The commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence by the president* was sadly predictable on two levels. One of them is obvious, the other, less so. As to the first, Stone was a conduit between Russian ratfckers, WikiLeaks, and the president*’s 2016 campaign. Subsequently, he lied to law enforcement and to Congress, and he attempted to intimidate witnesses to do the same. He was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced for these offenses.

Since his conviction, he has appeared in a number of places, stating flatly that he deserved presidential* relief specifically because he had stonewalled investigators. (Say what you will about Gordon Liddy, but he did his time. Say what you will about Richard Nixon, but he only accepted a misbegotten presidential pardon. He didn’t deal any out.) This was a straight-up Mob-style transaction, exactly the same dynamic by which John Gotti came out of prison more powerful than he was before he went in. And even if you believe that, in his sadistic heart, the president* liked dangling the possibilities before Stone, which I do, there was never a doubt about what he’d do in the end.

(And, as to the members of my profession who have spent years treating Stone as a charming rogue instead of the scurvy ratfcker he’s always been, examine your consciences very deeply. At the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, I went to an “event” with Stone sponsored by Politico just to see if it would be as nauseating as I expected it to be. I discovered that I’d low-balled that prediction considerably.)

This outcome was inevitable.
JIM WATSONGetty Images

JIM WATSONGetty Images

The other level on which this commutation was inevitable is a little bit harder, especially on those refugees from the administrations of both Poppy and W Bush who presently are all over the electric teevee deploring how the president and his personal-injury lawyer, William Barr, are corrupting the Department of Justice. What in god’s name did they expect? Barr was behind the strategy by which Poppy pardoned everyone who knew anything about his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal on his way out the door. And, as for the politicization of the DOJ, and Barr’s obvious defenestration of every US attorney who might inconvenience the president*, apparently we are all supposed to have forgotten how W’s administration fired seven U.S. Attorneys because they wouldn’t pursue phony voter-fraud scandals at the behest of the White House political apparatus.

I hate to be That Guy all the time, but the fact remains that Roger Stone worked for that presidential campaign because it was a Republican campaign, albeit one on behalf of an old pal of his. Stone committed his crimes on behalf of that campaign because it was a Republican campaign. And, ultimately, his sentence was commuted because there was a Republican president* in position to do so, and as part of a continued cover-up by an attorney general because Bill Barr is a Republican attorney general. Res ipse loquitur.

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