Roger Stone was just found guilty of various crimes he committed in relation to Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. He’s on his way to prison, where he’ll join Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, and others who have landed behind bars for helping Trump and Russia to rig the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
Donald Trump managed to just barely survive the scandal, even though everyone knows he’s guilty, because he made his underlings do all the dirty work. Investigators found the fingerprints of Trump’s advisers, friends, lawyers, even family members all over the Trump-Russia criminal scandal, but not Trump’s own fingerprints. He just barely gave himself enough deniability to survive the legalities involved. The thing is though, he lost all his best henchmen in the process.
No one thinks of Paul Manafort and Roger Stone as quite being geniuses when it comes to being criminal henchmen. But they were actual henchmen. Stone has been committing political crimes dating back to his participation in Watergate. Manafort was savvy enough to survive while taking illegal foreign payouts for years. These were mediocre henchmen, good enough to just barely pull off rigging a presidential election, just bad enough to get caught and go to prison for it.
When Donald Trump looked at his 2020 poll numbers and realized he was going to need to find a way to rig the next election as well, none of his henchmen were available anymore. He ended up having to rely on a mentally incompetent Rudy Giuliani, two cartoonishly inept stooges in the form of Lev and Igor, and the laughably in-over-his-head hotel executive Gordon Sondland.
It’s not just that these people ended up being terribly inept as henchmen. It’s that they needed far more hand holding. Donald Trump ended up having to meet with Lev and Igor at the White House in order to explain to them what he wanted them to do in Ukraine. Trump kept having to call Sondland on his cellphone and give marching orders, while others were within earshot.
Donald Trump got busted this time because his preferred henchmen were all too busy fighting criminal charges or rotting in prison, and he had to rely on even more inept henchmen, and he had to put his own fingerprints all over the Ukraine scandal while trying to help babysit these new henchmen. If nothing else, the Trump-Russia scandal investigation left Trump’s cupboard bare, forcing him to get his hands so dirty this time around that he’ll end up in prison for it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report