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Legal Experts Shred Trump’s Whataboutist Response to Roger Stone’s Conviction on All Charges


President Donald Trump saw his decades-long pal and political adviser Roger Stone was convicted on Friday. The jury was clearly swayed by the argument that Stone lied to protect Trump and convicted Stone on all seven criminal counts in just a week and a half’s time. The case was prosecuted by Trump’s Department of Justice.

Despite those facts, Trump promptly dismissed the conviction as the product of a double-standard, in which Democrats get away with everything and Trump’s supporters get away with nothing.

Behold the litany of Trump enemies invoked post-Stone conviction by the president, as if it had any bearing on what had just occurred [emphasis on “they” ours]:

So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come. Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele & all of the others, including even Mueller himself? Didn’t they lie? A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?

UC Berkeley Law Prof. Orin Kerr and others quickly noted the president’s use of the word “they” [i.e. blaming no one in particular for Stone’s conviction while suggesting that a railroading had taken place].

Kerr pointed out the Trump appointees and the Trump Justice Department — which is often accused, by the way, of carrying water for the president — has prosecuted these cases and gotten convictions.

“‘They’ is the Trump DOJ led by Trump’s political appointees. Why the Trump DOJ keeps prosecuting Trump’s friends, and why juries keep convicting them, is left as an exercise for the reader,” Kerr said, before quipping, “Trump is like the pro se litigant who insists the judge is biased because he loses every motion he files.”

Kerr was not the only one to clarify what “they” meant in this context.

Former Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter said the president threw a “hissy fit.”

Attorney and Lawfare executive editor Susan Hennessey noted that the president often “tries to tie ‘unfairness’ to controversial pardons he wants to issue.”

“Safe to say that if he attempts to pardon Stone here, that will become the basis for an additional article of impeachment and one that would be harder for congressional Republicans to ignore,” she opined.

Hennessey and others saw the president’s lamentation and immediately thought of Rudy Giuliani (the Southern District of New York probe of Giuliani is coming more and more into focus by the day).

Reporters et al. noted that this sort of thing (convictions of individuals close to or prominently employed by the president) keeps happening over and over again. It’s almost like there’s a pattern here.

[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.