Category Archives: Roger Stone

Fact check: Trump falsely claims Roger Stone was ‘never’ involved in his campaign

Fact check: Trump falsely claims Roger Stone was ‘never’ involved in his campaign
By Daniel Dale

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/factcheck/fact-check-trump-falsely-claims-roger-stone-was-never-involved-in-his-campaign/ar-BB10nOCE?li=BBnb7Kz

President Donald Trump has a long history of dubiously distancing himself from allies who have turned on him or found themselves in trouble.

He is now doing the same with Roger Stone, the political operative who was sentenced last Thursday to 40 months in prison for five counts of lying to Congress about issues related to his relationship with WikiLeaks, one count of witness tampering and one count of obstructing the congressional investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Trump’s comments about Stone’s relationship with his campaign have grown more inaccurate over the past two weeks. The President has gone from saying Stone “wasn’t even working” for his campaign — leaving open the possibility that he was accurately talking about the 2017 period when Stone committed his crimes — to falsely saying Stone never worked for his 2016 campaign at any time, to saying even more falsely that Stone was never even “involved” in his 2016 campaign.

Trump repeated the first version of the claim in a February 25 tweet attacking the jury forewoman in Stone’s trial, saying, “Roger wasn’t even working on my campaign.”

Facts First: Stone officially worked for the Trump campaign until August 2015, about a month and a half after Trump announced his candidacy. Stone remained an informal adviser after that and communicated with top Trump campaign officials in 2016 about the activities of WikiLeaks, according to witness testimony and phone records presented at Stone’s trial. Stone also communicated in 2016 with Trump himself.

What Trump has said

On February 12, Trump complained on Twitter about the seven- to nine-year prison sentence that prosecutors had originally recommended for Stone before being overruled by the Department of Justice. Trump added that Stone “was not even working for the Trump Campaign.”

This claim is arguably not false if you interpret it generously. There is no evidence that Stone was working for Trump’s 2020 campaign in the fall of 2017, when Stone made his false statements to Congress and engaged in the witness tampering.

But then Trump escalated.

“Roger Stone, just so you know, never worked — he didn’t work for my campaign. There might’ve been a time — way early, long before I announced — where he was somehow involved a little bit. But he was not involved in our campaign at all,” Trump told reporters on February 18.

Trump then said in a speech February 20 that Stone was “never” involved in the Trump campaign.

“Roger was never involved in the Trump campaign for president. He wasn’t involved. I think early on, long before I announced, he may have done a little consulting work or something, but he was not involved when I ran for president,” Trump said.

Trump’s relationship with Stone

The relationship between Stone and Trump goes back more than 40 years, though it has sometimes been tumultuous.

Stone, a veteran Republican consultant known for dirty tricks, led Trump’s presidential exploratory committee when Trump was considering a run for the Reform Party’s 2000 nomination.

As Trump suggested, Stone did do consulting work for his 2016 campaign before he announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015. Between April 2015 and May 2015, Trump’s campaign paid $30,000 to a Stone company, Drake Ventures, for communications consulting, then an additional $20,000 in July 2015.

Stone’s work did not stop upon Trump’s announcement speech. On July 19, 2015, more than a month into Trump’s campaign, the Wall Street Journal reported: “Mr. Trump’s top strategic advisers include longtime political aide Roger Stone, who ran his 2000 presidential exploratory campaign, and a team of relative political neophytes. Nobody besides Mr. Stone in the Trump inner circle has been involved in presidential campaign at a national level before. …”

Trump’s campaign announced on August 8, 2015, that Stone had been fired from the campaign, with a spokesperson saying he had been seeking too much personal publicity. Stone said he wasn’t fired, he quit. Regardless, his official work for the campaign lasted for 53 days after Trump’s announcement speech.

But that was not the end of his involvement. As in the past — “Years ago, I fired him and then he came back,” Trump told The New York Times on the day of Stone’s supposed firing in August 2015 — Stone returned to Trump’s circle even after he supposedly had been pushed away.

Stone, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign

During Stone’s criminal trial in 2019, multiple witnesses testified that he had been in contact with Trump and top Trump campaign officials in 2016.

Prosecutors introduced phone records that suggested Stone and Trump spoke repeatedly by phone in 2016 — sometimes on the same day as important news related to WikiLeaks.

Stone also communicated with his former business partner and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, then-campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates and then-campaign chief executive officer Steve Bannon. Gates and Bannon testified that Stone had communicated with them about WikiLeaks’ plans to release emails hacked from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee; Bannon testified that the campaign viewed Stone as an “access point” to WikiLeaks.

Gates testified that he was in an SUV with Trump in New York as Trump spoke to Stone by phone on July 31, 2016, less than two weeks after WikiLeaks had released the first trove of emails hacked from the DNC (by Russia, according to US intelligence agencies and special counsel Robert Mueller). Gates testified that, after Trump got off the phone with Stone, “he indicated more information would be coming,” an apparent reference to WikiLeaks releases.

Stone acknowledged in his testimony to Congress that he continued to talk to Trump “from time to time” after his official departure from the campaign in August 2015, saying some conversations were brief but some could last “as long as an hour.” He claimed that the conversations were about standard election matters like Trump’s prospects in key states, never about WikiLeaks. (It’s safe to say Stone’s word here should be treated with caution: One of his five convictions for lying to Congress was about his false denial of some of his WikiLeaks-related communications with the Trump campaign.)

In a written answer to questions from Mueller, Trump said, “I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him, nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign, although I was aware that WikiLeaks was the subject of media reporting and campaign-related discussion at the time.”

Prosecutors argued at Stone’s trial that Stone had lied to Congress to protect Trump. Upon sentencing Stone, Judge Amy Berman Jackson echoed this argument, saying he was “not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”

Regardless of Stone’s motives, Trump’s claims last week are clearly untrue. Stone worked for the campaign in the early weeks of Trump’s candidacy, and he continued to be “involved” in the campaign long after the formal relationship ended.

Judge in Roger Stone case rebukes Trump-backed conspiracies in impassioned stand for ‘truth’ and the rule of law

Judge in Roger Stone case rebukes Trump-backed conspiracies in impassioned stand for ‘truth’ and the rule of law
By Marshall Cohen
https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/20/politics/amy-berman-jackson-roger-stone-sentencing-trump-fallout/index.html

Washington (CNN)The judge who decided Roger Stone’s fate made an impassioned plea for the truth and the rule of law at his sentencing hearing Thursday, a direct rebuke of President Donald Trump amid the deepening crisis over his interference in the Justice Department.

But federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s intense appeal Thursday in a packed Washington courtroom quickly collided with the reality of Trump’s presidency.

Before, during and after the sentencing hearing, Trump promoted some of the same conspiracy theories that Jackson methodically dismantled while explaining her decision to send Stone to prison for more than three years.

And before the end of the day, Trump teased the eventual possibility of pardoning Stone, his longtime friend and political booster.

For about 50 intense minutes on Thursday, Jackson highlighted Stone’s crimes and condemned the scorched-earth politics that he and Trump championed for years, most recently in 2016.

Along the way, she debunked no fewer than five conspiracy theories that have found a home on Trump’s Twitter feed, conservative media outlets and Stone’s allies on the fringes of the Internet.

First, Jackson said it’s “beyond debate” that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election, citing conclusions from across the US government. But Trump has never unequivocally accepted these findings, and has publicly embraced denials from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Then, Jackson added, “This case did not arise because Roger Stone was being pursued by his political enemies,”, or because of Stone’s ties to Republicans, as Trump has alleged. Instead, Stone was charged because he told “flat-out lies” to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, then threatened a witness who could expose his lies.

All of the false statements, Jackson noted, were made “not to some secret anti-Trump cabal,” but to the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee in 2017.

This zinger was a clear shot at Trump’s claim that a “deep state” in the US government has tried to take him down.

The courtroom was hushed while Jackson summed up Stone’s crimes: “He wasn’t prosecuted for standing up for the President. He was prosecuted for covering up for the President.”

The split-screen day highlights how Trump knows the rules of the game and bends them to his own advantage. Jackson’s comments were uttered in a closed courtroom, where cameras are banned, with about 150 people listening. But Trump’s comments are broadcast live on national TV and amplified to his 72 million followers.

Tension in the courthouse

Inside the courtroom, as Jackson tore into the unfounded theories, Stone’s family, friends and supporters grew sullen. His stepdaughter leaned forward and pressed her clasped hands to her face. One friend hunched over in his seat, staring down at the floor. Another friend silently cried.

Jackson grew more intense as she defended the Justice Department prosecutors who tried the case but quit last week after Trump and Attorney General William Barr criticized their original sentencing recommendation, which asked that Stone serve seven to nine years in prison.

“Any suggestion the prosecutors did anything … improper or unethical is incorrect,” Jackson said, even though Trump repeatedly claimed they were “rogue” and “corrupt,” smearing their reputations because some of them worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“The truth still exists. The truth still matters,” Jackson said, echoing a passionate and persuasive refrain that one of the now-sidelined prosecutors made during closing arguments in November.

The jury convicted Stone of lying to Congress when he said he didn’t talk about WikiLeaks with anyone on the Trump campaign. The evidence showed that he discussed it with senior officials like Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon, and even Trump himself, Jackson noted.

Later Thursday, Trump falsely insisted that “Roger was never involved in the Trump campaign for president.

“The jury also found Stone guilty of tampering with a key witness, radio host Randy Credico, and pressuring him to plead the Fifth Amendment when he was asked by the House to testify. The pressure included profane language and violent threats against Credico and his beloved dog.

But Trump downplayed Stone’s conviction at an event in Nevada, aptly about criminal justice reform. He said it wasn’t as bad as the movies, where mobsters put “guns to people’s heads.”

“Maybe there was tampering (by Stone), and maybe there wasn’t,” Trump said.

The disgust over Stone’s brazen lies to Congress and efforts to impede an investigation into critical national security issues “should transcend party,” Jackson said repeatedly at the hearing.

After the proceedings wrapped up, Stone was spotted at a ritzy Washington restaurant watching Trump’s speech.

In today’s mind-numbingly polarized climate, which in many ways was engineered by Stone himself, Jackson’s appeals to America’s most basic virtues fell flat.

At the Palm steakhouse, Stone appeared calm, with his jacket off, and surrounded by his supporters and loved ones. He ate chicken paillard and watched on a cell phone while the President talked about his case.

Asked if he was expecting clemency from his ally, Stone responded: “I don’t know, that’s why we’re watching. The President is speaking right now.”

CNN’s Katelyn Polantz, Nicolle Okoren, Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.

‘The American people cared. And I care.’ Top lines from Judge Amy Berman Jackson during the Roger Stone sentencing

‘The American people cared. And I care.’ Top lines from Judge Amy Berman Jackson during the Roger Stone sentencing
By Dan Berman CNN
https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/20/politics/amy-berman-jackson-quotes/index.html

Washington (CNN)Judge Amy Berman Jackson, as she sentenced Roger Stone to 40 months in prison, gave a lengthy speech extolling truth and the rule of law to a rapt courtroom on Thursday.Jackson appeared to criticize President Donald Trump and others promoting conspiracy theories about the Russia probe. And she decried what she saw as efforts to undercut truth and democracy.Here are some of Jackson’s key lines, as recorded in a court transcript:

On the truth and the foundation to democracy

“At trial, the defense appropriately questioned Randy Credico’s credibility and Rick Gates‘s credibility, but it was largely Stone’s own emails and his own texts that proved the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. So what did the defense say to the jury on his behalf? So what? So what?”Of all the circumstances in this case, that may be the most pernicious. The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundation of our democracy.””And if it goes unpunished, it will not be a victory for one party or another. Everyone loses because everyone depends on the representatives they elect to make the right decisions on a myriad of issues — many of which are politically charged but many of which aren’t — based on the facts.

“Everyone depends on our elected representatives to protect our elections from foreign interference based on the facts. No one knows where the threat is going to come from next time or whose side they’re going to be on, and for that reason the dismay and disgust at the defendant’s belligerence should transcend party.”The dismay and the disgust at the attempts by others to defend his actions as just business as usual in our polarized climate should transcend party. The dismay and the disgust with any attempts to interfere with the efforts of prosecutors and members of the judiciary to fulfill their duty should transcend party.”Sure, the defense is free to say: So what? Who cares? But, I’ll say this: Congress cared. The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia that prosecuted the case and is still prosecuting the case cared. The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared. The American people cared. And I care.”

On the need for an independent judiciary

“This case also exemplifies why it is that this system, for good reason, demands that the responsibility falls to someone neutral. “Someone whose job may involve issuing opinions in favor of and against the same administration in the same week, and not someone who has a longstanding friendship with the defendant. Not someone whose political career was aided by the defendant. And surely not someone who has personal involvement in the events underlying the case. The court cannot be influenced by those comments. They were entirely inappropriate, but I will not hold them against the defendant either. “It would be equally improper to be buffeted by the winds blowing from the left, the enthusiastic callers who object to what the defendant stands for. I cannot and will not sentence him for the behavior of those he supports. Sentencing is personal, and it’s based on the evidence.”

On the responsibility of sentencing

“The only people who think this is easy are the ones who don’t have to make the decision. Many people weighed in, formally through letters, informally by calling chambers, pontificating on cable TV, and in blogs, op-eds, and tweets.”

On Stone covering up for Trump

“I have received letters urging me not to silence an important voice in the public arena, but that will not be an element of this sentence in any way. I expect he will keep talking. And as you’ve just heard when I went through the elements of the offense, he was not convicted and is not being sentenced for exercising his First Amendment rights, his support of the President’s campaign or his policies. “He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the President. He was prosecuted for covering up for the President.”

I very much admire everthing that Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in her sentencing of Roger Stone. She absolutely destroyed Stone, Trump and called out both parties. But of course? Traitor Trump did not care about any of this and continued his psychotic tirade on Twitter and at his Klan Rally.

We are in serious trouble with this bozo in the White House. We have to do everything we can to soundly defeat this ass-clown. We all know Russia is gonna go psycho on social media like Fascistbook, whose CEO’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandburg have proven they don’t give a flying fuck about honesty and truth on their platform, they are going to allow all the same shit to happen that got Traitor Trump such a fan base of liars and con-artists and scumbags. All Fuckerberg and Sandburg give a shit about is the bottom line of profits, not the truth and they have proven firmly in Traitor Trump’s side. Jack Dorsey of Twittler is allowing that piece of shit to use his platform to spread his lies and bullshit as he too rakes in the billions and goes to live on some isolated place away from all the trouble when the shit does finally hits the fan.

So we all gotta do what we all gotta do. Legally until it comes down to when the Mental Midget Moron Trumpanzees who have been spewing their white supremacist racist bullshit since a real President, Barack Obama was in the White House how they are going to drop their micro nuts and pop off and start their Civil War.

Yeah, it would suck if the mental midget morons did, a whole lot of innocent people have been hurt and even murdered by these psychopaths of Traitor Trump, and a lot more probably will be harmed before these violent, generational inbred, farm animal fucking, deluxe outhouse dwelling, sister and momma marrying shitstains on the underwear of humanity Trumpanzees learn another lesson of loss like their ancestral losers learned in the first Civil War and in WWI and WWII and don’t make a mistake, if they finally drop their micro nuts and pop off? There is going to be a whole lot of problems for us. But I also believe our greatest asset, the US Military and our Federal Law Enforcement are on it and it sure sounds like they are with all the Reich-Wing psychopaths they been rounding up for their crimes of hate, bigotry, misogyny, and pure fucking evil.

But we got to get off our asses. I love ya Bernie, but we need fresh blood and your influence does not go as far as others really. I loved ya when I lived in Burlington Vt when you were mayor. You proved you were a man of your word, though you got a few skeletons in your closet that will prove your own hypocrisy? I think Bernie Bros should sthu and stop their vile bullshit and bullying of others. What the fuck, you idiots act like the Trumpsters and you bring bad shit on Bernie himself. So why don’t you morons grow the fuck up and stop acting like the same mental midget moron Trumpanzees we are fighting? Unless you love being thought of as wasteless assholes???

For me? I am looking more for Mayor Pete, now that would piss off the Righteous Hypocrites ChristoTaliban wouldn’t it? And Traitor Trump and his minions. And I love Mayor Petes policies too and he has a damn good chance to defeat Traitor Trump. I also loved Tulsi Gabbard, both these people, Tulsi and Pete are the kind of leaders we need for our country, especially seeing they actually served in our military honorably and with sacrifice.

Biden is a fool, Bloomberg thinks he can beat Traitor Trump but he is another version of Trump with his misogyny and racism and bullshit and because he is a billionaire, another of those rich fucks who do not care about you or I.

So hold onto your hats ladies and germs, prepare for the occasion if these mental midget moron Trumpsters finally drop their micro nuts and pop off, especially if Traitor Trump does lose re-election, HUGELY!!!!