Trump Reversing Stone Sentencing Recommendation Would Be ‘Abuse Of Power,’ Schiff Says

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 05: House impeachment managers Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) (2nd L), and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) (2nd R) walk toward the Senate chamber at the U.S. Capitol as the Senate imp... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 05: House impeachment managers Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) (2nd L), and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) (2nd R) walk toward the Senate chamber at the U.S. Capitol as the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump continues on February 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Senate is expected to vote to acquit President Trump this afternoon. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) MORE LESS

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.

Stone’s case is personal for the Schiff: In November, Stone was found guilty on all counts against him, including for lying in his testimony the House Intelligence Committee, which Schiff chairs.

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.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: