Over the past few weeks it’s become increasingly clear that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is zeroing in on former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone and his interactions with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the election. Mueller has amassed Sam Nunberg, Ted Malloch, and at least one other Stone associate to testify for a grand jury. Stone has resorted to one off-color response after another, and now he’s trying out a surreal new legal defense.
Nunberg turned over his email conversations with Stone to Mueller, according to the Wall Street Journal. Key among those emails: one in which Stone claimed that “I dined with Julian Assange last night.” Of course we know that Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for years. So now Stone is attempting to prove that he was lying when he claimed he had dinner with Assange on the night in question.
Stone has turned over his flight records and financial records to conservative pro-Trump site Daily Caller, which he claims are proof that he was in the United States during the timeframe in question, and not in London. We don’t view Daily Caller as a reputable news source, which is probably why Stone chose it. But the upshot is this: by his own definition, either Stone is lying now, or he was lying during the campaign.
If Roger Stone is lying now, Robert Mueller can surely get to the bottom of the flight records and financial evidence in question. If Stone is telling the truth now, that would mean that he was making up fake stories about his interactions with Julian Assange during the campaign to try to impress other people in Donald Trump’s orbit. That would make very little sense. In any case, Stone is now essentially resorting to an ‘I was lying when I said I committed a crime’ defense, which is a tricky one when it comes to credibility.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report