On Thursday, one of the final loose ends from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation inched closer to being tied up as the criminal trial of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone continued.
According to Dan Friedman of Mother Jones, prosecutors showed particularly damning evidence in the latest day of the trial: audio clips of Stone allegedly lying to Congress.
Among the tapes were Stone telling Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) he only communicated with his intermediary with WikiLeaks “Over the phone,” and told Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) that “He’s not an email guy.”
“Prosecutors say Stone’s claim that [comedian Randy] Credico was his main backchannel to Assange was itself a lie,” wrote Friedman. “In fact, Jerome Corsi — a right-wing conspiracy theorist who worked with Stone to help Trump in 2016 — provided Stone with what Corsi said was inside information on Assange’s plans weeks before Credico shared other information about WikiLeaks. Stone also had written communications with Corsi that he failed to turn over to the committee.”
Ultimately, said prosecutors, Stone’s “state of mind undermines any argument that he did this in a conscious, evil, purposeful way to mislead the committee.”
“Prosecutors aren’t simply painting Stone as a liar. They also took time Thursday to portray him as a jerk,” continued Friedman. “Much of the evidence they presented related to Stone’s interactions with Credico. In October 2017, Stone told the Intelligence Committee that Credico was his intermediary with WikiLeaks. This wasn’t really true. Starting in late August 2016, Stone asked Credico, who was friendly with a WikiLeaks’ lawyer, to confirm information Assange had announced publicly about his plans, and pushed Credico to seek other information. But Stone had earlier received seemingly more significant information from Corsi.”
“On August 2, 2016, Corsi — who was in Italy at the time after traveling to London — emailed Stone: ‘Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging,’” wrote Friedman. “Stone immediately began touting those messages. In other words, Corsi was Stone’s original and most important connection to WikiLeaks — information that Stone hid from the committee.”
Additionally, said prosecutors, “Stone bombarded Credico with insults and what prosecutors say were threats aimed at discouraging Credico from cooperating with Mueller or other investigators. ‘Prepare to die c**k sucker,’ Stone messaged Credico on April 9, 2018.”
Stone denies the charges, claiming that the records he did not turn over to Congress weren’t relevant to the investigation, and also insists that his expletive-laced message to Credico wasn’t a threat — it was simply a reference to Credico’s terminal prostate cancer diagnosis.
“Stone’s defense must still present its case. But the trial has not started well for the famed dirty trickster,” concluded Friedman.
MEANWHILE — Stone’s trial appears to reveal that Trump lied to Mueller.
Oh, this could be big.
Courtesy of Mother Jones:
Prosecutors have revealed new information about how Trump tried to benefit from the Russian operation during the 2016 campaign that hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers. And they are producing material undercutting Trump’s claim to Mueller that he has no recollection of talking to Stone during the campaign about WikiLeaks. This information also presents a new wrinkle in the Trump-Russia scandal: Trump might have thought in 2016 that his campaign, in effect, was colluding with WikiLeaks. That’s because the campaign was communicating with Stone about WikiLeaks’ plans and intentions and campaign officials (and perhaps Trump) believed Stone was in contact with WikiLeaks.
“The evidence in this case will show that Roger Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee because the truth looked bad,” lead prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky said in his opening statement on Wednesday. “The truth looked bad for the Trump campaign and the truth looked bad for Donald Trump.”
One of the key points Mueller investigated was whether the Trump campaign had interacted with WikiLeaks or Russian intermediaries in 2016 when Moscow was using WikiLeaks for its operation to subvert the US presidential campaign (which was mounted in part to help Trump win). Trump refused to be questioned in person by Mueller and his investigators. Instead, he agreed to answer written questions on a limited number of subjects. Several of the queries Mueller submitted to Trump focused on whether he was ever told Stone had been in touch with WikiLeaks and whether he or anyone associated with his campaign had spoken to Stone about WikiLeaks. In his written response, Trump replied, “I do not recall being told during the campaign that Roger Stone or anyone associated with my campaign had discussions with any of the entities named in the question regarding the content or timing of release of hacked emails.” He also noted, “I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with [Stone], nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign.” And Trump, who has boasted of possessing a prodigious memory, claimed to have “no recollection of the specifics of any conversations I had with Mr. Stone between June 1, 2016” and Election Day. The impression Trump provided: as far as he knew, he and his campaign had had nothing to do with Stone and WikiLeaks.
Mueller’s report characterized Trump’s responses as “inadequate.” Zelinsky’s opening statement suggests Stone’s trial could show Trump’s statements were false.
Now I think we all essentially assumed that Trump lied to Mueller.
But if it can be proven in court I think the House impeachment inquiry may have just received a whole new angle to investigate.
What I am not sure of is whether the written responses are considered to be under oath or not?