Is Roger Stone Prosecutor Zelinsky credible? Not even close.
Former Department of Justice prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky was invited to testify before the House Judiciary Committee led by Chairman Jerry Nadler – the New York congressman with a reputation for extreme partisan stridency. That was pretty well established during the highly political impeachment hearings – and is seen again in this latest round of Democrat congressional investigations.
Having failed to have President Trump removed from office, Nadler & Co. are now going after Attorney General William Barr. Nadler is reluctant to impeach Barr because he concedes that Senate would not remove him from office. Funny … that reality never occurred to Nadler as he presided over the impeachment of Trump.
Foregoing even an impeachment of Barr, what are all the hearings about? One thing. To muddy up the Trump administration before for the November election. It is entirely a political gambit with no policy or legislative benefit.
To put on a good show, Nadler led off with Zelinsky. He is not only a long-time DOJ employee; he is part of the team of Department officials who were members of the original #NeverTrump Resistance Movement. He is part of that “insurance policy” to which Zelinsky’s DOJ colleague, Peter Strzok, referred in his comforting email to his paramour, Lisa Page, when she was distraught over Trump’s election.
Zelinsky opened his remarks with the customary claim that he – and everyone else in the DOJ (except those he does not like) – operate totally in the public interest. They do not take political considerations into account when doing their jobs. He apparently believes that the bigger the lie, the more it is believed. Within the bureaucracy, the Justice Department is one of the MOST political operations. They routinely prosecute or not prosecute based on political considerations.
The DOJ is the farm team for elected offices. Just check out how many members of Congress and governors are former prosecutors – and also those in the media. You would expect the major names in news would be educated as journalists. But nooooo! They are lawyers and prosecutors.
Zelinsky was part of the team that operated under Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Make no mistake about it, most of those working for Mueller were out to get Trump – both for reasons of politics and personal pride. Zelinsky was also on the prosecutorial team in the Stone case. He has – and had — a vested interest in getting Stone convicted and sentenced to the longest prison term possible. Zelinsky did NOT testify before the Nadler committee as an impartial witness – but rather as a conflicted witness.
Zelinsky’s role on the national stage was to accuse the DOJ of politicization under the leadership of Barr – specifically, that under pressure from the White House, Roger Stone, was given special treatment. Zelinsky testified that other officials in the Department told him of the pressure coming from the Oval Office – and the response from Barr and others handling the Stone case.
But … it is critical to understand what happened in the Stone case. The prosecutorial team recommended an unusually harsh sentencing – seven to ten years in prison. The DOJ, under Barr, withdrew their recommendation and proposed no recommended sentence – leaving it completely up to Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The Judge eventually sentenced Stone to a little over three years in prison and two years of probation — LESS than half of the original recommendation by the prosecutors. That means that even Judge Jackson – who could have imposed the maximum ten years — thought the original recommendation of the prosecutors was excessive.
In other words, if politics was playing a role in Stone’s sentencing, it was the politics of the prosecutors who were trying to excessively punish Stone. If Stone was treated differently, it was against him – not in his favor.
Also … like many of the witnesses in the impeachment hearings, Zelinsky was not a first-hand witness. He had no personal knowledge or evidence of the accusations he was making. They were all based on what others may – or may not – have told him. At best, he might have misunderstood conversations or was exaggerating – or at worst, he is outright lying.
The DOJ issued this response to the Zelinsky testimony.
“Notably, Mr. Zelinsky, a line prosecutor, did not have any discussion with the Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney, or any other member of political leadership at the Department about the sentencing; instead, Mr. Zelinksy’s allegations concerning the U.S. Attorney’s motivation are based on his own interpretation of events and hearsay (at best), not first-hand knowledge,”
While the fawning press builds up Zelinsky’s superficial credibility by emphasizing his law background and DOJ experience, they do not mention his conflicted interests. They also refrain from noting something that Zelinsky most surely knows. If he were to have made those same statements in a real court-of-law, they would have been stricken from the record as hearsay testimony – not admissible.
In other words, Zelinsky was merely passing on rumors – watercooler conversations. His testimony was intended to reinforce a propagandized political narrative. It was never evidentiarily sound.
So, why did the DOJ give him — and others like him – permission to testify. The proponents of the anti-Trump political narratives claim it was because public pressure forced Barr’s hand. (Pardon me while I laugh). The more likely reason is that they understood that Zelinsky’s testimony – as emphatic as he was at the moment – will not hold up well over time. And that time could be when Barr, himself, has agreed to appear before the Judiciary Committee on July 28th. Despite the homage of the press, Zelinsky is simply NOT a credible witness.
So, there ‘tis