Saturday, January 26, 2019

Stoned Again Russiagate

As you might expect, lot's of material on the indictment and early morning arrest of Roger Stone on a variety of crimes apparently caused by the Special Counsel investigation of him. Never-Trumper Patterico: Roger Stone Indicted and Arrested; Is there any sweeter way to begin the weekend? New York Times: WaPoo: Mueller charges Stone, striking deep inside Trump’s inner circle. and boy are they thrilled.
The 24-page document goes further than Mueller ever has toward answering the core question of his probe: Did Trump or those close to him try to conspire with the Kremlin? The indictment notes that before Stone’s alleged actions in the summer of 2016, the Democratic National Committee announced it had been hacked by Russian government operatives, implying that Stone must have known that.

It does not allege Stone conspired with anyone but suggests his mission was to find out how the stolen material would be made public — something that, on its own, would not necessarily constitute a crime.
Which is bullshit, because around that time it was well known that Clinton and the DNC were sloppy with e-mail, and we suspected any foreign power with half a brain was monitoring them. It's still not clear that it was the Russians that leaked to Wikileaks. I hope Stone's lawyers are willing to force Mueller to make that case. But John Podesta is pretty happy: It might now be Roger Stone’s time in the barrel. But it might be his turn next, for all that unregistered foreign lobbying.

 From the Wombat's  In The Mailbox: 01.25.19, Power Line: Roger Stone’s Arrest – What’s Scandalous & What Isn’t,
The salient point is that Mueller’s indictment of Stone confirms that the Trump campaign had nothing to do with the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee or their publication by Wikileaks. The allegations against Stone all have to do with what happened after Wikileaks dumped the first batch of DNC emails. Stone tried–unsuccessfully–to get in touch with Julian Assange or someone else who could tell him whether Wikileaks had more emails, and if so, what they contained. As Byron points out, everyone in the political world, in the Summer of 2016, was trying to find out whether Wikileaks had more DNC emails, and if so, what they contained.

There is nothing wrong with what Stone did. Mueller charges, rather, that Stone lied to a Congressional committee about his actions. If that is true, Stone is in trouble. But the charges against him do not support the theory that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to invade the DNC’s email system. On the contrary, the Stone story is just more confirmation that the Trump campaign had nothing to do with it.
It is, however, curious that Stone and Cohen are the only two people in years to be charged with lying to Congress, despite many  opportunities (Clapper, Brennan and Hillary spring to mind).
Now, for what is truly scandalous about Roger Stone’s arrest: the manner in which it was carried out. The arrest was preserved on video because someone–presumably either the FBI or Mueller’s team–tipped off CNN, and CNN had cameras stationed in front of Stone’s residence at 5:00 in the morning. The video shows a dozen heavily armed FBI agents carrying out what can fairly be described as a paramilitary operation against Stone’s home. Why? Was there some reason to think Stone was so dangerous that it required a pre-dawn raid by a dozen agents with AR-15s to take him into custody?

No such claim has been made, nor would it be plausible. The show that Mueller and the FBI put on for the cameras of their political ally, CNN, was a disgrace.
Victory Girls: CNN “Just Happens” To Be On Scene For Roger Stone’s Arrest – Who Tipped Them Off? My guess is Andrew Weissman. EBL, CNN Celebrates It's Own Stone Crab Festival. Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, So The FBI Staged Quite The Show In Arresting Roger Stone. AllahPundit thinks they were playing the odds based on a Grand Jury meeting in  How Did CNN Get Tipped Off To The FBI Raid At Roger Stone’s House? But that wouldn't explain the drawn guns and bullet proof vests.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Stone Indictment: Conduit Between Wikileaks And Trump Campaign? Mueller would like to imply that. But again, not a crime, even if he did. Are we holding Bruce Ohr, Hillary Clinton, and  Perkins Coie criminal for their passage of Russian material to the DNC? CNBC, alleges that Steve Bannon is the 'high-ranking' Trump official in Roger Stone indictment who asked about future WikiLeaks releases in October 2016.

Jacob Sullum at Reason: Roger Stone Indictment Describes a Cover-Up of a Nonexistent Crime
Credico thought Stone had no one to blame but himself. "You should have just been honest with the house Intel committee," he wrote in an email last May. "You've opened yourself up to perjury charges like an idiot."

It is hard to argue with that assessment. Judging from the indictment, nothing Stone did in connection with WikiLeaks prior to his congressional testimony was illegal. That includes his communications with the Trump campaign, his suggestion that Corsi obtain emails related to the Clinton Foundation from Assange, and his queries to Corsi and Credico about the dirt that WikiLeaks had on Clinton. Even if Stone had actually obtained and shared purloined emails from WikiLeaks (as many news organizations eventually did), it would not have been a crime. Lying to a congressional committee about those noncriminal acts is another matter. Stone's problem, like Michael Flynn's, is not what he did but what he said about what he did.
Quippeth the Instapundit: "When this was happening to Democrats, the press called it a “perjury trap.”" Nice Deb,  Alan Dershowitz Slams 'Typical Mueller Indictment,' Says Crimes 'Generated by the Investigation'
"This is typical of Mueller. He has found almost no crimes that occurred before he was appointed special counsel," Dershowitz explained, adding that Mueller was appointed to find Russian collusion and has "virtually failed in that respect in every regard."

"Almost all of his crimes that he's indicted people for are crimes that resulted from his investigation — false statements, tampering with witnesses, obstruction of justice," Dershowitz pointed out. "These are crimes that are generated by the investigation," which, he noted, "doesn't make them any less criminal."

"But it really means that there's been a failure to uncover the basic crimes for which he was appointed. Namely, before he was appointed, was there illegal collusion, illegal conspiracy with Russia?" Dersh asked.

"We don't find that," the professor declared. "In this indictment, he tells stories about alleged collusion, stories about WikiLeaks, but that's not the basis for the indictment. The basis for the indictment are all events that occurred after he was appointed. That's very significant."
Also the Dersh stating the obvious at WaEx: Dershowitz on Mueller move against Roger Stone: 'Trump is the target'
"The obvious purpose of indicting him on these obstructing and false statement charges is to put pressure on him to flip. That's the goal,” said Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus.

“Will he flip? Nobody knows the answer to that. Michael Cohen said he would take a bullet for the president, and he's become his opponent,” he said. “[Stone] said recently he would never cooperate and testify, and I take him at his word. But when he's told by his lawyer that he's facing essentially spending the rest of his life in prison, you never know what people will do."
More bad news for Stone at Bloomberg,  Roger Stone Draws the Judge Who Threw Paul Manafort in Jail  "U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a gag order on Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and later revoked his bail and threw him in jail." And from Da Hill, Former Stone associates indicate willingness to testify against him. "Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico, who have appeared before the grand jury impaneled by special counsel Robert Mueller and provided documents contradicting Stone's congressional testimony, signaled they would serve as witnesses if the case goes to trial."

Ace, who is primarily concerned with turncoat conservatives these days notes that both John Podhoretz and Jonah Goldberg from the National Review are making anal rape jokes about Stone. A Very Principled, Morally Virtuous Cuck Says Some Things

National Review Now Doing Forcible Gay Prison Anal Rape Comedy Routines. "Yes, moral scold and plagiarist Jonah Goldberg is now plagiarizing Fellow Fatty John Podhoretz's prison rape gags about Roger Stone." In which Jonah writes (after the gay sex stuff):
Moreover, lying to Congress and witness tampering are bad, too. That these are the charges Mueller is leveling at Stone lends credence to the appointment of Mueller in the first place. People are correct when they say that Congress is the proper venue for such investigations. But since Congress seemed uninterested in pursuing or exposing these lies, who else but Mueller was going to do it?
No, no, no! A thousand times No! Mueller was not appointed to find crimes that were generated after his appointment by the very acts of his own investigation. And curiously the Justice Department, under which Mueller is operating, also seems quite incurious about all the other instances of lying, leaking and obstruction that have taken place with the Hillary campaign, the DNC, the FBI and the DOJ itself.

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