There are numerous theories as to why special counsel Robert Mueller and “attack dog” Andrew Weissmann did the equivalent of smashing a flea with an anvil by sending a huge team of heavily armed FBI agents in the pre-dawn hours on Friday to arrest Roger Stone and raid his home. On Sunday morning, Roger Stone himself offered his own.
Out on his own recognizance –- as the judge in the case considers him no flight risk –- he went on the Sunday news shows to talk about it. “...I’ve been under investigation for two years,” he said on ABC News’ THIS WEEK. “I have destroyed nothing. But if I were going to destroy evidence, wouldn’t I have done it a long time ago? They could have simply called my lawyers and I would have turned myself in.”
“It was an expensive show of force to try to depict me as public enemy number one...it’s an attempt to poison the jury pool. These are gestapo tactics.”
I’m sure Stone would add that this is why they needed some TV coverage, which CNN very conveeeeeeeniently was able to provide. That way, a lot of potential jurors saw that raid. However, I wonder if this strategy could backfire, in that the government was seen behaving precisely as it should not have in this case. People who want to get Trump at any cost will love the effort to make Stone look like a dangerous, big-deal bad guy, regardless of the civil liberties trampled by the FBI in the process. Others, I hope, will be horrified at the FBI’s overkill tactics and find even more reason to distrust the special counsel.
None of the charges in Stone’s indictment relate to Trump or “collusion” with Russia, though anyone chosen for his case from the jury pool will likely be ignorant of that fact. Stone faces seven charges on witness tampering, obstructing a congressional inquiry, and lying to Congress during his September 2017 interview with the House Intelligence Committee, chaired at that time by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes. As part of their examination of Russia’s role in influencing our 2016 elections, the committee asked him about WikiLeaks and its release of material obtained from the DNC and Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta. Most likely, the jurors chosen for Stone’s case from that jury pool won’t know who Podesta is, either, though they will know who Hillary is and probably will have voted for her.
AND IN BREAKING NEWS...
Judge Andrew Napolitano said Monday on Neil Cavuto’s FOX News show that Stone’s trial may not take place for another year. That’s if Stone really digs in, fights the charges and fails to “cooperate” and give Mueller what he wants. In other words, this could go on a very long time.
Worst of all, the Stone case puts off Mueller’s final report on Trump, as he won’t be issuing one until Stone can be cross-examined. If Napolitano is right about this, it means his trial and the emergence of Mueller’s no-doubt scathing and highly partisan report will be going on during the 2020 campaign. As timing is everything, this is just as Trump’s opponents would dearly wish.