Just days after Roger Stone appeared to violate his gag order by going through surrogates to air his thoughts about the criminal case against him, he appeared to violate it again by using Instagram to attack a CNN reporter’s coverage of the case against him. Then on Wednesday, Stone definitely violated the gag order by texting a reporter about Michael Cohen’s testimony. So why isn’t Stone in jail yet? There’s a reason for this.
The simple answer is that Judge Amy Jackson Berman hasn’t yet seen fit to do so, as it’s entirely a judgment call on her part. Based on her response during Roger Stone’s most recent hearing, she clearly took seriously the threat that Stone made against her life. But his subsequent antics have all been about trying to violate the spirit of the gag order without violating the letter of it, and while she can still nail him for that, she doesn’t appear to think it’s necessary. But there’s more to it.
At any time, Special Counsel Robert Mueller could ask Judge Jackson to revoke Roger Stone’s bail. She might or might not do it, but she’d at least hold a hearing and consider it. The point is, Mueller hasn’t even asked. So why wouldn’t Mueller even try to get Stone thrown in jail? The main reason for doing so would be to use it as leverage to try to get Stone to cut a deal. But no one expects Stone to cut a deal – at least not yet.
After Paul Manafort was arrested, Robert Mueller didn’t initially try to get him thrown in jail. Manafort instead ended up under house arrest, and he was quickly caught trying to tamper with witnesses. This ultimately made it easier for Mueller to finish Manafort off entirely. It looks like Mueller is now using the same strategy of giving Roger Stone just enough freedom to get caught committing even more crimes, thus making it easier to take him down completely.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report