‘The President Was Right to Weigh In’: Right-Wing Lawmakers Defend Trump and Barr’s Handling of Roger Stone Case

Rep. Mark Meadows speaks at Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on September 21, 2018. (Photo: Jared Holt for Right Wing Watch)

In his stream-of-consciousness, rambling victory speech last Thursday, freshly acquitted President Donald Trump thanked his staunchest Republican defenders and lashed out at his political enemies. Those praised were quick to back up Trump yet again this week as the president dove head first into yet another controversy. 

On Tuesday, an emboldened Trump declared the Justice Department’s suggested sentencing of seven to nine years for convicted felon and personal friend of the president Roger Stone “a miscarriage of justice” and “a horrible and very unfair situation.” In an unprecedented move, the DOJ, with Attorney General Bill Barr at its helm, withdrew its sentencing recommendation and filed a softer one, suggesting the department was influenced by the president. Three career prosecutors resigned from the case and one resigned from the department altogether in apparent protest. 

Trump congratulated Barr “for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought.” In a tweet Friday, Trump declared that he has the “legal right” to ask his top law enforcement official to get involved in a criminal case but insisted that he had not done so.

Trump’s staunchest Republican defenders wasted no time weighing in on Stone’s case–Stone was convicted in November of obstructing Congress and witness tampering–defending Bill Barr, and even attacking a juror on the case. Here are a few of the Republican lawmakers Trump thanked and who defended him in turn.

Louie Gohmert

President Trump thanked Louie Gohmert in his victory speech, calling the Republican congressman from Texas “so great, so tough, and so smart.” The congressman has graced our pages for his homophobic remarks and for peddling in conspiracy theories

On Fox News’ “Trish Regan Primetime” Thursday, Gohmert attacked the jury that convicted Stone, repeating accusations circulated in right-wing circles that the foreperson was biased. Gohmert also called for the trial to be “redone.”

“When it comes to Roger Stone, you’ve done a fantastic job, Trish, of laying out just a handful of the problems,” Gohmert told host Trish Regan. “But when you have a juror like that, just like you’re talking about — and it’s the foreperson of the jury, the one that can tell people to be quiet, or ‘OK, you can talk,’ or ‘let me tell you’ — then you have a corrupt jury, you have a runaway jury that’s violated their oaths, and this needs to be all redone again. This should’ve never come to this.”

“Maybe have his trial right after the one for Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, all of these other people,” Gohmert continued. “Let’s bring some of those and have those hearings, before you go after a guy guns blazing at his home when he’s no threat to anyone.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Image: Voice of America, via WikiMedia Commons)

Kevin McCarthy

Trump applauded House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in his victory speech, for doing “an incredible job.” 

McCarthy didn’t see anything wrong with Trump interfering in the sentencing of his personal friend–in fact, McCarthy said the president did not interfere at all. 

“The answer to your question is no, the president is not interfering, because if you listen to the Department of Justice, they made the decision before the tweet ever went out,” McCarthy said in response to a reporter’s question at a press conference on Thursday. 

“There’s no issue here,” McCarthy said. “It’s just like everything else that the Democrats went to play. They do not have facts. All they have is a mission to impeach.”

When pressed further, McCarthy began attacking Rep. Adam Schiff before asking why no one will take the Department of Justice’s word: “But you have the answer from the Department of Justice that said the decision was made long before there were any tweets. But lo and behold, no one wants to trust that and believe that?”

Mark Meadows

Trump called Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, “an extraordinary guy … an incredibly talented man, not just as a politician but as a human being, he’s incredible.” Meadows in return told Trump, “We’ve got your back.”

Meadows thinks Trump “was right to weigh in.”

On Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Meadows agreed with a statement by former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy that Democrats calling for Barr’s resignation is about “the dumbest damn thing I’ve ever heard.” 

“We passed criminal justice reform. What we’re really trying to make sure that the sentence fits the crime. And yet, this was a prime example of where it didn’t do that,” Meadows said. “The president was right to weigh in.”

“Bill Barr, who is an honorable man, who is doing a great job, who ultimately will restore the credibility of DOJ, you know, they’re attacking him,” Meadows continued. “I’m going to stand by him and the president, not because of any political theory–because it’s the right thing to do. 

Asked if he had any reservations about Trump getting as involved as he has, Meadows said, “Somehow because he’s the president of the United States, he shouldn’t have an opinion? He’s right to have an opinion.”

Rep. Devin Nunes speaking at 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (Image from C-Span coverage)

Devin Nunes

Trump praised Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, in his speech for “going into a basement, into files” and knowing “something was wrong.” 

In a Fox Business interview Thursday, Nunes argued that the Justice Department had done nothing wrong.

“Clearly, seven to nine years is totally asinine,” Nunes said, before attacking the lead juror for being a “partisan Democrat.” 

“The bottom line is, is that it won’t go well here for the Democrats in the House with Attorney General Barr because he is a man of action and has had a great, long career and has been trying to clean up the mess that the dirty cops made in conjunction with the Democrats. It’s only what happens in a second- and third-world country,” he added. “Attorney General Barr is the man that’s trying to come in and clean it up.”

Ian Mahon contributed research to this article.