On the first day of Roger Stone’s trial, he hid in the bathroom for about an hour and refused to come out – so day two couldn’t get any more surreal, could it? As it turns out, yes, because the prosecution began listing off some of the witnesses who are going to testify against Stone, and one of them is surreal.
The prosecution announced in court today that it’s calling Steve Bannon of all people to testify against Roger Stone. This is remarkable for a few reasons. First, it means the prosecution must be expecting that Bannon will cooperate and offer testimony that unambiguously incriminates Stone, or it wouldn’t be bothering with such a controversial witness. Second, it means that Bannon is going to be talking about at least some of the criminal antics that went on during the Trump campaign.
By his own admission, Roger Stone was communicating with Kremlin-controlled cyberterrorist WikiLeaks during the 2016 election, at a time when
Stone was working as a Trump campaign adviser, and at a time when WikiLeaks was strategically releasing emails that were stolen from the Democratic National Committee. The question has always been if and how Stone was coordinating all of this with Donald Trump.
Roger Stone is the one on trial, not Donald Trump, so Bannon’s testimony will be limited just to what he saw Stone say and do. But if Bannon happened to witness Stone communicating with Trump about WikiLeaks, or if Bannon knew of anyone else in the campaign who was coordinating with Stone on the WikiLeaks thing… this could get interesting.
Again, Steve Bannon’s testimony in the Roger Stone case will be far more limited than those of us sitting at home are wishing it would be. The prosecutors’ job here is to convict Stone, not to put Donald Trump on trial by proxy. But Bannon is as much of a wildcard as Stone is, and the two hate each other, so we’ll see where this goes. By the way, Steve Bannon and Roger Stone hate each other. Stone once tweeted that Bannon was a “homeless bum.”
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report