We’re at the point where Roger Stone knows he’ll soon be indicted and arrested, and everyone watching knows it as well. Even Donald Trump has surely figured out by now that his close pal Stone is about to face the handcuffs. The trouble for Stone is that, based on his history, it’s not difficult to figure out what he’s about to do next – to the point that he’s already trying to shoot down the notion.
Roger Stone somehow managed to survive Watergate, and he’s survived every shady political scheme he’s been involved in since. It’s not that he’s that lucky; it’s that he knows when and how to cut bait. The minute he concludes he can’t beat the charges against him, he’ll cut a plea deal against Donald Trump without thinking twice.
If this weren’t so obviously the case, Stone wouldn’t have to bother denying it. Instead Stone is out there doing media interviews and declaring that “I will never betray this president.” This is the kind of thing where, if you have to deny it, it’s only because everyone already thinks you’re going to do it. That means even the infamously oblivious and delusional Donald Trump probably thinks Stone is going to flip on him, because it’s that obvious. Stone knows that Trump knows, too.
Not that it’ll ultimately matter, of course. Donald Trump hasn’t bothered to try to pardon anyone else in the Trump-Russia scandal in an attempt at preventing them from cutting plea deals. The window for Trump pardoning his way out of this closed back when Michael Flynn and Rick Gates long ago cut deals and spilled their guts. Stone isn’t naive or stupid enough to think Trump is going to pardon him. Perhaps this is just Stone’s way of trying to convince Trump’s loyalists to send him money for his lawyers’ fees. But Stone is protesting too much. By even addressing the matter, he’s acknowledging that he knows everyone expects him to flip.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report