Barely hours after all four federal prosecutors resigned from the Roger Stone case President Donald Trump has killed the nomination of the U.S. Attorney in charge of overseeing the prosecution of the president’s confidant, ally, and former campaign advisor, as Axios reports.
Trump had nominated Jessie Liu, the powerful U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, to become Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes at the Department of the Treasury.
Liu was slated to testify at her Senate confirmation hearing Thursday. In a curious occurrence Attorney General Bill Barr convinced Liu to leave office effective January 31. Barr then immediately replaced her with his hand-picked choice of Timothy Shea, a close adviser. Shea’s appointment, or at least his temporary appointment – he will need to be Senate confirmed – raised eyebrows because it skipped the candidate next in line.
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia leads “the largest U.S. attorney’s office in the country, overseeing a number of politically charged prosecutions that included the case against Trump associates Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and other spinoffs from the Mueller investigation.”
Now Liu appears to be out of a job and the question is, “Why?”
Is this retaliation for the sentencing recommendation of 7 to 9 years in prison for Stone? Was the White House concerned Liun would be asked about the Stone sentencing reduction?
“This was ‘the president’s call,’ according to a former administration official familiar with the situation,” Axios reports. “The decision, which was made today, has administration officials questioning the circumstances that led to Trump changing his mind — with the developments in the Roger Stone case today being the only new information they are aware of.”
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Jared Kushner Wrestles Control of Trump Pardon Process Away From Bill Barr’s DOJ: Report
President Donald Trump has taken the pardon process away from the Justice Department and given more direct control to son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi.
The president granted clemency Tuesday to a group of 11 political allies, Fox News regulars and others, and he has put together an informal task force overseen by Kushner to recommend and vet new candidates, reported the Washington Post.
The group has been meeting since late last year, after Kushner recommended taking away control of the process away from the Department of Justice.
One official told the newspaper that Trump was unconcerned about criticism of this week’s pardon spree, and said more pardons would be coming before November’s election.
“He likes doing them,” the official said.
Watch: Roger Stone Greeted With Shouts of ‘Traitor’ as He Enters DC Courthouse for Sentencing
Trump confidant and former campaign advisor Roger Stone arrived at a D.C. courthouse minutes before 9 AM, greeted by repeated shouts of “traitor!” as he walked to the door.
Stone is expected to be sentenced by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who has been targeted with criticism and harassment by President Donald Trump and his MAGA supporters.
Last week all four federal prosecutors quit the case after Attorney General Bill Barr intervened to reduce their sentencing recommendation, just hours after Trump posted an angry tweet.
Stone was convicted on all seven felony counts, including witness tampering and lying to Congress.
NEW: Roger Stone arrives at a DC courthouse for expected sentencing on his conviction for witness tampering and lying to Congress. A few onlookers yelled “Traitor!” at him as entered the building. https://t.co/Hp6XrotcJK pic.twitter.com/gv91mcYWaN
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 20, 2020
Trump Offered Assange a Pardon to Cover Up Russia Hacking the DNC, Wikileaks Founder’s Lawyer Tells Court
Assange’s lawyers “said Dana Rohrabacher, a former Republican congressman, had brought the message to London from Trump.” The attorneys are arguing that Assange should not be extradited to the U.S., claiming the case was political and not criminal.
“Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange… said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks,” Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s lawyer, told the court, relaying a statement produced by another Assange’s attorney.
The case, however, is not political.
Assange, were he to be extradited to the U.S., reportedly could face 175 years in jail if charged and convicted on 18 charges including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
Rohrabacher, who claims he does not believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, had earned the nickname “Putin’s favorite Congressman.”
The FBI in 2012 had to warn him the Kremlin considers him a valuable information asset – complete with a Russian code name.
In 2016 Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and other Republicans were speaking about Russia and Ukraine. McCarthy told the group, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
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