This morning Special Counsel Robert Mueller had the FBI arrest Roger Stone at his home in Florida, on a federal indictment including seven felony charges. Stone has long known he was going to be arrested, and he’s always played things – in public at least – as if he expected Donald Trump to pardon him. But Mueller just made a subsequent move which will ensure that Trump can’t get Stone off the hook with a pardon.
The president can only pardon people on federal charges. This means Robert Mueller merely has to coordinate with state officials on state-level charges as a backup. For instance, if Donald Trump had tried to pardon the likes of Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, the New York Attorney General would have swooped in. The thing about Roger Stone is that he lives in Florida – and the state’s Republican Attorney General surely has no interest in working with Mueller on backup charges.
But now comes word that the FBI has also raided Roger Stone’s apartment in New York City, according to CNN. What evidence trail will the Feds find in Stone’s New York apartment that they haven’t already found in Stone’s Florida home this morning? That part doesn’t much matter. The key is that this raid will establish Stone as having committed at least some aspects of these alleged crimes in the state of New York, which means the New York Attorney General has jurisdiction to bring state-level charges if Donald Trump tries to pardon Stone.
In other words, Roger Stone is absolutely going to prison, on charges that will land him a de facto life sentence at his age. No one ever beats the rap on perjury at trial when the evidence is this cut and dry. So Stone can die in a cell, or he can cut a plea deal against Donald Trump. He might bluster for a bit first, but we suspect he’ll flip. He has no other way out of this.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report