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‘The truth looked bad for Donald Trump’: Here are 5 stunning moments from the first day of Roger Stone’s trial

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Roger Stone, a longtime ally of President Donald Trump, finally faced a jury of his peers on Wednesday as the first full day of his trial began.

He stands accused of lying to Congress, obstructing Congress, and witness tampering in the course of the Russia investigation. Stone, who has spent a career billing himself as a political “dirty trickster” and is known for, among other things, proudly showing off a Richard Nixon tattoo on his back, denies the allegations.

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But the U.S. Justice Department maintains it has substantial documentary evidence to prove its allegations, and it began to make its case to the jury on Wednesday, some of which had already been laid out in Stone’s indictment.

Here are five stunning moments from the trial.

1. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky said in his opening statement: “Evidence will show Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee because the truth looked bad. The truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump.”

This was a wild moment all on its own. Many had argued that Stone’s trial would be embarrassing for the president, but it was remarkable for a member of Trump’s own administration to admit it so forthrightly.

2. Stone’s own lawyer does not paint a pretty picture of his own client.

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One lie the federal government has accused Stone of telling is that he misled Congress about his intermediaries with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. But Attorney Bruce Rogow said that this was all “made-up stuff” and that Stone and his allies were deceiving one another about being in contact with the organization.

“All of these people were playing each other,” Rogow said. “Trying to be important people, trying to say they had more than they really had.”

3. “To save Trump’s ass.”

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Prosecutors revealed a new email sent during the 2016 campaign from Stone to Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort, who had a long relationship with Stone.

“I have an idea,” the subject line said. The body of the email said: “To save Trump’s ass. Call me please. R.”

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This and other contacts between Stone and the campaign will be relevant to the government’s allegation that he lied to Congress about these communications.

4. “Tell [Mueller] to go fuck himself.”

The prosecutors presented messages between Stone and radio host Randy Credico, who was allegedly threatened and told to lie in his own testimony about contacts with WikiLeaks by Stone.

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“Waste of your time — tell him to go fuck himself,” Stone said in one of the messages.

“Who?” said Credico.

Stone replied: “Mueller.”

Other texts, already revealed, show Stone saying Credico should do a “Frank Pentangeli.” Pentangeli was a character in the “The Godfather: Part II” who lied to Congress.

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5. Zelinsky’s story strongly suggests that Trump lied to Mueller.

Prosecutors documented extensive phone calls between Stone and Trump himself, in addition to Stone’s contacts with the campaign. One of those calls came on June 14 — the same day it was reported that the Democratic National Committee was the victim of a Russian hack, a hack which led to the release of embarrassing emails by WikiLeaks. And the other evidence shows that Stone was corresponding with others who appeared to be in contact with WikiLeaks.

As Mother Jones reported:

The story that Zelinsky began telling at the start of the trial raised the possibility (or probability) that Trump and his campaign did interact with Stone regarding the WikiLeaks releases of stolen Democratic documents—and that they considered Stone a backchannel to Assange and his organization. (It remains an open question whether Stone had indeed obtained inside information on WikiLeak’s plans. Stone’s lawyers argued Wednesday that he only was sharing information that was already public.) Yet Trump told Mueller he had no memory of him or anyone else connected to his campaign communicating with Stone about WikiLeaks. That seems hard to believe.

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‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted

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MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.

"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."

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Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’

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President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.

According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.

"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."

"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."

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Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

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"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

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