Trump threatening to pardon Roger Stone even before the dirty trickster is sentenced

In November, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone was
found guilty on all counts in the charges against
him, including lying to Congress and witness tampering, in direct
relation to Stone’s role as a liaison between WikiLeaks and the
Trump campaign in 2016. The potential sentence for those crimes is
more than 20 years, and on Monday prosecutors recommended a
sentence of seven to nine years.

On Tuesday morning Donald Trump made it clear that before Stone
receives so much as a slap on the wrist, he intends to make it all
go away for the man who threatened a witness, covered up crimes,
and lied repeatedly to investigators. Declaring that “the real
crimes were on the other side,” Trump tweeted that he would not
allow the charges against Stone to stand.

Donald Trump has already demonstrated an extraordinary
willingness to use his pardon powers to excuse his allies of any
wrongdoing. He has pardoned racist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
for charges of contempt of court. He dipped back into a former
round of Republican wrongdoing to pardon
Scooter Libby
on multiple counts of perjury. He pardoned
far-right propagandist Dinesh D’Souza for a conviction for
campaign contribution fraud. He even pardoned newspaper magnate
Conrad Black, whose fraud conviction had just been upheld
unanimously by the Supreme Court, after Black wrote a flattering
biography of Trump.

Trump has not been subtle about putting a short, fat thumb onto
the scales of justice. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that
Trump appears to be putting pressure on a judge even before
sentencing takes place.

As
The New York Times
reported on Monday, in obtaining a
conviction against Stone, prosecutors carefully outlined that his
crimes had not been a one-off event. The man who had been
describing himself as a “dirty trickster” for decades had,
unsurprisingly, been involved in dirty tricks just as long. And
when his connections to WikiLeaks came under scrutiny, Stone
engaged in a multiyear scheme that included “a relentless and
elaborate campaign to silence.” That campaign involved
threatening not just to injure or kill a witness, or to send thugs
to take him out; Stone even promised that he would kill the
witness’ dog.

Stone’s attorneys have argued for a sentence of just over a
year—well below even the minimums that guidelines provide for his
crimes. But based on the signals Trump is sending, it’s unlikely
to matter. Whether he’s sentenced to one year or 10, Roger Stone
is likely to be back in the buffet line at Mar-a-Lago by the end of
the month, chuckling over the idea that he, or any of Trump’s
friends, is subject to justice.