In the hours since Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted a dozen Russian government spies for stealing Democratic Party secrets and giving them to a number of U.S. individuals including Roger Stone, I’ve been making a concerted effort to figure out which Trump campaign advisers Stone might have given them to. But the joke is on me, because Stone just announced who his sole campaign contact was – and stunningly, he’s fingering Donald Trump himself.
Roger Stone is trying to make the case that he’s not the Trump associate referenced in today’s indictments, even though MSNBC and the Washington Post have sources who say it is Stone. Here’s the, ahem, defense that Stone just offered to CNN: “My contact with the campaign in 2016 was Donald Trump. I was not in regular contact with campaign officials.” Wait, what? Stone just very clearly revealed that if he received stolen data from the Russians and he passed it along to the campaign, he gave it directly to Trump.
There are at least a couple possible explanations here. One would be that Roger Stone panicked upon realizing he’s going down, and came up with the stupidest defense of all time. Another explanation would be that Stone knows exactly what he’s doing with this quote. Stone knows he’s about to be arrested for passing intel from Russian hackers to the Trump campaign. What better way to set himself up a lenient plea deal than to reveal that he can prove Donald Trump himself was in on the Trump-Russia election rigging plot?
It’s also possible that Roger Stone is naive enough to believe Donald Trump might actually pardon him, and this quote was Stone’s way to signaling to Trump that he’s willing to take him down unless he’s pardoned. But whatever Stone’s reasoning behind this quote, he just – wittingly or unwittingly – directly incriminated Donald Trump. Mueller was clearly looking to put things in motion by symbolically indicting a dozen Russian hackers who will never stand trial. It looks like that plan is already paying off.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report