Robert Mueller has always been a prosecutor who maintained his professionalism even as “president” Donald Trump and his cronies attacked him. Trump’s latest move of granting clemency to Roger Stone has driven Mueller to speak in an “all bets are off” Washington Post opinion. His work has been excoriated by Trump enablers and supporters, and he has been accused of malfeasance. Yet, Mueller remained quiet — until now.
Mueller wrote about his office’s work and was clear that indictments, guilty pleas, and convictions “should speak for themselves.” In a normal climate, they would, but we are not exactly living in any sense of normalcy while “president” Donald Trump remains in office. Because of all the falsehoods circulating about Mueller’s investigation, he not only chose to speak but to state specifically what led to the investigation and to Roger Stone.
Mueller states that the FBI uncovered evidence that Russians had reached out to the Trump campaign to provide “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, an offer which Trump’s campaign — including Trump’s son, Don, Jr. — readily accepted. Mueller viewed this “help” as a clear attack on our democracy, and it was. Mueller shared that Roger Stone became a target of their investigation for two reasons: They had intercepted communications between Stone and known Russian intelligence officials, and he had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks’ dump of Clinton campaign emails that had been stolen by those same Russian intelligence officials. That alone was enough to reveal Stone’s guilt, but Mueller, with the assistance of the FBI, continued investigating to find more damning information. As Mueller so eloquently points out, Stone was no “victim.”
Roger Stone repeatedly lied to Congress once he was required to testify, which set the stage for his conviction. He was ultimately convicted by a jury of his peers for lying to Congress, lying about the identity of his WikiLeaks conspirator and written communications with him, and lying in his denial that he communicated with Trump campaign officials. The investigation found that, in fact, Stone repeatedly updated Trump campaign officials, and he tampered with a witness by attempting to get him to lie to Congress. These crimes are clearly outlined, and again, Stone was convicted by a jury, not by Mueller. All Mueller could do was present the facts to the grand jury, which indicted Stone.
Many believe that Stone was granted clemency to keep him quiet about other secrets he may hold about Trump. There is no proof of that claim, but certainly it seems likely. What other reason can Trump have to continue to make himself look complicit in the Russia investigation that he to this day continues to call a “hoax?” If it were a hoax, there would be no reason to lie or try to cover tracks, but we know it was no hoax. Mueller and the FBI followed the letter of the law in their investigations, and what they uncovered led to Stone’s conviction. Mueller is correct that regardless of what has transpired, Stone is and will always remain a convicted felon. Nothing Trump can do will change that, and hopefully, Trump will be joining him after he is defeated in November.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years