Mueller charges Roger Stone with process crimes

Power LineThis morning brings news that Roger Stone has been charged in a seven-count indictment handed up by the grand jury in the Mueller probe: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering. Stone was arrested by the FBI in Fort Lauderdale this morning. The New York Times has just posted Mark Mazzetti’s story here (accessible here via Outline). I have posted the indictment below via Scribd. It’s all about WikiLeaks and a path senior officials in the Trump presidential campaign.

In all those alleged crimes, not a single one would exist without the Mueller probe. We already know Mueller is willing to basically make up false statements charges from whole cloth (based on interviews where the FBI interviewer didn't think there was any intention to deceive; see the Mike Flynn case). In this case we've seen the basic allegations before. Some of Stone's emails vaguely reference what WikiLeaks will release next, basically guessing what it might be, and Mueller is claiming that was actual foreknowledge that Stone is lying about when he says it was just a guess.

So the factual question is whether Stone was actually communicating with "Guccifer 2.0" or Wikileaks, or whether he was just bragging to puff himself up and give the impression he had inside information. Notably, Mueller has not charged him with hacking or conspiracy to hack, or anything related to hacking, and Wikileaks has denied communicating with Stone. Just to lying and "obstructing" (which probably translates to not cooperating and encouraging other people not to cooperate).

The media (CNN) was informed so they could be present at the arrest, which was a full tactical armed raid. That shows a certain amount of inappropriate public relations thinking on the part of whoever leaked the information. Did this guy really need a pre-dawn raid by a team of tactical FBI agents in armor, aired on CNN? No. The whole thing was staged for media impact.

Given the steady drip drip drip of incredibly damaging quotes from congressional testimony on this topic, and the failed attempt to refocus attention on Trump via the false Buzzfeed story alleging Cohen was ordered to lie, indicting Stone and arresting him in this very visible way feels like an attempt to redirect the narrative.

Another interesting question: Where did they find the money?

UPDATE: Borepatch has a good take on it.

UPDATE: Conservative Treehouse points out that someone above Mueller would probably be required to approve the raid. Who was that? They think it was Rosenstein, but Whitaker is Acting Attorney General and supposed to be the one supervising Mueller at this point. Finding out who approved a pre-dawn raid on Stone instead of just calling his lawyer, and the process that request took within the DOj and FBI, would tell us a lot about who is on who's side here.

This entry was published Fri Jan 25 11:24:30 CST 2019 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2019-01-25 18:28:17.0. [Tweet]

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