Donald Trump rewards loyalty, sometimes, when he feels like it, and convicted felon Roger Stone is the most recent beneficiary of the Racist in Chief’s inconsistent and conditional generosity. Disgust at Trump’s commutation of Stone’s federal sentence (before the latter served a day of his 40 months) has been widespread since the move was announced late Friday, even if surprise is a bit harder to find. Trump, of course, can’t resist Twitter, finding time to ramp up his cries of witch hunts and hoaxes in between threatening schools and retweeting 2019 Misinformer of the Year John Solomon.
In an uncharacteristic break from his signature (and necessary) silence on the matter, Robert Mueller took to his own computer Saturday to defend his work and his team, and remind us just how dirty Roger Stone is. In a pointed op-ed for The Washington Post—titled “Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so”—Mueller tackles the Oval Office Occupant’s obsessive misinformation campaign against him and the massive investigation that made him a household name. Mueller’s concise summary of that investigation as it pertains to Stone and his crimes combines with an unflinching rebuke of both the commutation and Trump’s continued insistence that it was all a hoax—and comes in at exactly 725 words.
Sure, that’s not as short as a tweet, but Saturday’s Mueller op-ed is a whole lot more accessible than the 2019 Mueller Report.
You really should read the whole thing, if only because in Trump’s America, it’s hard to keep track of all of his bad acts. Again, Mueller recaps the investigation, with a focus on Stone, in an extremely snackable way after conceding that he felt “compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim” of the Special Counsel’s Office. After reiterating that “Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” Mueller quickly establishes the facts .
After briefly explaining the basics of the Russian interference and the decision to launch the investigation that took two years of his life and gave Robert DeNiro a recurring cameo of Saturday Night Live, Mueller minces no words when he zooms in on Stone, noting that he “communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers.”
Mueller then catalogues the end results of the investigation, noting that Russian interference was found, even if the SCO never could quite prove that the Trump campaign was involved. He adds up the indictments and convictions and plea bargains. In a few broad strokes, Mueller then details what the sartorially-challenged Stone did.
Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone. A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks’ releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress.
Mueller wastes no time listing the convictions, either, reminding us that just because Trump made sure his loyal buddy Stone wasn’t punished doesn’t make Stone any less a criminal.
The jury ultimately convicted Stone of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness. Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands.
In closing, Mueller endorses the work of his team, and leaves no room for debate. “The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity,” Mueller writes. “Claims to the contrary are false.”
And then, just like that, Mueller had said what he had to say.
Posted with permission from Daily Kos.