President Trump, meeting with Ecuadoran President Lenín Moreno at the White House Wednesday, clearly had other topics on his mind. In particular, the president touted his virtually unchallenged win in New Hampshire and blasted career federal prosecutors who recommended a sentence he deemed too harsh for his longtime associate Roger Stone.
Asked by a reporter about the Stone case, Mr. Trump said the prosecutors who recommended seven to nine years and withdrew from the case when the Justice Department objected to that recommendation should "go back to school and learn." All four prosecutors in the case suddenly resigned Tuesday, after the Justice Department bucked their recommendation for prison time and Mr. Trump declared the years-long recommendation a "miscarriage of justice." The president declined to say whether he will pardon Stone.
"I don't want to say that yet but I tell you what, people were hurt viciously and badly by these corrupt people, and I want to thank ... the Justice Department for seeing this horrible thing," Mr. Trump said. "I didn't speak to them, by the way, just so you understand. They saw the horribleness of a nine year sentence. You have murderers and drug addicts that don't get nine years. Nine years for doing something that no one can even define what he did."
Mr. Trump praised Attorney General William Barrin a tweet Wednesday morning, even as the Justice Department attempts to dismiss any questions of political interference. Mr. Trump insisted his tweet wasn't political interference "at all."
The president — unlike Senator Susan Collins initially suggested — didn't appear to learn many personal lessons from impeachment. Asked what he learned from the ordeal, Mr. Trump responded, "That the Democrats are crooked. They've got a lot of crooked things going. That they're vicious. That they shouldn't have brought impeachment. And that my poll numbers are 10 points higher because of fake news like NBC..."
Collins had initially said she thought the president learned a lesson from the impeachment saga, before eventually revising her statement to say that was more of an aspirational expression in nature.
Ostensibly, according to the White House, the president's meeting with the Ecuadoran president was intended to, "expand the new and positive bilateral relationship that the United States has built with Ecuador." And Mr. Trump and Moreno did touch on topics relevant to their two countries Wednesday afternoon.