For months now, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been hauling a dozen or more people in Roger Stone’s life, one by one, before a grand jury. Based on the details that some of these witnesses have since publicly shared, there has been no question that Mueller is planning to indict and arrest Stone on charges including Trump-Russia. The question, of course, has been when? Now we finally have that answer.
Robert Mueller has obtained an unofficial transcript of Roger Stone’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, and this has prompted him to request an official transcript, according to a new report tonight from the Washington Post. Why does this matter? It speaks to the charges that will be involved, and the timing of Stone’s arrest.
Mueller clearly believes he can indict and convict Roger Stone for committing perjury in his prior testimony. But he knows that he won’t receive the official transcript until the day the Democrats take over the House Intel Committee, which is two weeks from tomorrow. Mueller must have the official transcript in hand, in order to have the grand jury indict Stone. So now we know that Mueller is simply waiting until the first week of January to get the transcript, take it to the grand jury, get the indictment, and go from there. So why is the perjury count so important?
Based on what’s leaked from the grand jury, Roger Stone will be charged for conspiring with WikiLeaks and Russian hackers during the election, and he’ll also be charged for another of his other political schemes over the years. Perjury is a far less serious charge, but it’s still a felony, and it’s much easier to make it stick. If Mueller indicts Stone for perjury, it means almost automatic prison time.
Keep in mind that Robert Mueller’s goal here is not simply to arrest Roger Stone and convict him at trial, which he could have done a long time ago. The goal is to make Stone understand he’s screwed and has no chance of being fully acquitted at trial, so he’ll cut a deal. Stone says he’ll never flip on Donald Trump, but people like Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn once said the same thing.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report