President Trump threw a hissy-fit of whataboutism on Twitter after his first campaign manager and longest-tenured political advisor was found guilty on seven felony criminal charges by a Washington, D.C. jury in the final trial stemming from the Special Counsel’s Office probe into Russia’s attack on our 2016 presidential election.
Roger Stone joins his incarcerated longtime business partner Paul Manafort, as the second former top official from the Trump presidential campaign to be convicted on multiple felony charges. Trump’s reaction to Stone’s conviction for covering up his campaign’s desultory relationship with Wikileaks involved blaming everyone in the world for the crime, except his longtime friend.
So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come. Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele & all of the others, including even Mueller himself? Didn’t they lie?….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
….A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
Stone denied having a relationship with Wikileaks but leaked Twitter Direct Messages (DMs) between himself and the London-based organization led by imprisoned Julian Assange showed otherwise early last year, revealing Trump’s direct link to the group.
Stone was fired from his position campaign manager’s role in 2015 but said that he continued to call the then-Republican candidate Trump to discuss business throughout the campaign.
A jury of nine women and three men only needed seven hours of deliberation to convict Stone on the charges of witness tampering, making false statements to the then-Republican led probe by the House Intelligence Committee into the Russian election attack, and five counts of criminally obstructing that proceeding. The New York Times reports:
“Roger J. Stone Jr., a former aide and longtime friend of President Trump, was found guilty on Friday of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election in what prosecutors said was an effort to protect Mr. Trump.
Prosecutors claimed he tried to thwart the committee’s work because the truth would have “looked terrible” for both the president and his campaign.”
The trial vividly revived the findings of the Muller Report, explaining how Stone and so many others illegally obstructed the investigators looking for coordination between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks, a once nonpartisan journalism organization who ultimately acted as the dissemination point for emails Russian hackers stole from the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and messages stolen from former Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta.
In its most revealing moment, convicted former Deputy Trump Campaign Chairman Rick Gates appeared at the end of the proceedings to testify that President Trump acquired foreknowledge from Roger Stone of Wikileaks’s plans to release hacked emails all the way back in April 2016, which is why the now-convicted “dirty trickster” lied to cover it all up. That testimony strongly appears to prove that Trump lied to the Special Counsel in his written answers to questions about the Russian hack and dump operation, which would be a crime.
Roger Stone’s apparent foreknowledge of Wikileaks’ role as the point organization to share thousands of private emails drew immediate attention during the 2016 campaign resulting in FBI complaints. But mainstream news outlets were so focused on reporting the often mundane contents of Democratic emails, the criminality of coordinating a presidential campaign with the front group for a foreign intelligence service was lost upon the public in real-time. Meanwhile, Donald Trump mentioned Wikileaks at his October 2016 presidential campaign rallies at least 137 times according to Politifact who omitted references that weren’t by name, and a report by ThinkProgress says he referenced them 164 times in the ‘last month’ of the election.
At a public hearing in front of the House Intelligence Committee this past July, Special Counsel Mueller testified that it was an “understatement” to call Trump’s promotion of Wikileaks “problematic.”
Roger Stone’s criminal conviction for covering up his links to Wikileaks after former Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon testified against him, raises the possibility of the former Breitbart editor becoming a star witness for future criminal charges against Donald Trump when he leaves the office.
Stone was released on pre-sentencing bail at the end of today’s trial, but the gag-order which prevented him from publicly discussing his case will remain through his sentencing hearing which is expected in early February. Now, the political operative with Richard Nixon tattooed on his back who in the 1970s avoided criminal culpability during Watergate for spying on Democratic campaigns, went on to co-create the “Torturer’s Lobby” in the 1980s, and rise to relevance again with Donald Trump one last time in the 2010’s is a multiply convicted felon and facing a yearslong jail sentence.
Jackson says she's looking at sentencing for Stone in early February.
— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) November 15, 2019
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Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.