Roger Stone

Originally posted on July 11, 2020

Roger Stone is a long-time dirty trickster who most recently helped Trump win in 2016 by, among other things, coordinating the Wikileaks’ release of the Podesta and Clinton emails. Robert Mueller investigated him as part of the investigation into Russian interference in Trump’s 2016 election victory. He lied and threatened other witnesses and was convicted on all charges in November 2019 and sentenced to prison.

This treatment of a loyal ally has always rubbed Trump the wrong way. More recently he’s been tweeting about it, i.e.

So, late last Friday night (when it would be least noticed) Trump commuted Stone’s prison sentence. Notice that he didn’t pardon Stone. So Stone is still a convicted seven-time felon. The difference? If Trump had pardoned Stone, then Stone could be compelled to testify against Trump at the risk of being held in contempt of court – after all, the only reason you can not answer questions is self-incrimination, and if you’ve been pardoned that’s no longer applicable. And Stone has made comments that indicate he has a lot more information that he has so far refused to reveal. And Trump has rewarded him for his loyalty. This is apparently what Trump means by “law and order”. My ass.

Reaction was swift and almost universally condemned the commutation. Most interesting was Robert Mueller, who has largely been silent as Trump and Barr have worked to undo most of the convictions he obtained. No longer. Here’s the paragraph that stood out to me.

Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone. A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks’ releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress.

And Stone is not the first Trump associate to benefit from Trump’s sense of law and order. He and Barr have also interfered in the Flynn case. Trump is also the first president to pardon a murderer.

We all know that Trump only considers himself and his approach to “law and order” should be understood in that light. If the law is on his side, it’s legal; if not, it’s illegal.

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