Political News

That time Roger Stone threatened a dog, and 13 other lines from the indictment

Posted January 25, 2019 1:38 p.m. EST

— The 24-page indictment of one-time Trump strategist Roger Stone by special counsel Robert Mueller's office reads like a novel -- intrigue, deceit and, yes, lots of room for interpretation.

Speaking in front of the courthouse after his hearing, Stone said of the charges, "they are false and I will be completely vindicated."

I went through the whole thing and picked out the most interesting, insightful and just plain odd lines from the indictment. (Nota bene: This isn't meant to be a comprehensive summary; it's just my musings while reading through the indictment.)

1. "STONE was an official on the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump ('Trump Campaign') until in or around August 2015, and maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump Campaign through the 2016 election."

This is important. Yes, Stone was fired as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign less than two months after the campaign started. But according to the special counsel's office, he was in regular contact with the campaign all the way through the election. He was part of the Trump orbit. (Side note: That Stone remained in steady contact with Trumpworld is yet more proof that Trump firing you doesn't mean he really severs ties with you.)

2. "STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1."

First off, "Organization 1" is WikiLeaks. Second, note that it says "senior Trump campaign officials" not "official." So more than one person at the top of the Trump orbit was allegedly coordinating with Stone to look into what WikiLeaks had and when they might release it. Third, this line poses the key question no one this side of Mueller knows: Who are these senior Trump campaign officials?

3. "STONE Made multiple false statements to HPSCI about his interactions regarding Organization 1, and falsely denied possessing records that contained evidence of these interactions."

In plain English: Mueller alleges that Stone repeatedly lied to the House Intelligence Committee about the nature and extent of his dealing with WikiLeaks. The indictment also makes clear that prosecutors believe Stone urged others to make false testimony about interactions with WikiLeaks.

4. "By in or around June and July 2016, STONE informed senior Trump Campaign officials that he had information indicating Organization 1 had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign."

This is BIG. But there's plenty of uncertainty here, too. It's not clear a) how Stone obtained this information that WikiLeaks had negative information about Clinton or b) who the "senior Trump campaign officials" were that he told about it.

5. "On or about July 25, 2016, STONE sent an email to Person 1 with the subject line,'Get to [the head of Organization 1].' The body of the message read, 'Get to [the head of Organization 1] [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [Organization 1] emails . . . they deal with Foundation, allegedly.'"

So Stone directed someone to find a way to get to Julian Assange -- the head of "organization 1" -- in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and find out what the next tranche of WikiLeaks stolen emails would say! And he believed -- it's not clear why -- that the emails had to do with the Clinton Foundation! It's not clear that "Person 1" was ever able to make contact with Assange.

6. "Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke -- neither he nor she well."

This is an email sent from "Person 1" to Stone on August 2, 2016 in which this person said he had learned that there would be "2 more dumps" of stolen emails on WikiLeaks. Three weeks after this email was sent, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani was on TV pushing the idea that the mainstream media was purposely hiding the fact that Clinton was sick; "go online and put down 'Hillary Clinton illness,'" Giuliani urged.

7. "On or about the same day, September 18, 2016, STONE emailed Person 2 an article with allegations against then-candidate Clinton related to her service as Secretary of State. STONE stated, 'Please ask [the head of Organization 1] for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30—particularly on August 20, 2011 that mention [the subject of the article] or confirm this narrative.'"

This seems pretty clear-cut. Stone, via an intermediary ("Person 2," who has been identified as conservative talk radio host Randy Credico), was trying to get Assange to coordinate release of stolen emails on particular subjects that he thought were particularly damaging for Clinton, according to the indictment. The indictment goes on to note that Stone followed up with "Person 2" the following day to make sure his message had been passed along to Assange; "I did," was the text message response from "Person 2."

8. "On or about October 4, 2016, the head of Organization 1 held a press conference but did not release any new materials pertaining to the Clinton Campaign. Shortly afterwards, STONE received an email from the high-ranking Trump Campaign official asking about the status of future releases by Organization 1."

Remarkable. Assange holds a press conference but doesn't put out another tranche of emails -- as Stone had been promising, according to the indictment. Shortly after, a "high-ranking Trump campaign official" emails Stone to find out what went wrong.

9. "Shortly after Organization 1's release, an associate of the high-ranking Trump Campaign official sent a text message to STONE that read 'well done.' In subsequent conversations with senior Trump Campaign officials, STONE claimed credit for having correctly predicted the October 7, 2016 release."

Two big unanswered questions here. First, who is this "associate of the high-ranking Trump campaign official" who texted Stone? Second, is Stone simply talking a big game about his foreknowledge of when WikiLeaks was going to release hacked emails and what would be in them? Or did he actually have a credible way of knowing?

10. "In the course of his HPSCI testimony, STONE made deliberately false and misleading statements to the committee concerning, among other things, his possession of documents pertinent to HPSCI's investigation; the source for his early August 2016 statements about Organization 1; requests he made for information from the head of Organization 1; his communications with his identified intermediary; and his communications with the Trump Campaign about Organization 1."

Short version: When Stone testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26. 2017, the special counsel says that he lied. Like, a lot. About all sorts of things related to his contacts with WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.

11. "On or about September 26, 2017—the day that STONE testified before HPSCI and denied having ever sent or received emails or text messages from Person 2 — STONE and Person 2 exchanged over thirty text messages."

DAGGER! This is the definition of being caught red-handed.

12. "STONE spoke to multiple individuals involved in the Trump Campaign about what he claimed to have learned from his intermediary to Organization 1."

The key question: WHO did Stone communicate this stuff to in the Trump campaign? Presumably, Mueller already knows, which means we will likely find out when he releases his final report.

13. "STONE told Person 2 that Person 2 should do a 'Frank Pentangeli' before HPSCI in order to avoid contradicting STONE's testimony. Frank Pentangeli is a character in the film The Godfather: Part II, which both STONE and Person 2 had discussed, who testifies before a congressional committee and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know."

A scene LITERALLY out of "The Godfather!" You can't make it up!

14. "On or about April 9, 2018, STONE wrote in an email to Person 2, 'You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds.' STONE also said he would 'take that dog away from you," referring to Person 2's dog. On or about the same day, STONE wrote to Person 2, 'I am so ready. Let's get it on. Prepare to die [expletive].'"

He seems nice! And since when did we get into dog threatening! Also, here is a picture of Credico and his dog.