“Equal Justice Under Law.”
Those four stirring words atop the U.S. Supreme Court’s portico, were transformed into a punchline Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced President Donald J. Trump’s friend Roger Stone to three years and four months in prison for witness intimidation and lying to Congress. Stone’s penalty emerged just six days after the Justice Department dropped its inquiry into Trump foe, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe. Never mind that Justice filed a criminal referral when it “became concerned that McCabe may have lacked candor when questioned…”
So, 40 months behind bars for Stone, while McCabe enjoys air time and paychecks as a CNN commentor and royalties from his book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.
This is Washington’s nauseating new reality: A two-track justice system offers political insiders on the Left impunity and income from publishing and broadcast deals. However, political outsiders on the Right face crippling legal fees and incarceration.
•President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is doing 7.5-years for his pre-Trump tax and bank fraud.
•Former campaign aide George Papadopoulos served 12 days in the slammer for false statements to FBI officers. His steep legal bills and spooked clients drove him back into his parents’ house.
•Former national security adviser Michael Flynn awaits sentencing, and wants his charges dropped, after pleading guilty to false statements. Flynn reportedly took a plea after selling his house to pay his lawyers. DOJ prosecuted Flynn, even though McCabe acknowledged that “the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying…” Flynn still could wind up on ice.
Compare the plight of these Trump allies with the charmed lives of just a few of his and the Right’s tormentors.
•Former FBI director James Comey was the subject of a criminal referral by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Comey removed several memoranda from his office related to his conversations with Trump. Comey then sent one memo to his friend, Columbia University Law Professor Daniel Richman, specifically so that he would leak it to the media and trigger a special-prosecutor probe.The OIG concluded: “Comey violated applicable policies and his Employment Agreement” and spilled state secrets.
So, is Comey breaking rocks?
“He’s been traveling the country giving six-figure paid speeches on leadership,” Business Insider’s Alex Morrell reported. Comey also secured a $3 million contract to write the best-selling A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership. “And then there’s the forthcoming CBS Studios miniseries,” Morrell added, “in which he’ll be portrayed by actor Jeff Daniels.”
As for legal trouble, Comey is all smiles.
• Despite 588 security violations that the State Department attributed to Hillary Clinton and her associates in the E-mailgate scandal, as well as her role in purchasing the “dirty dossier” that triggered the Russia hoax, the former first lady has suffered zero consequences for an entire career of professional misconduct. And she always gets paid.
Her 2014 book Hard Choices scored her some $14 million. In 2015, Business Insider reports, Hillary made $12 million in speaking fees to well-connected organizations including:
-Biotechnology Industry Organization: $335,000
-Qualcomm Incorporated: $335,000
-GTCR Private Equity: $780,000
• Lois Lerner ran the IRS unit that perpetrated the systematic political profiling of conservative groups that sought tax-exempt designation. Lerner supervised this virtual gag-the-Right scheme. When GOP congressional overseers sought Lerner’s hard drive, they learned that it was shredded.
Was Lerner punished?
Lerner was placed on administrative leave. She received her $177,000 annual salary at home. According to the Washington Post, “Lerner has received a $100,000 annual pension since retiring from the IRS in September 2013.
America needs equal justice, but neither undue leniency nor undeserved cruelty toward Stone. Given his sentence, McCabe, Comey, Clinton, and Lerner should be locked up. But since those four got zero prison time, plus book and TV deals and a hefty pension, Roger Stone deserves no less.