Trump Advisor Roger Stone Found Guilty Of Witness Tampering & Lying To Congress To Protect Trump
Roger Stone, the longtime friend, advisor and ally of Donald Trump, has been found guilty on multiple counts of witness tampering, obstruction and lying to Congress in his efforts to obtain Russian-hacked emails that were damaging to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election bid and positive for Trump‘s campaign.
Stone, 67, was convicted of seven charges today, which result from his September 2017 testimony to a House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. The charges included five counts of lying to Congress, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstructing a Congressional committee proceeding. Stone faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, with sentencing set for February 6th.
Just another day when a president’s oldest political adviser is convicted on 7 criminal counts including lying to Congress and witness tampering during a break in an impeachment hearing in which the president’s tweets from the morning are described as intimidating by the witness.
— Philip Bump (@pbump) November 15, 2019
These were the last charges filed as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack on the 2016 election. Stone is the sixth major Trump ally to be convicted of charges brought as part of that probe, along with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, former Trump Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates, former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, and former Trump Foreign Policy Adviser George Papadopoulos.
Prosecutors successfully argued that Stone lied to and withheld documents from House Intelligence Committee investigators about his attempts to get Clinton-related emails that Russia had stolen from Democratic computers and gotten to WikiLeaks. Prosecutors said that Stone allegedly briefed the Trump campaign about what he knew of WikiLeaks’ plans “every chance he got.” In a written statement, Trump said he could not recall the specifics of any of the 21 conversations he had with Stone in the six months leading up to the election.
Several former members of Trump’s inner circle, including Steve Bannon, testified during the trial about Stone’s connection to WikiLeaks. “Roger is an agent provocateur. He’s an expert in the tougher side of politics, when you’re this far behind you’re going to have to use every tool in the tool box,” Bannon testified.
Prosecutors also said that Stone pressured and threatened comedian and talk show host Randy Credico to not cooperate with the House committee. As the Times wrote, “Credico said, Mr. Stone repeatedly played him as a ‘patsy,’ including publicly blaming him for his own misdeeds. He said he misidentified him to the committee as his go-between with WikiLeaks in the summer of 2016 despite his repeated pleas to Mr. Stone to tell the truth.” Jurors were shown texts between the two men, including one in which Stone wrote Credico, “You are a rat. A stoolie. Prepare to die.”
“The evidence showed that Stone not only tried, but succeeded in impeding the committee’s investigation,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis said in his closing statement this week. “A person who is acting in good faith would not say and do the things that Roger Stone said and did… It shows you exactly what was in his head all along: to obstruct the committee’s investigation.”
Trump tweeted about the verdict today, calling it, “A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?” In response to his tweets, NY Times reporter Maggie Haberman noted, “Stone was tried by the president’s DoJ on charges that prosecutors said included lying to protect Trump.”
….A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?
According to Newsweek, Stone has been attempting to use conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to urge Trump to pardon him. “Roger Stone’s message is this,” Jones said during Thursday’s broadcast of Infowars’ The Alex Jones Show. “He expected to be convicted. He said, ‘Only a miracle can save me now,’ that was exact words to me last night and this morning. And he said to me, ‘Alex, barring a miracle, I appeal to God and I appeal to your listeners for prayer, and I appeal to the president to pardon me because to do so would be an action that would show these corrupt courts that they’re not going to get away with persecuting people for their free speech or for the crime of getting the president elected.'”
Back in February, Trump tried to distance himself from Stone: “First of all, Roger Stone didn’t work on the campaign, except way, way at the beginning long before we’re talking about,” Trump said at the time. “Roger is somebody that I’ve always liked, but a lot of people like Roger, some people probably don’t like Roger, but Roger Stone’s somebody I’ve always liked.”
Stone, a longtime Nixon loyalist and political operative, has been long known as a legendary master in the dark arts of politicking, taking credit for the “Brooks Brothers Riot” during the 2000 presidential election recount and in the downfall of Governor Eliot Spitzer. A 2008 New Yorker article quoted Stone on his philosophy of politics: “Remember,” Stone said. “Politics is not about uniting people. It’s about dividing people. And getting your fifty-one per cent.” (Stone’s rule: “The only thing worse in politics than being wrong is being boring.”)