he is. And no one can (apparently) stop him.

  143. It's almost pointless to say anything, because, to anyone with a brain and a heart, the contradiction is so obvious. "Law and order" for you, a free ticket out of jail for me and my confederates. If this isn't stopped in November, I don't think we can survive as a democracy.

  144. Barr speaks out of both sides of his mouth. It's not that he does the President's bidding (he does) it's that Trump orders him around publicly. If Trump would just take him aside privately things then Barr could just take care of it quietly. But no, Trump has to Tweet so everyone can hear his grievances and know who's boss. I would like to add that this may be the first interview from a member of this regime on a network other than Fox News. Coincidence? Meanwhile back on Fox Agit-prop Network, the talking heads are trashing Trump's "enemies," as usual.

  145. Anyone who is waiting for the President to commit a crime is missing the point. He has "people" for that kind of work. If he wanted to kill his wife or girlfriend, he would get someone in the government to do it for him. He wouldn't do it himself. That is why the people around him are going to jail and he is not; why others around him are under investigation. And why we can't keep up with all the crimes in his administration. If the standard for impeachment is that the President has to personally commit a crime, then we are not understanding the perks of the Presidency. Fears of MAGA hat heads carrying out the President's threats to individuals in and outside the government are real threats.

  146. Roger Stone is a sensationalist. His rhetoric has always been over the top. Everyone knows this. You can always count on Trump's critics becoming intentionally obtuse when it comes to such language. Suddenly, they take everything deadly serious. And complain wildly, which seems to be their real motive.

  147. @AACNY "I was only joking Mommie" is a 7-year-old's last defense... before the slap. And Goppers deserve one giant, adult slap.

  148. @AACNY And, by the same token, you can always count on Trump apologists, to excuse, deny, distort, or otherwise defend the indefensible, which is exactly what you are doing here.

  149. The current state of justice in America: A Central American fleeing for his or her life must be treated a a ruthless criminal. A war criminal is pardoned because the President decides he has been treated "unfairly". Ditto, a cruel monster like Sheriff Arpaio. Paul Manafort, with all of his lies and under-reported millions. is just a guy with tax problems, singled out "unfairly" . A chronic lawbreaker like Roger Stone is being treated "unfairly" and deserves a pardon. A president who ignores congressional subpoenas is "troubling", but his actions don't rise to impeachable levels. I can't make any sense of it; ultimately, all I can do to fight it is to cast one vote come November. It all makes me feel so ashamed.

  150. I see it as fitting that we are talking about a trickster and a comedian in the sordid matter of this presidency. From the very beginning, the entire movement has had the gravitas of an adolescent boy's idea of being funny. Trump thinks of himself as playful and becomes angry when others don't appreciate that. Bill Barr thinks he's clever in a 2nd year law student or psychology major sort of way. The cabinet members are spray painting the walls of the institutions they are charged with preserving, and the likes of Steven Miller are torturing tiny creatures and pulling the wings of off flies to show the cool guys that he's one of them.

  151. Fascism: a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power and forcible suppression of opposition.

  152. Great column! I’ve long been upset with the giant New York Times’ headline of Barr’s summary of the Mueller report, as if it had a strong relationship with what the report stated, thus ending any concern for Trump’s actions with Russia.

  153. Credico doesn't get to decide anything. He was a target of threat. How he reacts to it is irrelevant.

  154. On a related note if Barr really means what he says re Trump interring (which he doesn't imo), he should start prosecuting Trump for 10 counts of obstruction of justice from the Mueller Report.

  155. Trump, with the enthusiastic backing of Republicans in Congress, has replaced the rule of law in America with rule by intimidation, harassment, vindictiveness. Just as Stone "himself" would not carryout a hit, it is not necessarily forTrump himself to order a hit. Trump's base is dangerous which has been enough to endanger the lives of those who find themselves the subject of Trump's tweets of displeasure. We have a "president" who intimidates and demeans whistleblowers, federal agents, federal agencies, judges, jurors, prosecutors, congressmen. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are whistling Dixie.

  156. Can anyone confirm that Credico was not threatened by a member of the Trump mob to write the letter in support of Stone. Perhaps, Rudy or Junior recently threatened Credico? Hey, if the president can get away with intimidating the Ukraine president intimidating Credio would be a cakewalk. AG Barr got plenty experience blocking investigations into crimes in the WH during the 1980s and early 90s; therefore, why not put that experience to good use in the service of Trump and the Republican party? As you pointed out Ms. Goldberg, in the Trump administration “For my friends, everything. For my enemies, the law.” Just ask Andy McCabe, and members of the intelligence community who are being investigated by Barr, at the behest of Trump. At 71 my guess is I will live long enough to witness the US become the newest faux democracy. A nation run by criminals and plutocrats, say, like Poland, Turkey, and Trump's beloved Russia.

  157. Michelle, nicely done, but you need not attribute the phrase: "Everything for my friends; for my enemies, the law" to a former Peruvian president. All Latin Americans grow up knowing this, as a synthesis of the power structure endemic to our countries, now spreading its contagion to the US.

  158. It's very simple. It's Da Mob, not The White House. Which leads to a thought. Bloomberg-Soros and other patriotic billionaires, what are you waiting for? We need to set up Civil protection for patriots who are risk from the Regime, and who act to save the rule of law in America. How about a privately built witness protection plan as a start?

  159. Has anyone noticed that when a Trump ally testifies under oath, he almost always commits perjury? Why is that?

  160. @Glenn Quantum entanglement with Trump.

  161. DOJ has been the same for eternity. Same as state and county prosecutors. Very political and self serving. I do not use the term corrupt, but about the same. They hide evidence and intimidate witnesses for their own advantage. Most of these people see these positions as stepping stones for advancement. We are watching it unfold before our eyes for a change.

  162. Trump attacks judges, prosecutors, jury members, war heroes doing their duty, and the Republican Senators stay mum or support him or misdirect and change the subject. It's truly shameful that not even 4 of them have the conviction to stand up to him.

  163. Seeing the documentary ‘Get Me Roger Stone’ at the beginning of 2017 made sense of the 2016 election for me. It helped me understand how my parents, who’d raised me on Christian ethics and feminism (yes! at the same time!), had become Trump defenders. Stone says in that film he wanted a horse to ride. For three decades he saw that horse as Trump, and with help from the dictators of the foreign nations he and Manafort had opened DC doors to, his horse won the race. Stone cut his teeth as Nixon’s post-impeachment PR man. He captured evangelicals’ authoritarian-leaning belief system by propping up Buchanan in the 2000 election, and then intentionally knocking him down with scandal. He used that momentum from evangelicals to help Bush win. I’ve often wished that film was required viewing in churches, like a PSA to people who identify as Christians. Some of them are absolutely of the same sadomasochistic fabric as the president, but my feeling is most of them are being used (even Pence, at the start). Stone is one of the refining architects of that exploitation. A brilliant chess player who chops off the fingers of his opponent is not playing the game. He is a psychopath.

  164. How Long Before a Trump Tweet Kills? Ms Goldberg, may I suggest a topic that I've not seen addressed concerning these issues. There is evidence in several cases that critical tweets from President Trump bring personal death threats. This was true of Vindman and several members of Congress, possibly many others, including judges and reporters. I wish someone at the Times could ascertain how often this is the case. Is it a predictable pattern? Has it necessitated security measures? In rally speeches as well, a dog whistle to violence has long been part of Trump's rhetorical tool kit. In at least one instance, a deranged MAGA follower in Florida attempted to act on behalf of his "leader" with weapons and homemade bombs. Crucially, it is also true that this same tweeting medium is used by the President to announce policy, fire staffers, and publicize executive orders. The excuse that he is merely exercise his First Amendment rights is absurd. Not only is he crying "fire" in a crowded public space, he is doing so over the official emergency PA system! He is issuing from the "bully pulpit" implicit threat to judges, jurors, and others. Why isn't this, at the very least, a legal case for closing his Twitter account? Aren't these "credible threats"? Aren't we all just waiting for one of his tweets to be taken up by his "Second Amendment People," as he calls them?

  165. @Nelson Alexander I LIKE your idea. However, Trumps horrendous tweets have ALREADY KILLED. Remember El Paso? Remember the PA Synagogue killing? All these crazies with guns ... and then there are the White Suprematists who get a thumbs-up from the president? However, like the Fact-Checker on WaPo with nearly 17,000 false statements from the PREZ, it would be a public service to link Trump’s Twitter feed to Violence. Looking to you, New York Times ....

  166. Can we get our republic back? After impeachment absent Republicans gave POTUS the keys to the door, he's running the country like it's his own personal business for his benefit. Separation of Powers? Checks and Balances? To paraphrase, 'As president, I can do anything I want.' Chilling. Watching the real time historical change for our experiment in democracy being written. Now is the time for patriots, those loyal to the country instead loyal to only Trump, to stand up and speak up. Each day, new cracks appear.

  167. Trump has changed the idea of what constitutes a crime. The all-powerful President determines what is legal. Anything done by my side is legal and whatever the other side does is traitorous and illegal. Vindman should be prosecuted, Democrats must be investigated and the whistleblower is a spy. Stone was convicted over nothing, ‘they don’t even know what he did’. Rudy is running US and Ukrainian foreign policy, Barr has turned the Justice Department into Trump’s personal legal team, and Trump’s impeachment will be expunged by the next Republican Congress. Republicans are good with this as long as the guy determining right and wrong is their Don.

  168. It would be refreshing if the President were to concentrate less on his rights and more on his responsibilities as President.

  169. This whole situation is just another example of corruption in the Trump administration. One does not have to be a genius to recognize this. To sit back and observe all this as a citizen is simply disheartening. Now in my 80th year, there seems no solution except voting Trump out of office--providing we can enforce the vote.

  170. @Harcourt As a 70-year-old, I second that - VOTE Trump out. Whoever is the Democratic candidate, we must get rid of the cancer in the White. I would add, vote out all Republicans. In the NY21st we have a great alternative to Republican Trumpster Elise Stefanik. Tetra Cobb is a wonderful, smart woman who will represent the people of the 21st. Stepfanik has become nothing more than a Trump sycophant - she no longer represents her constituents. Most of her money (and she’s raising millions) comes from Trump supporters and corporate interests outside the district. Vote Teddy Cobb.

  171. @Harcourt Think about what you just wrote. You expressed despair that the only "solution" is to vote Trump out of office. That's how our system is supposed to work. You think everybody loved President Obama? Do you think Eric Holder was some independent actor who checked President Obama's power? Our system requires the party out-of-power to respect the results of the election, not fish around for ways to nullify an election we don't like.

  172. There is an awful lot of fear in this country right now. Republicans quake in their boots for fear of what the president will say about them, so they turn a blind eye to all of his illegal behavior. Career civil servants, seeing what happened to Vindman -- and there may be more yet to come for that honorable man -- are terrified of speaking out. And now even some radio personality is afraid of what some guy in a red hat might do to his beloved dog. And everyone, down to career prosecutors and even National Archives staff, are self censoring to avoid any potential confrontation with Trump. The scariest part is there is no one to turn to for protection. Even the Justice Department is in on the game. People wonder how democratic countries can slip into dictatorships. I think we are seeing the answer to that in real time.

  173. Remember when we were told Barr was an upstanding person, a good attorney who respected the rule of law? Either that was never true or we have more proof that Trump destroys everyone and everything he touches.

  174. @BMD Why? Because he put an end to the Mueller investigation? Does it matter to you at all that the FBI knew in January 2017 that Steele was lying and that there was nothing to the dossier? Mueller should never have been appointed. But he lumbered on for 2 years with 500 search warrants and 2800 subpoenas. That's not an investigation. That's a reign of terror. You should oppose that when it's happening to your political enemies or else nobody will be left to defend you when the worm turns.

  175. I'm hoping Judge Jackson hands down the sentence Stone deserves. What happens next is anybody's guess: does Trump pardon Stone? When does the Chief Justice speak up?

  176. At its core this is yet another example of Republican corruption, a singular trait that since the end of the Eisenhower administration has grown like a cancer on the once Grand Old Party. Even Reagan, who almost nobody would accuse of being personally corrupt or criminal, couldn't keep those near him from using the levers of governance as a corrupt means to achieve illegal policy ends. The Republican Party since Nixon has with reliable consistency seen the power of government as a cudgel, a weapon, that can be employed with impunity in spite of the the founders clear intent. Government of the people? That sentiment was abandoned by Republicans long ago. They have embraced and advanced and now survive as keepers of government for the powerful. Rodger Stone is nothing more than a five cent cotter pin in the vast machine of Republican corruption, necessary to keep the machine running but easily and cheaply replaced.

  177. I just finished watching The Day Democracy Died sung by the founding fathers on YouTube. I laughed and then I cried. Trump is a master at weaponizing every government institution to serve his personal needs. The GOP is in lockstep, doing his bidding. Nixon had Mitchell. Trump has Barr. The difference: Trump will continue to operate with complete impunity. We are not in Kansas anymore. I am beginning to understand how societies devolve into dictatorships. I am watching our own devolution into tyranny but I feel powerless. Yes, we will vote blue, no matter who, but only five out of 19 incumbents have lost re-election since 1900, all because of poor economic conditions. I am truly asking, how do we stop the destruction of our democracy when the GOP controls all three branches and we have a president unbound by the rule of law?

  178. It is scary enough that Credico has been threatened similar to something straight out of The Godfather, but singling out a jury forewoman ( a private citizen complying with their civil obligation) to be possibly threatened and physically harmed by some crazed Trump loyalist means we are all vulnerable. And still, the majority of the. Republican Senators remain silent.

  179. Roger Stone knows where all of Trump's bodies are buried. Trump does not want Roger sitting in prison getting angry about his plight and potentially spilling some important beans to reporters because Trump didn't make sure that he stayed out of prison. And Trump appears to have gotten the message. We can expect similar consideration for Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.

  180. @Susan I don't think Manafort or Flynn will be pardoned since they don't have a long standing relationship with Trump like Stone does. Stone, truth be known, has been a shady political operative since the 1960s (he has a tatoo of Nixon on hi back). Stone does know where ALL of the bodies are buried and, if sentenced to ANY prison time, will be pardoned by Trump. You can bank on that.

  181. @Susan Trump's bodies? That's silly. Trump has been under constant and aggressive investigation for the last three years from all corners. It's not like he's from Arkansas and his political opponents have a habit of "suicide" at the exact moment they appear ready to testify or getting killed during a "botched robbery."

  182. Machiavellianism abounds today in our government. That psychology coupled with an insatiable drive by GOP to inflict a Theocratic Authoritarian Plutocracy (TAP) on us for decades to come makes this obvious: We are sunk as a Secular Liberal Democracy (SLD) unless we significantly right the ship with our vote come 2020 and beyond. A vote for GOP is a vote for TAP; a D vote for SLD. This is obvious, plain, and simple, and existentially true! No hyperbole; no mendacity; no slight of hand. That is the political REALITY we face. I see little light between 1930s Europe politically and ours today at an existential level. And we best get woke to it! Now I know about 21% of us actually want TAP existentially; I also know another 21% like aspects of TAP enough to calculate parochially that GOP is the way to some "venal or moral" goals. This 42% is incorrigible. I also surmise another 4% will pull the GOP lever because it feels good fun at the moment. Counter to that 46% is 54% of us that in our hearts know TAP is NOT us! That 54% must vote en masse for SLD. A GOP vote is a vote against America! Not because of its tax plan, or heath care plan, or infrastructure plan, or lack thereof but because it is existentially pointed away from our ideals. The D Party imperfect but NOT an existential danger; the GOP is! Vote accordingly!

  183. Perversion of justice is the domain of tyrants. Trump is merely an aspirant to that title. If he can successfully interfere with Roger Stone’s case, we take another step towards his promotion. The erosion of trust in republican governance is driven by Russian election interference, propaganda dressed up as Faux News, the definition of money as speech, and now the open attempt to interfere in a criminal case by the president. We just started early primary voting in North Carolina yesterday and wonder if our votes will be accurately tabulated and our collective voices heard. The worst consequence of the river of lies is that we now do not fully trust democracy to save itself. Ms. Goldberg is right to quote Franklin, for he knew something about tyrants. We are in danger of learning more.

  184. @David Potenziani Should we repeal the part of the constitution that gives the elected president domain over the executive branch? Should we strip him of the pardon too? Elections will cease to matter if prosecutors get unchecked power over their political opponents. Tyrants aren't accountable to the voters. That's a description more applicable to vindictive prosecutors who consider themselves above their elected bosses.

  185. @Adam This is misleading and inaccurate. The DOJ had previously supported the sentencing until DJT was in a position to reward his supporters after his impeachment. If the DOJ had concerns it would not have supported the prosecutorial decisions in the first place.

  186. The main point of this column and the Trump presidency is that we are naive to view this President’s action through a lens of normality. Time and time again, we are left thinking he couldn’t possibly be doing THAT. He has operated like a cute toddler, doing whatever he wants with no fear that his granddad will dare scold him.

  187. The only people America sends to prison for too long are those who have no money and no connection. Roger Stone has both. Credico's letter has probably been written about Stone because he does fear for his life.. Roger Stone and Trump are vengeful people, Barr is the puppet of Trump, despite Barr's recent comments, and they all just got caught because of Four Federal prosecutors "of integrity" quitting their jobs at the DOJ in protest of interference by Barr. Thank god for Judge Jackson. Even she was threatened by Roger Stone. Trump threatened the Fore person. What kind of people are these two and aren't there Federal Laws against threatening a Federal Judge and a Jury member? We have to hope that Judge Jackson will ignore the recommendation by the DOJ.

  188. @Jean Barr is definitely Trump’s puppet. His latest protest is a sham and he continues to do Trump’s bidding. Vote Trump out!

  189. Its ironic, it seems most Trumpers see themselves as free thinkers, better informed, sharper and wiser. I see lemmings marching to the cliff. They will not read the Mueller report, the testimony of witnesses, the evidence collected. They repeat what Fox News has told them.

  190. @Monica C That's the opposite of true. The Trump supporters I know read the New York Times, the Hill, and a dozen different independent libertarian and conservative writers. In contrast, the traditional press slavishly conforms to a core message every day. It's not just the same message but even the same vocabulary. Half of Fox News is "woke" too. Ever watch Chris Wallace interview anyone? It's completely different depending on whether they support Trump. I encourage you to read Epoch Times, the Federalist, American Greatness, and PJ Media. Minds are like parachutes...

  191. @Adam I know of one Trump supporter who deliberately sets out to read and watch news from many sources. All others quote Fox News and discount the NYT and Washington Post as liberal rags. In fairness, I will look at the sources you cited. I am annoyed when a "news" source, from left or right, freely mixes opinion in with news.

  192. Credico said he feared reprisal from a crazed Trump supporter. Nowhere does he say that he felt threatened by Stone himself or, importantly, someone acting at the behest of Stone. Are you suggesting that Stone should serve time for a private comment that wasn’t taken seriously by its target?

  193. @Erin That was far from the only thing Roger Stone was convicted of.

  194. Well said. But you and I know that the writer is never to be believed!

  195. @Erin Mischaracterizes what Credico said, which is that he believes the verbal attacks orchestrated by Stone will lead to physical assault. 'Nice little candy shop you have there, be a shame if anything happened to it.' And since Stone spent his entire life orchestrating attacks on his political foes, the mobsterish implications are more credible than they would be with any random nut.

  196. Stone is the only person who connects the dirty tricks of Richard Nixon with those of Donald Trump. Because this became standard operating procedure in elections for the GOP since 1968, it is okay according to Dershowitz and Trump'a attorneys. It even got implicitly approved by vote of the Senate and the concurrence of the Chief Justice. Stone will probably get the Medal of Freedom after Trump gets reelected just like Limbaugh.

  197. @LVG "Stone will probably get the Medal of Freedom after Trump gets reelected just like Limbaugh." I thought comment was hilarious; but then I thought, this is by no means out of the realm of possibility. First, Fox and talk radio need to make him a martyr. Second, gradually shift the martyrdom into hero status. And viola! There's your Medal of Freedom!

  198. Randy Credico is horrified by what prison does to people. He is also horrified by what Roger Stone's crowd will do to him. Perhaps prison time and a change in Mr. Stone is in fact what is necessary here to prevent the horrors he and his crowd are inflicting on American democracy.

  199. Credico can't have it both ways. He knew he was playing to Trump when he wrote the letter and he was likely pressured to do so.

  200. If all goes as trump wants, they’ll acquit Stone, and he’ll walk. If and when Stone goes to prison, whether it be for 7-9 years as recommended, or 3-5 years, trump will probably pardon him. Between pardoning Sheriff Joe, giving Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom, and any other corrupt things he’s doing (now that he’s been acquitted himself), things in our country will only get harder for the honest, hard-working, non-racial, non anti-semitic people of our country. Trump is making all of us fear for ourselves, our families, and our allies! I’m still not sure if I believe the words that came out of Barr’s mouth, or if it was an act to get us to believe he’s making decisions for the good of the country, or the good of trump.

  201. @LI RES I believe there is a reason Trump did not pardon Manafort and I will not pardon Stone. The pardoned give up their Fifth Amendment immunity and double jeopardy. If forced by law to tell the truth at that point, Trump’s many bodies will be found and dug up before the sun goes down.

  202. @LI RES The good news is there is no "double jeapordy" on impeachment. Trump could easily get impeached again, and if he wins in November, maybe Republicans will oust him then if they can nail him for something like this where Pence is not also so complicit he would have no legitimacy.

  203. @LI RES He has already been convicted. He awaits sentencing.

  204. "new nadir in the Trump presidency"? No, just another pause in the endless drop to the bottom that is the trump presidency.

  205. @sjs Yeah, I agree. He actually has reached the nadir - but then he just digs deeper.

  206. @sjs True. We started 2017 thinking Trump’s election, after the lies, xenophobia and misanthropy, was bad. Then things just got worse and worse and I fear it will continue to go downhill. In my small upstate community, people (many ex-military) are aghast the Nancy Pelosi. “show of disrespect”, “awful woman” are the mildest things they say. When asked if ripping up some papers (just a copy of a speech) was worse than marching a decorated military man and his twin out of the White House because one, Lt Col Vindman, did exactly as he was trained (as explained by marine General John Kelly), they say nothing.

  207. @sjs And just where is and what is the 'bottom'? I sure don't know.

  208. Have you ever noticed how much people like mob movies? That's the only real way to explain Trump's support. People on his side, in his "family" are taken care of by the Don and everyone else is an enemy to be destroyed at any and all cost. Speak out against him and you shall receive the wrath of the entire family.

  209. @Just a Regular Guy I had the same thought. The Trumpists get to sit around the proverbial table and laugh with the Boss's about his latest tirade or hit he ordered. Trumpists are so gullible not to realize that there is only a very small group at the table. Everyone else is just a little further down on the hit list.

  210. @Just a Regular Guy Reminds me of a time in the 1980's when a not-very-bright young woman told me how much she admired the character Tony Soprano, a fictional NJ mob boss. She kind of neglected to consider that if she ran afoul of a real mob boss like Soprano, he'd wack her without a care.

  211. Resigning in protest might be intended as a show of integrity on the part of the prosecutors, but Trump and his henchmen see it only as a victory.

  212. @Gary -Barr should resign immediately, if not sooner!

  213. @Gary with the help of Fox news spreading propaganda and false narratives

  214. We're nowhere close to getting our republic back. The significant plurality of our electorate that relies on Fox news exclusively to stay "informed", will play a significant role in our nation's undoing. Silence on the part of the GOP, if it continues, will hasten the destruction of the norms and traditions that all 44 of Trump's predecessors felt bound by. On our current trajectory, our republic is getting uncomfortable close to being irretrievably lost. Will those responsible even recognize what they have wrought?

  215. @Paul Mc - - - Clue us in on whether a poor old man needs tp die in prison - - receiving a sentence equivalent to the average first-degree rapist's sentence PLUS the average armed robber's sentence actually served - for doing what Obama officials did repeatedly. Pretend he's an actual human being and not a friend of our #1 hate target.

  216. @Paul Mc They do not care what they have wrought because it's all about power!

  217. As a trial judge for many years, I occasionally received letters from victims after having testified in a trial. They would express their regret for being the reason the defendant was going to prison. I think it is normal for some people to be so inclined. I would write them back and assure them they had performed their civic duty by testifying and they needn't worry about the sentence. The defendant is in prison, (or going to prison) not because of their testimony but rather his/her own actions. The punishment phase of a trial is separate and apart from the fact finding for that reason. A defendant is sentenced according to his/her own actions and not the private feelings of anyone associated with the trial, including the witnesses. To be otherwise would leave witnesses open to unmitigated pressure from defendants or their families and friends/supporters.

  218. You are talking about a process in a democracy rules by law and not by Putin’s disciple trying to make America as great as Russia.....

  219. It's rather the same series of lies about Roger Stone as it is about Donnie: First, deny the charges completely. Second, attack the victims. Third, claim it's a witch hunt. Fourth, admit to the charges but say there's nothing wrong with breaking the law. Fifth, attack the victims....

  220. Dutiful civil servants propose prosecutorial sanctions. Trump tweets, and Barr jumps. Then Barr doth protest too much. It is the magical Möbius Strip World of Grassley /Jordan/ Gaetz/Collins et al. logic. The outside is now indistinguishable from the inside. No one has stepped through the Looking Glass. Rather, the other side of the Looking Glass has now embraced us all, as sanctioned by Dershowitz and Turley.

  221. I am waiting to see if the Judge in this case hands down a sentence of 7 or more years. It could all backfire on the lot of them.

  222. @Murry I think the judge has to be judicious - If she hands down a very heavy sentence she gives Trump an excuse (not that he needs one) to intervene in some fashion.

  223. @Murry: Not really. Trump has prepped his base with tweets about the excessive sentencing recommendations, the unfair judge, and a juror who doesn't like him. The rightwing is outraged and not only will they accept a pardon for Stone, they will demand that Trump given him one.