A prosecutor with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel probe is being investigated for falsely testifying to Congress that political appointees at the Department of Justice applied undue pressure on career supervisors in the case of Roger Stone, the Washington Post quietly noted on Friday.
“Three career supervisors in the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office have disputed the sworn congressional testimony given by a former prosecutor on Robert S. Mueller III’s team, telling Justice Department officials they believe he mischaracterized communications with them about undue political pressure in the criminal case against President Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Post reported.
When prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky testified to alleged political pressure before the House Judiciary Committee in June, it was major news.
“Federal prosecutor who withdrew from Roger Stone case to tell Congress of political pressure from DOJ,” blared CBS News.
“A prosecutor’s blistering rebuke of Barr’s politicized Justice Department, annotated,” was the blistering headline at the Washington Post.
“Prosecutor Details High-Level Pressure to Go Easy on Roger Stone,” wrote Courthouse News Service.
“Ex-Roger Stone Prosecutor: DOJ Under ‘Heavy Pressure’ to Spare Trump’s Friend,” claimed The Daily Beast.
CNN dutifully highlighted the claim with the headline, “Ex-Stone prosecutor says Stone treated differently ‘because of his relationship to the President.’”
CNBC went with, “Ex-Roger Stone prosecutor tells Congress of pressure from ‘highest levels’ to give Trump ally ‘a break.’”
“Roger Stone Prosecutor Says DOJ Leaders Applied ‘Heavy Pressure’ To Cut Him A Break,” Huffington Post wrote.
“DOJ gave Roger Stone favorable treatment because he is an ally of the president, prosecutor says,” announced USA Today, while Al Jazeera went with, “US Justice officials faced ‘heavy pressure’ in Roger Stone case.”
It was major news. So was the revelation that the inspector general was reviewing the issue, as House Democrats had called for.
“Justice Department internal watchdog is investigating Roger Stone’s sentencing, say sources,” announced NBC News.
“Justice Dept. watchdog to review handling of Roger Stone sentencing recommendation,” the Washington Post headlined its article.
“The inspector general is examining Attorney General William Barr’s unusual intervention in the criminal case against Donald Trump’s longtime adviser,” said Politico.
No outlet other than the Post revealed that the investigation discovered three career prosecutors disputing Zelinsky’s well-publicized claims.
The Post wrote that Zelinsky already admitted he never discussed the Stone case with Attorney General William Barr, Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, or then-acting U.S. Attorney Tim Shea. He claimed he spoke with supervisors and that he “repeatedly” heard about political pressure.
When Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asked him to identify those supervisors, he mentioned three: fraud chief J.P. Cooney, U.S. attorney first assistant Alessio Evangelista, and an unnamed criminal chief. He said it was his “understanding” they’d been pressured by the political appointees.
That the Post is reporting that three career supervisors are disputing Zelinsky’s claims about three career supervisors is a problem.