House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Tuesday that it would be an “blatant abuse of power” if President Donald Trump had intervened to lower the Justice Department’s suggested prison sentence for Trump’s friend and adviser Roger Stone.
According to multiple reports Tuesday, the Justice Department will in fact significantly reduce the sentence it suggests for Stone after a tweet from Trump called the initial recommendation, of 7-9 years’ imprisonment, a “miscarriage of justice.”
“I do not take a position on the proper prison term for Mr. Stone, but it would be a blatant abuse of power if President Trump has in fact intervened to reverse the recommendations of career prosecutors at the Department of Justice,” Schiff said in a statement.
“Doing so would send an unmistakable message that President Trump will protect those who lie to Congress to cover up his own misconduct, and that the Attorney General will join him in that effort,” he added.
“Abuse of Power,” notably, was one of two impeachment charges that Schiff and other House impeachment managers argued during a Senate trial should be grounds for Trump’s removal from office. The Senate voted to acquit Trump of both charges on Wednesday.
After reports of the development emerged Tuesday, the top career prosecutor on the Stone case, former Robert Mueller deputy Aaron Zelinsky, informed the court that he was withdrawing from the case — and resigning entirely from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. (Zelinsky is still an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore.)
Former federal prosecutors told TPM Tuesday that the news that a scaled back sentencing recommendation was in the works in Stone’s case was “stunning.”