“[Roger Stone] was not prosecuted for standing up for the president; he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” — Judge Jackson, when sentencing Roger Stone to 40 months in prison.
Hours before the President exercised his pardon power to commute the complete jail sentence of a man convicted by a jury, that man made clear the President owed it to him.
“He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.” — Roger Stone
A more clear statement of a request for a quid pro quo (this for that) is not possible. Roger Stone effectively said, “I did this for you, and now you need to do this for me.” And Trump did.
Stone’s statement was laced with another message. It reminded Trump that Stone had not yet turned on him, but that he always could and that it still might get him a better deal with the court and prosecutors if he did turn on Trump. Whether, you view Stone’s statement as bribery of the President, or blackmail, or both (it can be both) it doesn’t matter. Trump is guilty either way.
The Federal bribery statute at 18 U.S.C. § 201 really could not possibly be more on point to this.
(c) Whoever —
(A) directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official; or
(B) being a public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, directly or indirectly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such official or person;
(2) directly or indirectly, gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any person, for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before any court, any committee of either House or both Houses of Congress, or any agency, commission, or officer authorized by the laws of the United States to hear evidence or take testimony, or for or because of such person’s absence therefrom;
(3) directly or indirectly, demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon any such trial, hearing, or other proceeding, or for or because of such person’s absence therefrom;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
Put simply, offering or accepting a thing of value, to specifically include “any official act” by a public official is bribery. Roger Stone bought the official act of the President exercising his pardon power in exchange for not turning on him, for refusing to testify against the President. The President accepted the absence of Stone’s testimony and granted Stone his commutation within hours of Stone presenting that demand for a quid pro quo to Trump. The bribery statute includes specific provisions for official acts to buy or reward a witness’ silence.
Yes, it’s really that simple. It’s open bribery, as defined by the statute, of the President of the United States. Bribery is specifically articulated by Article II, Section 4 the United States Constitution as a basis for impeachment. We need not quibble over vague terms about what constitutes “other high crimes or misdemeanors.” Bribery is treated, right up there with treason, as a specific basis for impeachment and removal from office.
The bottom line is that Stone himself told Trump, “you owe me,” and hours later the President paid up.
It worked, and nothing will come from it, because the American people have become so numbed to Trump’s open corruption that they don’t care anymore. Sadly, because Trump understands this completely, more corruption is inevitable.