Richard Nixon: Spinning
Don’t go near Richard Nixon’s grave anytime soon; too much kinetic energy!
President Nixon covered up crimes, and likely committed many for which he was never charged or convicted. A bad actor, for sure, but what happened at the U.S. Department of Justice on February 11, 2020, surely has him spinning on his axis.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys represent us in court. We employ 93 U.S. Attorneys, and they employ many ASUAs. On the criminal side, these men and women represent us very well. Attorneys who prosecute criminal cases want, in many instances, to work for the United States. Frankly, federal cases often involve more complex and more interesting cases. The pay is better, too, and ASUAs advance to U.S. District Court judgeships. Lifetime employment. Staff. Nice offices. Etc.
Better pay, interesting cases, and nice offices aside, no AUSA gets rich off the government. And precious few turn their employment into a judgeship, a big firm partnership, or something else which elevates them. In the main, they’re people whose uniforms are pinstripes who deserve the our thanks.
So, on February 10, 2020, the United States, represented by Adam Jed, Jonathan Kravis, Michael Marando, Aaron Zelinsky, recommended an 87 – 108 month sentence for Roger Stone, Jr., President Donald Trump’s nitwit fixer. President Trump took umbrage on February 11, calling the recommendation “disgraceful” and more.
And then? The Justice Department filed a Supplemental and Amended Sentencing Memorandum, claiming the prior memorandum “does not accurately reflect the Department of Justice’s position on what would be a reasonable sentence in this matter.” The Justice Department did acknowledge that Mr. Stone “committed serious offenses and deserves a sentence of incarceration” but disagreed significantly with the memorandum filed by the ASUAs who handled the Stone case.
The four prosecutors I mentioned withdrew as counsel of record for the government in the Stone case. They may or may not have quit their jobs. Some were detailed to the Stone case and might simply return to the U.S. Attorney’s Offices which employed them, and to their regular caseloads. Time will tell.
Richard Nixon did horrible things, without a doubt. On Ocotber 20, 1973, he tried to fire his prosecutor, Archibald Cox . He fired the man who refused to fire the prosecutor (Attorney General Elliot Richardson). Then, he fired the the next fellow, William Ruckelshaus. Separate and apart from what he did on that awful Saturday night, President Nixon actively covered up crimes committed by members of his administration, including crimes committed by his Attorney General.
Still – and Nixon haters can tell me I’m wrong – President Nixon never put his thumb on the scale regarding a sentencing matter. Yesterday and today – and I’m happy to be corrected, when I say I can’t recall a president ever acting thusly – we have a president ordering the U.S. Department of Justice to cut POTUS’s friend some slack. Line prosecutors, and the best of them, did their jobs. The president said “I don’t think so,” and Attorney General William Barr said “whatever you say, Mr. President.”
F*ck me for thinking this matters not at all. Roger Stone, Jr. gets a pardon, as sure as I’m damn near done with this post. But, pardon aside, General Barr and POTUS trashed four men who stepped up to prosecute a POS whose only claim to fame arises out of his shabbiness as a political operative.*
Shame on this POTUS and our Attorney General for dragging us so low. Even the lowest of our lowly pre-Trump leaders must be spinning in his grave.
*Dick Tuck. The guy whose wit and skill Roger Stone never had.