The commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence by the president* was sadly predictable on two levels. One of them is obvious, the other, less so. As to the first, Stone was a conduit between Russian ratfckers, WikiLeaks, and the president*’s 2016 campaign. Subsequently, he lied to law enforcement and to Congress, and he attempted to intimidate witnesses to do the same. He was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced for these offenses.

Since his conviction, he has appeared in a number of places, stating flatly that he deserved presidential* relief specifically because he had stonewalled investigators. (Say what you will about Gordon Liddy, but he did his time. Say what you will about Richard Nixon, but he only accepted a misbegotten presidential pardon. He didn’t deal any out.) This was a straight-up Mob-style transaction, exactly the same dynamic by which John Gotti came out of prison more powerful than he was before he went in. And even if you believe that, in his sadistic heart, the president* liked dangling the possibilities before Stone, which I do, there was never a doubt about what he’d do in the end.

Read the rest of Charlie Pierce’s piece at Esquire.