Based on Steve Bannon’s testimony for the prosecution alone last week, it’s now fairly clear that the trial jury will convict Roger Stone on most or all of the criminal charges he’s facing. With little suspense remaining about the outcome, prosecutors have now moved on to exposing how Stone’s scheming with Russian cutout WikiLeaks went all the way to the top of the Donald Trump campaign.
Rick Gates, the Deputy Campaign Chairman for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, took the stand today. Gates testified that he was with Donald Trump during the summer of 2016, when Trump got a phone call from Roger Stone. Gates couldn’t hear the entire phone call, but Politico says that when it was over, Trump told him that WikiLeaks was about to publish more stolen DNC emails aimed at helping the Trump campaign. Vox says that only about thirty seconds transpired between the end of the phone call and Trump’s pronouncement that more dirt was coming. CNN says Gates testified that two Secret Service agents were in the car with them and witnessed this exchange – which makes clear that Gates wasn’t simply making the whole thing up.
This is remarkable for a few reasons. First, it helps establish that Donald Trump lied about the phone call in his written responses to Robert Mueller, which is a felony on Trump’s part. Second, it makes clear that Roger Stone really was directly or indirectly communicating with WikiLeaks about the stolen emails in some fashion.
Third, this means Donald Trump was knowingly participating in a criminal conspiracy with Roger Stone, WikiLeaks, and the Kremlin involving the receipt of stolen goods (which is a felony), and an attempt at using those stolen goods to alter the outcome of the presidential election in Trump’s favor.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report