A lot of important news broke yesterday. Here’s what you need to know.
1 – All four federal prosecutors working on the Roger Stone conviction resigned in protest yesterday after higher-ups at the DOJ–likely Attorney General William Barr–took control of the case and re-submitted a sentencing memo for Stone far more lenient than the first, which asked for a sentence of 7 to 9 years behind bars. Legal observers were horrified and could find no instance of similar interference in prior administrations, noting that the new memo was written as if by the defense team. Only hours before, Trump had tweeted that the initial sentencing recommendation was unfair, so speculation raged about whether Trump’s tweet had pushed Barr to interject himself into the process and do a legal favor for Trump’s pal Stone. The whole situation reeked of corruption, and many Democratic Senators including Chuck Schumer called for an investigation of Barr and the DOJ. Nothing smacks of authoritarianism and dictatorship like a corrupt Attorney General doing favors for criminals like Stone while investigating political rivals like Biden. Harvard Law professor Lawrence Tribe tweeted this last night:
The Rule of Law is gasping for breath, being suffocated by Trump and his personal henchman Bill Barr. Not even a pretense of legality. The’re doing it because the can. It’s raw, naked, unprincipled, immoral power.
And writer Steven Beschloss tweeted this:
He stonewalls witnesses. He intimidates witnesses. He threatens witnesses who might speak out. Now he’s abusing his office by demanding prosecutors to change sentencing judgments. Four prosecutors have refused to carry out this travesty. They’re telling us: Enough is enough.
Keep an eye on this growing scandal, the latest from a thoroughly corrupt presidency.
2 – Trump also tweeted yesterday that the Army should discipline recently fired Colonel Vindman for insubordination, which is yet another absurd abuse of power and a dishonest mischaracterization of the facts of the Congressional hearing. Vindman simply complied with an official Congressional subpoena and testified under oath–more than any of the direct reports to Trump have done, including Trump himself. It’s not hard to imagine what a blithering idiot Trump would be in front of a Congressional committee as he tried to spew a torrent of lies. But Trump is too much a coward to face real lawyers who won’t bend the knee and grovel to him. He instead bullies others to do his bidding and hides behind the roar of a helicopter engine.
3 – The State of New Hampshire held its primary election last night and, unlike Iowa, it went smoothly. Bernie Sanders won with roughly 26% of the votes and Pete Buttigieg came in second with 24%. The big surprise was Amy Klobuchar, earning roughly 20% of the vote, while Warren garnered only 9% and Biden 8%. To be fair, nobody expected Biden to win New Hampshire, but nobody expected him to get only 8% either, and observers were surprised that Warren, from neighboring Massachusetts, didn’t do well. Many speculated that Klobuchar was emerging as the most promising moderate alternative to Buttigieg and Biden, especially after her stellar performance in the New Hampshire debate. And many voters still desperately want a woman in the White House after the electoral college theft of the 2016 election. It’s worth pointing out that Sanders got 152K votes in the 2016 primary but only received roughly 74k votes this year–only half of his 2016 total. Nevada is the next state to hold a primary, on February 22nd, and the electorate there is quite different from Iowa and New Hampshire, so we still have a long way to go before we get any real sense of how the field is shaping up.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”