Roger Stone is set to go to trial starting November 5, which is next Tuesday for the calendar impaired.
Very few people in this country deserve a criminal trial more than Roger Stone. One could think of it almost as a lifetime achievement award in that it is shocking he managed to go this long without having faced criminal charges. Yet, Stone is not charged for his lifelong tricks synonymous with crime, he is charged with obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to Congress, all in protecting Trump.
The evidence presented at his trial will touch upon aspects of the Russian investigation, a subject that Trump dearly wishes wouldn’t be brought up again, particularly now. People have largely forgotten about Trump-Russia, and bought into Barr’s “no collusion” summation. The trial, however, may force people to rethink the entire matter. Recall that much of the redacted material from the Mueller report involved Stone’s mischief. From a summation of David Corn’s work on the trial.
“Though the trial will determine whether Stone tried to bamboozle a congressional investigation, it could answer two bigger questions about the president: did Trump use or try to use Stone as a conduit to WikiLeaks, and did Trump lie to Special Counsel Robert Mueller? The former might not be illegal; the latter could be a crime.”
If Trump lied to the OSC, then it will impact every statement made in his defense at the inevitable impeachment trial in the Senate.
But that might be the least of Trump’s worries, because questions about “no collusion” could suddenly rise again:
“If Trump or his senior campaign aides thought Stone was communicating with WikiLeaks — whether or not he actually was — and they were receiving information from him related to WikiLeaks, that would mean they believed then that the Trump campaign had a back-channel contact to WikiLeaks as it participated in the Russian operation. Trump has long shouted there was ‘no collusion,’ but perhaps Trump thought at the time that he and his campaign were colluding. After all, a significant Trump adviser consorting with WikiLeaks at this point could be construed as some sort of collusion.
Why yes, yes it could be construed as collusion. More importantly, it will both prove, and reinforce, that Russia and Wikileaks were intimately involved in the Trump campaign at the exact same time William Barr is running around the world attempting to prove otherwise. It will also remind people that Trump loves it when shady characters of all types involve themselves in shady behavior with respect to our elections, on Trump’s behalf. As David Corn notes:
“This trial of a conniving Trump confidante who specializes in the political dark arts will be a reminder of the original scandal of the Trump Administration that has tainted and undermined his presidency,” Corn and Friedman report, “and it could add another big lie — and a possible crime — to Trump’s long record of wrongdoing.”
Donald Trump faces having his 2016 “dark art” political machinations exposed in the public trial of confidant Roger Stone at the exact same point in time in which the Democrats call the Republicans bluff and go public with open hearings on … dark art political machinations having to do with the 2020 election. If anyone deserves this confluence of bad news more than Roger Stone – and, speaking of criminal lifetime achievement awards – it is Donald Trump.
It appears that both are going to get what they deserve. Though, I will caution all of you, that Stone likely still believes he is better served protecting Trump, who has proven a willingness to pardon people who protect him. So, some of the testimony that would otherwise come out, damning Trump, may be withheld. On the other hand, Stone best be careful about relying on that hole card. The single worst time for Trump to pardon someone as payment for protecting him – a clear abuse of power – would be to do so while undergoing an impeachment process premised upon … abuse of power!
Not that it would stop Trump, but … God, this might be good.
We can only hope.
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