Law And Order

No mentally-competent American still believes that Donald Trump is (1) honest (2) intelligent (3) informed or (4) sane. In a way, we are probably fortunate that he is so incredibly incompetent and unable to restrain himself from broadcasting his idiocy–if he was smart and just as corrupt, he could pretend to be other than what he is. Fortunately, he is too stupid to hide what he is.

Give him credit for one thing, though: he knew enough to commute Roger Stone’s sentence rather than pardoning his creepy co-conspirator.

The difference is significant: a pardon erases the conviction of guilt. A President’s decision to commute a sentence, however, doesn’t eliminate a federal conviction or imply that the person was innocent. It doesn’t even remove the ramifications of a criminal conviction, such as losing the right to vote or inability to hold elected office.

So–since even Trump must have recognized that letting Stone off the hook via either mechanism would engender huge blow-back–why not give his old pal a pardon?

Mother Jones asks–and answers–that question.

Why the second-class treatment of a commutation instead of a pardon? Wasn’t Stone important enough for a pardon?

But wait. Someone who gets a pardon can no longer invoke the Fifth Amendment as a justification for refusing to testify in court. If Stone were called in some other case, he’d be required to spill any beans he had. But if I understand the law correctly, a commutation is more limited. The conviction stands, and the possibility of putting yourself in further jeopardy remains. Thus your Fifth Amendment rights stand.

So if you wanted to help out a buddy, but you also wanted to make sure he couldn’t be forced to provide dangerous testimony in the future, commutation sure seems like the best bet, doesn’t it?

Reactions to the commutation have reminded us that Trump has either pardoned or commuted the sentences of a long list of other truly despicable–and unambiguously guilty– men: Joe Arpaio (Contempt of Court) Michael Milken (Fraud)  Scooter Libby (Perjury) Eddie Gallagher (War Crimes) and Rod Blagojevich (Corruption) come to mind.

There is another interesting wrinkle, legally, to Trump’s latest favor to the dark side.

Seth Abramson, an attorney and commentator, has characterized Stone’s commutation as that of a “co-conspirator,” and opined that–because it amounts to a “self-pardon”–it is obstruction of justice and thus unconstitutional. Nancy Pelosi has weighed in by recommending passage of a law forbidding a President from pardoning or commuting a sentence if the conviction was for illegal behavior to protect the President–which Stone’s quite obviously was.

Perhaps the most succinct summary of the situation came from Mitt Romney–who seems to be the only Republican in the Senate with either scruples or a backbone. Romney tweeted

Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.

There is broad recognition that another four years for this grotesque buffoon would be the end of America’s experiment with democratic self-government. Inconceivable as it seems, however, he continues to have the devotion of his base/cult. They won’t desert him and they will turn out for him.

If we want to save America in November, we’d better get massive turnout of people who come prepared to “vote blue no matter who.”


  1. I have come to the conclusion that the President may be autistic and cannot know how to understand social cues. He needs handlers before making some decisions. He wrote off loans to black entrepreneurs according to some witnessses, put thru prison reform, police reform, increased HBCU funding and changed the fed hiring process.
    He’s definately wears everything on his sleeve and this may make him lose reelection.
    DACA reforms will cause Republicans to cringe also. Never know what to expect.

  2. Justice comes in two forms: court room justice and street justice. When the people can no longer believe and trust in the first kind they resort to the latter. Politicians and their supporters of all stripes take heed.

  3. The rule of law doesn’t exist within and around the crime family currently in the White House. Barr is the consiglieri. The Senate Republicans (Nicolle Wallace correctly labeled them as zombies last week.) are the muscle.

    May the voters in November send all of these thugs and jellyfish to swim with the rest of the fishes who still vote for Republicans and Trump.

  4. “There is broad recognition that another four years for this grotesque buffoon would be the end of America’s experiment with democratic self-government. Inconceivable as it seems, however, he continues to have the devotion of his base/cult. They won’t desert him and they will turn out for him.”

    The polls proclaim Biden leads Trump by double digits; a meaningless fact – or fake – when we need reports on who Trump’s mega-millions in campaign funds are buying at local and state levels. The control of this election remains in the hands of the Electoral College members whose hands are out for their payoff to repeat the 2016 appointment of Trump to complete his deconstruction of democracy, Rule of Law and the Constitution of the United States of America. They have no interest in “court room justice and street justice”. “United” is the key term here and those who are still denigrating the Democratic party and finding fault with Joe Biden are aiding and abetting those EC members who, like Trump, only consider their temporary financial gain and do not question what will remain of this once great nation to spend their ill-gotten gains on.

    Local and state level elections, like the presidency, have never been more vital for this country to unite and put aside petty grievances to “VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO” and work out their differences when – IF – we have the power to seek a return to “Law And Order” to begin salvaging what is left of America.

    “If we want to save America in November, we’d better get massive turnout of people who come prepared to “vote blue no matter who.”

  5. “4. Completion of court challenges

    A request for a commutation of a prison sentence generally is not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. In addition, a commutation request generally is not accepted from a person who is currently challenging his or her conviction or sentence through appeal or other court proceeding. Accordingly, you should not complete and submit this petition until you have concluded all judicial challenges to your conviction and sentence and you have begun serving your sentence. You should also be aware that, in evaluating the merits of a commutation petition, clemency authorities take into consideration the amount of time the petitioner has already served and the availability of other remedies to secure the relief sought (such as parole or judicial action).”

    Any semblance of the rule of law in the DOJ was loudly and proudly disclaimed with the commutation of a convicted felon for lying and obstructing to protect the person about whom he lied to protect. Stone had no begun his sentence nor has he quitted his appeal of SEVEN felon convictions. Only one Republican has spoken out about this blatant disregard for the Rule of Law. The rest are spineless cowards or complicit opportunists.

    There is no law that he considers unbreakable except those that allow him to continue his reign of incompetence and terror. The fact is that there is no one in any of the three branches who is willing or able to stop him. We are already living in a dictatorship with the tacit approval of those sworn to uphold the Constitution.

  6. It’s not implausible to think that, if he loses in November, 45 might just quit long enough for President Pence to pardon him for any Federal crimes he has committed. That would be after he pardons Stone, Manafort, and Flynn.

  7. If you look at the conviction of Stone — it’s a joke. It was a witch hunt perpetrated by the DNC to cover their tracks of conspiring against Bernie Sanders in a primary. They got caught and pointed the finger at this elaborate Russian conspiracy baked by Robby Mook.

    I could elaborate, but the DNC loyalists would point to the IC work and how Russia spent $40k sowing racial discord on Facebook. It’s laughable considering the work of BLM.

    I did find this interesting:

    Theresa writes, “Justice comes in two forms: courtroom justice and street justice. When the people can no longer believe and trust in the first kind they resort to the latter. Politicians and their supporters of all stripes take heed.”

    I don’t agree with the exact wording, but I do agree with the point. The same IC who “claims” Russia hacked the DNC also funded the company who works with Twitter and helped the IC and law enforcement with tracking protestors during the George Floyd uprisings.

    They did the same to defeat the Occupy Wall Street movement once the group denounced Obama trying to claim them for political purposes.

    Cheerleaders beware!

    If you still think this is about right or left or red or blue — you’ve been conned. Read about how magic tricks work and how the magician sets up its audience or mark before they use their sleight of hand. 😉

    And don’t forget, our IC is in international court because they spied on Julian Assange while he was being held in the Ecuadorian embassy after the USA installed a puppet regime in Ecuador.

    Stone might be scum, but his conviction was a mockery of a corrupted judicial system. Trump is just too stupid to convey it accurately. Sheldon Anderson, Trump’s donor, could explain it:

  8. No, Todd. You are wrong this time. Absolutely wrong. Stone is a thug, pure and simple. It is ON RECORD that he intimidated witnesses (Witness tampering). It is ON RECORD that he lied to Congress more than once.

    He was convicted unanimously by a jury in a court of law of 7 felony counts. No witch hunt there. All factual and all verifiable.

  9. Massive turnout Sheila!?!?

    If there is a massive resurgence of covid 19, and it’s wreaking havoc, people who want to go to the polls might not be able to. Or, he could declare a state of emergency and suspend the election! The mortality rate for this covid-19 is extremely high in communities of color. And I wouldn’t believe for one second that he’s not completely aware of that fact. Maybe he’s looking at covid-19 killing off the resistance.

  10. All things wise and wonderful,
    All things great and small,
    All things bright and beautiful;
    Donald Trump has destroyed them all!!!

    Can we even consider ourselves a nation any longer; are we even considered a viable source of strength and support by our former allies when making world-wide decisions? We are no longer allowed to cross many of their borders; the fact that Americans were in the past a primary source of support for their national economy with our tourism, which they are willing to forego in order to prevent infecting their entire populations, speaks volumes.

    Our lack of “Law and Order” on all levels has turned this country into a pariah around the world and divided the citizens of this country; creating a Cold Civil War and reawakened the original Civil War on our streets. SCOTUS tossed us a few crumbs last week as a distraction but they are still in our beds and our pockets.

  11. Vernon, if lying to congress is so offensive, why isn’t Clapper and all the Bush Jr thugs in prison?

    As for witness tampering, it’s kind of Rich (pun intended), that the USA would consider that offensive seeing the LONG list of witness tampering, including our CIA black sites where torture was allowed.

    Laws and religion are for the little people to keep them from beheading their masters when they realize the screwing they’re getting.

    Stone is a POS, but his whole trial and conviction were Shakespearian at best.

  12. I suppose Stone can go back to work now, but who’d hire a convicted felon to run a ratfcking operation?

  13. I’m rather certain that Roger Stone was in cahoots with the woman that said Al Franken sexually assaulted her. Franken is not in the Senate because of Stone, the criminal friend of the POTUS, IQ45.

  14. Totally agree that we should be thankful Trump is so stupid and incompetent. Were it not for that, he would be more effective at being corrupt.

    Stone lives in Florida. Florida changed its law in 2019 to allow felons, no longer incarcerated to vote. Whether a felon can run for office in Florida is a little more ambiguous and I could not come up with a definitive answer in my limited research.

    The biggest impact on someone for having a felony is that it limits future employment opportunities. Stone, at 67, probably isn’t going to be doing that. Plus his specialty is doing campaign dirty tricks for candidates, which work is not affected by having a felony. Could it be Trump wanted him out of prison to work on his campaign? DT is probably going to need to pull every dirty trick in the book to win in 2020. Stone was the go between in Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Could he not play a similar role in 2020? I just don’t think the stigma of Stone having a felony on his record means much to him at this point in his life.

    Not sure if I agree with the 5th Amendment analysis in the Mother Jones article. With commutation, he’s already been convicted of the crime so how does his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in testifying about those acts in criminal proceedings against others still apply? (He can’t be convicted a second time.) I would think it wouldn’t, but I haven’t researched it.

    By the way, when I clerked at the Indiana Court of Appeals, I researched and worked on the opinion which decided the effectiveness of a pardon in the State of Indiana. My research indicated some states said that a pardon is merely forgiveness for a crime and does not wipe out the conviction. We in Indiana went a different route, holding with those states which said that a pardon wipes out the conviction. To me, the latter just makes sense. Otherwise, the pardon power is virtually worthless. Unfortunately, I think a slight majority of states go the forgiveness only route. Not sure the effect of a federal pardon within particular states, but I assume it would be treated the same as if the pardon were issued by the states.

  15. Pardon power is removed from Potus during impeachment, too bad that limitation wasn’t extended in this case. If trump is re-elected impeachment is again a possibility, and with tax evidence at hand could change the result? #3 would then be the first Potus to be impeached twice!

  16. Here’s a quote from the link I published previously here today.

    “Book One of Plato’s Republic features a Sophist called Thrasymachus (literally “fierce fighter”). Stone sometimes sounds a bit like him. Thrasymachus adopts the cynical position that justice is for losers and that true wisdom is possessed by those courageous enough to become unjust, by lying, cheating, and getting away with it. He particularly admires tyrants, who hold absolute political power and can do what they want. He looks down on the sheep who bleat about morality as naive simpletons. Might is right, in other words. The honest and just man, he thinks, is bound to be exploited by the dishonest and unjust. Socrates claims that the unjust seek power because they want to gain from it. However, truly good men do not seek political power for its own sake but are more often motivated by the desire not to allow tyrants to rule.”

    “Socrates doesn’t say this explicitly but he strongly implies the view that the motivation of good and honest people to become involved in politics will wax and wane, reaching its peak in response to the threat of tyrants seizing power. History, in other words, may consist of a pendulum swinging between periods of political complacency, when corrupt leaders are allowed to take power, and periods of moral outrage when the people realize they’ve been duped and become motivated to set things right.”

    “Thrasymachus is convinced that the unjust are always stronger than the just. However, Socrates argues that injustice breeds division and hostility, creating enemies within and without the state over time. Justice, by contrast, breeds harmony and friendship, and creates stronger alliances, although we might add that justice often moves more slowly than injustice. So although the unjust may prevail in the short term, over time their power is bound to crumble as they increasingly find their associates turning against them. Their problem is that they can’t really trust anyone.”

  17. Why can’t they just grant Stone immunity which I think makes it impossible to take the fifth. Make him testify granting him immunity from any charges other than perjury if he lies under oath.

  18. Pete, in Plato’s Republic I think with the method of dialecta, open discussion and answering honestly to criticism, Plato defined what they thought the essence of justice was. I believe they, way back then, came down to the idea that injustice is interference in another (man’s) work. Essentially interfering with another persons work is the definition of injustice. With that ancient wisdom, I look at trump’s interference with Fauci’s work, and know that the result will be/is unjust. If Fauci’s knowledge/expertise was allowed to direct the efforts to contain/fight the virus the results would be more effective and just.

  19. Also, Trump isn’t finished yet and when he is finished, what is uncovered will entertain us for decades. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to foresee it?

    Lest we forget, Hillary was the better candidate.

    From my darling New England niece:
    “These monsters often end up turning on their people. Hitler left his to face fire bombing while he cowered in his bunker; Mao starved millions to death in his Great Leap Forward; Stalin slaughtered millions as did Pol Pot and Idi Amin; Kim’s people died of starvation and lack of medical care by the thousands (if not more); Jim Jones’ addled followers poisoned themselves at his command. These soulless power gluttons not only don’t care about anyone but themselves, they get off on having life-and-death power over other human beings—the ultimate power, god-level! That’s what’s going on with Trump. He wants to stay in power. It’s VERY lucrative for him and his loser offspring (the taxpayer funded golf trips alone are worth millions). Getting cut off after only four years of destruction to our democracy would be a humiliating failure so he’s got to get his idiot, racist, hateful base to pull him through. Since they’ll literally believe anything he tells them (go drink Cool-aid! Oops! I meant Clorox!), he’s telling them that the virus is just a “lame stream” media overinflated hoax. He thinks this tactic will get the economy humming again and ensure his re-election. But, I’ve heard commentators remark that he can cheat and bully everyone and does that effectively all the time but those tactics don’t work on Covid-19 and he’s too stupid to realize it. He’s going down, big-time, in November. “

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