Roger Stone is scheduled to report to prison in just a few days, unless Donald Trump is stupid enough to pardon him first, which would hand the Democrats a compelling talking point in the 2020 election about how Trump is a criminal. Even as we wait to see what Trump does, the whole thing just got a lot more complicated.
It was always fairly clear that Robert Mueller was only able to charge Roger Stone for a fraction of his crimes, before Bill Barr managed to shut Mueller down. Accordingly, multiple major news outlets went to court to obtain the search warrants in the Stone case, and today they succeeded. Sure enough, there was a whole lot more going on with Stone than what he was charged with.
The search warrants reveal that Roger Stone and Julian Assange were communicating in 2017, after the election. Stone assured Assange that if he was pursued by Donald Trump’s Department of Justice, Stone would “bring down the entire house of cards” by taking it to the “highest level of government.” Stone is clearly referring to his closest friend Donald Trump; the only question is whether Stone really was communicating with Trump about this, or if Stone was bluffing.
Either way, these warrants reveal that Roger Stone isn’t just some guy who lied under oath and then tried to intimidate the witnesses against him. He’s a guy who was conspiring with an international cyberterrorist against the United States. This makes it a lot harder for Donald Trump to sell the notion of pardoning Stone, because the blowback would be tremendous.
On the other hand, if Roger Stone has dirt tying Donald Trump to Julian Assange, then Trump has to worry about Stone leaking it if Trump doesn’t pardon him. Trump is now in a rather complicated no-win situation, with just days to decide whether to pardon Stone or let him report to prison. These search warrants also make clear that Attorney General Bill Barr committed felony obstruction of justice when he forced Mueller off the job before Stone could be charged with the rest of his crimes. Barr is going to end up needing a pardon of his own, or he’ll end up in prison as well.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report