Quantcast
Connect with us

Here’s why Roger Stone’s upcoming trial could deal a major blow to Trump at a perilous time

Published

on

- Commentary

The Ukraine scandal and the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump have been drawing so much media attention that previous Trump-related scandals haven’t been in the news as much — for example, the looming criminal trial of the president’s long-time associate and self-described “dirty trickster” Roger Stone. But the U.S. Department of Justice hasn’t forgotten about Stone, who will appear in court beginning on Tuesday, November 5. And Stone, journalists David Corn and Dan Friedman report in Mother Jones, could still be problematic for Trump.

ADVERTISEMENT

Stone is facing federal charges that include obstruction of justice and witness tampering. And when he goes to trial on November 5, Corn and Friedman note, he will also be “facing charges that he lied to Congress about his interactions with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign as the organization was publicly disseminating Democratic material stolen by Russian hackers.”

Explaining what Stone’s trial could mean for Trump, they add: “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.”

Earlier this year, Attorney General William Barr publicly released, in redacted form, former Special Counsel Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation — and most of the references to Stone in the report were redacted, Corn and Friedman point out, “because his trial was pending.” However, the journalists add that the Mueller Report “contains clues suggesting that the full story of Stone’s involvement in the Trump-Russia scandal goes beyond what’s publicly known — and that it implicates Trump.”

In 2016, Democratic e-mails were stolen by Russia hackers and given to WikiLeaks, which published them online — and Stone, in 2016, was in touch with both the Trump campaign and the Russian hacker known by the assumed identity Guccifer 2.0.

Corn and Friedman explain, “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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And as journalist Marcy Wheeler argued on Sept. 6., pre-trial documents indicate that Trump was in closer contact with Stone in 2016 than he told Mueller during the Russia investigation. Trump told Mueller he spoke to Stone “from time to time during the campaign,” but the documents indicate that Trump “spoke to Stone a lot.”

Trump denied recalling any discussions with Stone on a number of fronts, saying: “I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him, nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign, although I was aware that WikiLeaks was the subject of media reporting and campaign-related discussion at the time.”

However, as Wheeler notes, the evidence for the Stone’s trial included seven different phone numbers for Trump — four for him personally and three for his assistants and bodyguard — suggesting they talked quite frequently. And though he didn’t charge the president for any lies, Mueller did indicate in his testimony to Congress that Trump’s answers to the special counsel were not all truthful. Stone’s trial could shed more light on this claim.

ADVERTISEMENT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment strategy has clearly focused on the Ukraine scandal, largely leaving aside the Mueller Report. But as Corn and Friedman point out in their Mother Jones article, there is a connection between the two.

“In a way,” the Mother Jones journalists explain, “the Russia affair led to the Ukraine scandal, with Trump pressing the Ukrainian president to investigate — and prove — a nutty conspiracy theory that claimed Moscow did not hack the 2016 election.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Stone’s trial, they add, will bring back memories of the Russia investigation at a time when the House will be weighing whether or not Trump’s Ukraine-related activities should result in articles of impeachment against him.

“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.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Italy’s COVID-19 death toll tops 10,000 despite long coronavirus lockdown

Published

on

The coronavirus toll in Italy shot past 10,000 on Saturday and showed little sign of slowing despite a 16-day lockdown.

The 889 new fatalities reported in the world's worst-hit nation came a day after it registered 969 deaths on Friday -- the highest single toll since the COVID-19 virus emerged late last year.

Italy now looks certain to extend its economically debilitating -- and emotionally stressful -- business closures and the ban on public gatherings past their April 3 deadline.

"Is it time to reopen the country? I think we have to think about it really carefully," civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Joe Biden has one key coronavirus question he wants answered: ‘Where are the tests, Mr. President?’

Published

on

Despite the inability to hold campaign rallies, the 2020 presidential campaign is continuing in spite of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

With the response to coronavirus being the top public policy discussion in America, all eyes are focused on President Donald Trump's actions.

Trump had promised the nation that he would set up COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in the parking lots of big-box retailers but has so far failed to deliver.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Banks are causing a cash crisis by tightening lending standards during coronavirus crisis

Published

on

Major banks in America are tightening access to credit as coronavirus shutdowns put households across America in dire financial shape, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

"Banks and financial-technology firms are starting to toughen their approval standards for new loans to consumers and small businesses. That means many people could find it hard to get credit just when they most need it, as the novel coronavirus pandemic puts thousands out of work," the newspaper reported.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image