Suffice it to say that Donald Trump is having a rather strange week, even by his standards. Trump’s longtime “attorney” Michael Cohen is in criminal court trying to fend off an investigation that could send him to prison for life. Trump’s criminal co-conspirator Rudy Giuliani has just been introduced as his new “attorney.” Now Roger Stone, the closest thing Donald Trump has to a friend, is suddenly coming out against Trump. The Stone development might be the most notable of all.
Roger Stone is either an unhinged lunatic, or he does an except job of pretending to be one, or perhaps a little of both. Yet Stone has remained publicly loyal to Trump throughout the worsening Trump-Russia scandal, even as Stone has come under legal fire for the role he played in it. Now, however, something has changed. As everyone tries to figure out whether Cohen is going to cut a plea deal against Trump, Stone has decided to publicly attack Trump for how he’s treated Cohen over the years.
Here’s what Stone just told the New York Times about Trump and Cohen: “Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage.” So what just changed? Based on the timing, the Cohen raid has to be what changed Stone’s stance so radically. If Stone’s loyalty to Trump up to this point has been in the hope of getting a pardon, then suffice it to say that Stone just decided that it isn’t happening.
Maybe Roger Stone has concluded that Donald Trump is so hosed as a result of the raid, he won’t be able to pull off pardoning anyone on the way down. Maybe Stone has looked at Trump’s relative lack of public support for Cohen, and concluded that if Trump is willing to throw Cohen under the bus, then maybe Stone is next. In any case, Stone is clearly no longer counting on Trump getting him out of his legal troubles. So what is he counting on?
Either Roger Stone is planning to go to trial and try to defeat whatever criminal charges are brought against him, or Stone has decided he’s going to cut a plea deal, or Stone is now so far gone that he no longer cares what happens to him and he’s just lashing out indiscriminately. Take your pick. But Stone is clearly no longer on Team Trump. He just announced it for everyone to hear.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report