The Case and Curiosity Of Roger Stone

Roger-Stone-following-House-Intel-hearing
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Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent disclosure of the investigation of Roger Stone by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his links to WikiLeaks.  Whether it is his bizarre rantings on Instagram  or continually changing accounts.  Despite the recent focus of the media, neither Stone nor his account offer a strong basis for a criminal allegations.  Absent more evidence, the curious case of Roger Stone is likely to remain precisely that: a curiosity.

Here is the column:

Former Trump associate Roger Stone this week became the latest alleged link of President Trump to collusion with the Russians. The special counsel is investigating Stone’s statement that he had dinner with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before predicting the release of damaging Clinton campaign emails. The inquiry has been portrayed as placing Trump just a stone’s throw away from a criminal charge. However, this is another disconnect between the coverage and the criminal code. Even if Stone received early word of the Wikileaks release, it would not necessarily be a crime for Trump, his campaign, or Stone himself.

The latest conspiracy is built around one of the least credible characters. Stone is fast becoming the Martha Mitchell of the Trump scandal. Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, Richard Nixon’s attorney general, who gained fame for her outlandish conspiracy theories that earned her the nickname “Martha the Mouth.” Stone is known for his dubious veracity and penchant for publicity. The founder of a lobbying firm with the now indicted Paul Manafort (and, ironically, a former low-level Nixon administration official), Stone is widely referred to as a “dirty trickster.”

In a 2016 email to his former protégé, Sam Nunberg, Stone wrote, “I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last nite.” After his email, Stone went on the conspiracy site Infowars on Aug. 4, 2016 and said the Clinton campaign knows “what is coming and it is devastating.” He added, “I think Julian Assange has that proof, and I think he is going to furnish it for the American people.” The suggestion is that Stone coordinated with Assange and, by extension, Russian hackers.

 

Factual disconnect

Before turning to the legal implications, some factual disconnects exist in this latest “smoking gun.” Stone denies having any dinner with Assange and says the email was a joke. He has turned over his phone and credit card records to show he was on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Miami on Aug. 3, when the dinner would have taken place in London. Moreover, you cannot simply pop by for dinner with Assange, who is surrounded in the Ecuadorian embassy by British security and under tight control. The timing of the email does not make for a grand, or even not-so-grand, conspiracy. Weeks before the time of the Nunberg email, Assange said publicly that he had such material. Indeed, the first batch of emails from the Democratic National Committee was already released on July 22, 2016, and the second was posted on Nov. 6, 2016.

The Washington Post reported that it had two former Stone associates who recalled Stone referring to damaging Wikileaks information in the “spring of 2016” before the first release by Wikileaks. However, it does not give a date, which is key, given earlier whispers and teases by Wikileaks. Moreover, one of the two sources is Nunberg, who shredded any credibility in a series of bizarre interviews. In one rambling interview, a CNN host noted that Nunberg smelled of alcohol and asked if he was drunk. Stone himself recently turned on Nunberg, calling him a “psycho,” a “coke head” and a “lying a–hole.” Moreover, Nunberg has only referenced the August email as a statement indicating a direct communication with WikiLeaks.

The emails with WikiLeaks belie a relationship of any kind. Wikileaks publicly denied any communications with Stone and dismissed him as a pretender in 2016. On Oct. 13, 2016, Stone sent WikiLeaks a private Twitter message warning that he had defended Assange in the past and “you may want to reexamine the strategy of attacking me.” WikiLeaks responded that “false claims of association are being used by the Democrats to undermine the impact of our publications. Don’t go there if you don’t want us to correct you.” If this was a conspiracy with WikiLeaks, it seemed one party short.

Legal disconnect

However, the real problem with the current coverage is that, even if Stone was actively trying to get the emails, it was not a crime of any kind. A criminal case would be ideally based on a conspiracy to use the Russians or others to hack the DNC or Clinton camp. The emails suggest the opposite. Stone appears to be seeking information on the release, as opposed to conspiring to hack the systems. Even if Trump encouraged Stone to get copies of the Wikileaks material, that would be the same as trying to get copies of information leaked to the media.

Campaigns often seek information illegally leaked by whistleblowers or public officials. Indeed, the Clinton campaign admitted after long denials that it financed the Trump dossier assembled by a former British spy, including information Russians connected to the intelligence services. Mueller would raise serious First Amendment concerns over political speech with such sweeping theories.

When the emails started to roll out, Trump publicly praised Wikileaks and mentioned it 137 times on the campaign trail. He was hardly hiding in the shadows in declaring “WikiLeaks! I love WikiLeaks” and “This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable. You’ve got to read it!” He also said he hoped the Russians had copies of the tens of thousands of emails deleted by Clinton. There is no law preventing Trump from citing such information in the public domain, or even praising the hackers.

Putting aside the propriety of such statements, they do not constitute a criminal conspiracy to hack the system, even after the fact. Under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, an accessory after the fact is limited to those who “knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment.”

None of these allegations suggest an effort to hinder or prevent the apprehension of any offender. None of this means Stone could not prove to be the next Mata Hari, as opposed to the next Martha Mitchell. If there was a prior encouragement or involvement in the hacking, there would be a credible claim. However, none of these facts would suggest a criminal case, let alone a criminal nexus to Trump.

Stone is a recreational disrupter. His modus operandi was summed up by Martha Mitchell in her own handwriting next to her high school yearbook picture: “I love its gentle warble, I love its gentle flow, I love to wind my tongue up, and I love to let it go.”

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

118 thoughts on “The Case and Curiosity Of Roger Stone

  1. I like Stone. He’s a sharp dressed man. Nunberg is a shlub.

    No conspiracy to do something legal with Wikileaks. It’s just more fake news.

  2. “The Case and Curiosity of The ‘Deep State’ Coup D’etat in America”
    ____________________________________________

    Class-Action Impeachment Of All “Deep State” “Civil Officers of the United States” For Treason.

    Article 2, Section 4

    “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

  3. George Soros: To Russia with Love.

    Hillary made millions in Russia, Soros finances swaths of society in Russia and yet, Hillary sees Russians as the McCarthy era menace

    Fact: Hillary and Soros are obfuscating. She lost and now she retaliates

    “In the past three years Soros has spent or committed just shy of $1 billion to Eastern Europe. His portfolio of philanthropy breaks down as follows: two giant grants of $250 million each, one to transform the study of the humanities in Russia (training teachers, creating new textbooks, etc.), the other to sustain a new university of his creation—the Central European University—with campuses in Prague and Budapest; $200 million to create and sustain his elaborate network of foundations; $100 million to encourage Russian scientists to stay in Russia”

    The Speculator
    By MICHAEL LEWIS
    January 10, 1994
    https://newrepublic.com/article/74330/the-speculator

    The Russians thank you, Nazi Soros

  4. Professor Turley,

    Please reassess your blog, consider sticking to legal topics that promote intellectual discourse and for pete’s sake, hire someone to moderate the comments….or outright disable them

    These forums are toxic just like our culture. Be a part of the solution not adding to the proble,

    Pax

    • Janna, the comments here are a great teching tool for speed reading and subsequent editing to ignore the dogcrap and walk around it.
      There’s a beautiful path available laid by others.

    • The Constitution might edify. Professor Turley has obtained the product of the American Founders, free speech, which you have trouble coping with, as do most totalitarian proponents. People must adapt to the outcomes of freedom. Freedom does not adapt to people…dictatorship does.

      You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

      Stay thirsty, my friend!

  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/book-party/wp/2017/02/24/20-ways-to-recognize-tyranny-and-fight-it/?utm_term=.42c6756bff77

    This is a review of “On Tyranny” by historian Timothy Snyder. It’s is a short, highly-informed, sobering read with excellent advice about how to conduct oneself in the current Trump era. Fearless courage when dealing with a tyrant who presides over a functioning, but shaky, democracy is always an asset.

    Please consider reading and sharing it.

  6. I believe the time has come that JT should have full disclosure with himself and to his readers if he working for or consulting think tanks concerning Trump or anything Trump. His constant spin and deflecting of any thing that is written by other lawyers and legal minds is picked apart by JT with his motto of “nothing to see here”.While it should be respected of his views be it right or left, the questions remain why is it that he always, and I do mean always comes out in the end, that there is no there. When more facts that come out almost daily is clearly indicating there is a there.

      • In general terms, the public and media expect university faculty to relay information based on evidence.
        At a minimum level of transparency, universities should provide all inclusive lists of faculty sources of income. Journalists who fail to disclose pay from sources, in addition to the media that employs them, face firing. The public is increasingly aware that think tanks employ intellectual prostitutes. Politicians face mandatory reporting of income.
        University accrediting agencies have ignored the conflict of interest situation despite passages in their documents referring to ethics. Their failure and the lack of some professors’ fidelity to truth, has cost America. Those with bad intent have fostered the current situation where conservatives ” are eager to be lied to, participate in lies and disbelieve the truth” (American Conservative 11/17/2017).

      • mo, you’ve got me stumped. ETTD stands for:

        1) Eustachian Tube Tinnitus Disorder.

        2) Eustachian Tube Trumpitis Disorder.

        3) Eustachian Tube Tweetitus Disorder.

    • Fishwings, are you familar with the defintion of insanity?
      You know, doing the same thing over and over agin and expecting different results.
      Maybe you should lower or adjust your expectations.

      • I should lower myself to your expectations? OK, give me a couple of days watching “FOXNEWS” and “INFOWARS” and shutting down all reason, that should be enough to rot my brain. Then would I meet your expectations?

        • Sure whatever works. This all about the office of the Presidency not the person who occupies it.
          I lowered my expectations after W was elected.
          We’ve survived worse and trump brings a lot of topics to the forefront that really could use some hashing out.
          I didn’t vote for him but I’m not about to try to get the results of our most important vehicle of our democracy over turned.
          Like Ed Koch said famously one time” If you have a problem with it, maybe you should see a priest”.
          Or maybe next time try to pursaude others with different viewpoints other than your own why they should vote for your candidate.
          Just some unsolicited advice.

  7. Here Professor Turley notes that Trump gleefully celebrated the Wikileaks release. “Trump publicly praised Wikileaks and mentioned it 137 times on the campaign trail. He was hardly hiding in the shadows in declaring “WikiLeaks! I love WikiLeaks” and “This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable. You’ve got to read it!”

    Prior to the dump of DNC emails, Wikileaks was best-known for publishing hacked NSA files that were stolen by former subcontractor Edward Snowden. Snowden had famously taken refuge in Russia, of all countries. Therefore a savvy observer might have discerned an association between Wikileaks and Putin.

    In any event, the theft by Snowden represented a case of espionage against the United States. And Wikileaks had certainly been a pirate source of classified U.S. files obtained by espionage. Both Snowden and Julian Assange were being sought on warrants issued by the United States.

    Therefore one has to ask why Republican nominee Donald Trump was praising a pirate source like Wikileaks. What message did Trump send by condoning Wikileaks? Was Trump not aware that Edward Snowden had taken refuge in Russia? Was Trump not aware that Julian Assange had a paper trail of anti-American writings? Was Trump not aware the DNC had been the victim of a crime?

    Had Trump been a responsible candidate, with respect for law and privacy, he would have never praised Wikileaks. A responsible candidate would have realized that by condoning such behavior he would bring his own integrity into question.

    Therefore Trump has only himself to blame for the Russia Probe. By praising Wikileaks Trump demonstrated extremely poor judgement for a presidential nominee. And it is rather shocking that professor Turley made no effort to emphasize Trump’s poor judgement in this particular column. As an attorney Professor Turley would certainly advise clients not to link themselves with pirate entities like Wikileaks.

    • By your logic, the American Revolution was not just illegal (which it was) but therefore void of moral justification and should never have taken place. The NSA was spying on American citizens without warrant or due process in direct contrast to what officials (James Clapper) were saying publicly, and in violation of our laws at the time as well as against the spirit if not the letter of the fourth amendment. What you are describing as espionage is more accurately described as whistle blowing where the harm being committed by our government against the public outweighs the national security concerns. There is a long tradition of whistle blowing in this country, not to mention rebellion against unfair practices. It is invariably categorized by authoritarians as unlawful when it thwarts their purpose.

      Conflating Snowden’s finding sanctuary in Russia (one of the few major countries where he could find sanctuary – ie not under US influence and power of extradition) with treachery simply by association with Putin is even more brain dead. Putin wanted to stick his thumb in the face of Washington, no doubt, but that hardly makes Snowden or Wikileaks the big bad monsters you are trying to make them out to be a la McCarthy and, shhhhh, coooooommunism, gasp!

      Trump certainly has much to be criticized for but his initial comments about Wikileaks were far from being in the list. Wikileaks was telling the TRUTH. Oh MY GOD, they’re telling the TRUTH about Hillary’s emails – We’re DOOMED. Run for cover!

      • Where I would argue that Trump might be held to a higher standard, is in his failure to realize that if Wikileaks can disseminate TRUTH that is helpful to him, they can also disseminate TRUTH that is harmful to him. From what I have gathered, Trump finds the second part to be much like you find the first.

      • If Snowden is actually a patriot then Trump shall welcome him back. That hasn’t happened, though. How come? Surely Trump is a ‘patriot’ who recognizes Snowden’s gift to this country.

        • If Snowden is actually a patriot then Trump shall welcome him back.That hasn’t happened, though.[…] Huh??? What feverish snark is this? It makes 0 sense. Trump is a self interested narcissist and nowhere did I imply he was anything different. Did you even read my comment? I didn’t think so.

          And your logic, geesh. So if Trump doesn’t welcome Snowden back before he even gets back, “That hasn’t happened, though,” (Um, right, how could it since it’s in the future?) – And “back”???, back to where he never came from in the first place? Try Australia several doors down… – boy this just gets worse and worse, then THAT utter nonsense proves something? Anything?

          What happened, did you just wake up on the kitchen floor with a telltale empty bottle of “Rocket Wine” rolling about?

          • Assange is from Australia. Snowden was born in North Carolina and grew up in Maryland. If Trump attempted to pardon Snowden it would look so terrible Republicans would literally hide out.

            • Opps, right you are, I mixed them up, though it doesn’t change my point. What ever Trump might or might not say about either of them would be proof of absolutely nothing other than Trump’s opinion at that precise point in time.

              I also forget to point out your rather insidious re framing of the factual term “whistle blower” -my term with the loaded term “Patriot” -your term.

            • And I am not unaware of the irony of Trump’s praise. As I pointed out in my second comment, Trump is happy with WikiLeaks when the subject is the DNC and Hillary shown, correctly, in a bad light but not so happy if he were the subject also shown in a bad light. He’s human and not unlike every other politician who ever managed to get to elected office, though he does rather excel at it.

    • “Snowden had famously taken refuge in Russia, of all countries.”

      Maybe the reason for that is because Russia, of all countries, was the place Snowden would be safest from CIA goons that had been overheard openly saying, “This guy needs to be disappeared.”

      It’s funny that you’d assume a McCarthyist presumption of guilt concerning an issue that is so easily explained, but not complain about the fact that Obama turned the vast foreign surveillance mechanism of the intelligence community against the citizens of the United States — as if we are foreigners in our own country.
      And Obama did this secretly, after campaigning and getting elected in ’08 against the warrantless wiretapping of GW Bush (the W stands for warrantless wiretapping), which by comparison with what Obama did, is a misdemeanor offense. What Obama did was the most massive violation of the Constitution in US History, as if the Bill of Rights says nothing about “probable cause” or “unreasonable search.”

      There was a time in the US when democrats and republicans would have been united against that sort of East-German-Stasi-like conduct. The irony is that Snowden, who warned the US citizenry about the US intelligence community turning into the East German Stasi, had to flee and seek refuge behind what was once the Iron Curtain, and a democrat party that would have once taken to the streets rioting over what Obama did are now fully behind the US becoming a Secret Police State.

  8. “Factual Disconnect” -Recent Turley posts are followed by comment threads that IMO, libel George Soros.
    Journalists at 4 News (Belfast 2/15/2018) exposed, “Why the Conspiracy Theories About George Soros Don’t Stack Up”. Point by point, they refute the false ranting from Alex Jones and Glenn Beck (Fox). A Holocaust survivor, speaking as Director of the Anti-Defamation League said the slander/libel against Soros was completely inappropriate, inaccurate, offensive… horrific…repugnant.

          • They were abused children…..no parents loved them, they did every drug imaginable, organic brain disorder, no intimate friends, no interpersonal skills, joined the Clinton Cult and there you have it

            Donna Brazile nailed it

            “5:42>> BOTTOM LINE IT FOR US. WHY DID THEY LOSE?
            15:45WAS IT, AT THE END OF THE DAY, ARROGANCE?
            15:48>> YES, JOE. IT WAS A CULT I FELT LIKE IT WAS
            15:51A CULT. YOU COULD NOT PENETRATE THEM.”

            They are a cult

        • It’s hard to believe that any reasonably intelligent person could take Infowars seriously. No, make that impossible!

            • Catfish Linda referred to Soros’ birthdate as an “extraneous tidbit”. Beyond the fact that Soros was a child at the time conservatives/Russians identify him as engaged in the atrocities carried out by a person at regime staff level, information like birthdate wouldn’t be extraneous to Americans. The data would seem obscure to those who aren’t allowed to access internet searches i.e. Wikipedia.
              We know the $200 bil. Putin has stashed away and how he hides it because of internet searches and net neutrality. Searches are what allows us to know that Russians spend 50% of their incomes on food and that they are told by authorities the solution is to eat less. That knowledge makes us want to avoid becoming the oligarchy that the richest 0.1% want the U.S. to be.

              • Beyond the fact that Soros was a child at the time conservatives/Russians identify him as engaged in the atrocities carried out by a person at regime staff level,

                No one said that you lying sack of manure. Soros has admitted quite freely that he assisted his father in taking custody of the property of deportees and liquidating it. They were kapos

                • Soros is a Nazi.
                  Small wonder catfish Linda knows his birthdate….Probably has it engraved in their reptilian outer layer

                  “Soros was 13 years old in March 1944 when Nazi Germany occupied Hungary.[32] Jewish children were barred from attending school by the Nazis, and Soros and the other schoolchildren were made to report to the Judenrat (“Jewish Council”) which had been established during the occupation. Soros later described this time to writer Michael Lewis: “The Jewish Council asked the little kids to hand out the deportation notices. I was told to go to the Jewish Council. And there I was given these small slips of paper…. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, “You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported.”[33][34]”
                  – Wiki

                  • The slander and libel against Soros is “completely inappropriate, offensive… inaccurate… horrific,… and repugnant.” Holocaust survivor who was speaking as Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

            • Hillary couldnt have any children so she gave George Soros children from other Americans. so typical of Hillary’s loathing of Americans while Soros buys her like the ho she is

              George Soros has his billions of dollars all over the globe fighting and killing people

              Obama and Soros did this

              “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

              George Soros Behind Chemical Weapons Attack In Syria
              http://yournewswire.com/george-soros-chemical-weapons-syria/

              • “Far right nationalists attack Soros…in Hungary, the campaign against Soros is used to deflect attention from a government crackdown on civil rights groups.”

              • YourNewsWire.com-rated a #5 out of 5, for pants on fire lying by Politifact. “Notorious, disreputable purveyor of fake news…misleads, cherry picks, fabricates” (Snopes). In an article from Hollywood Reporter 9/21/2017, there are references linking the site’s “news” to state sponsored Russia Today. Roseanne Barr’s tales about politics are said to originate with YourWireNews.com

      • In this very column, Professor Turley refers to Info Wars as a “conspiracy site”. Here’s the exact quote: “After his email, Stone went on the conspiracy site Infowars on Aug. 4, 2016”

        One could discern that Professor Turley does not hold Info Wars in high esteem.

        • Petey, sweetheart, you will hurt yourself if you try to discern about anything.
          Discerning is for people with refined hippocampus and amygdala nuclei which clearly David Brock lacks
          Discerning requires much more than what Soros can offer his paid slaves.

          • Again, Linda, tell me, ‘who’ is David Brock and why do you mention him’? Does Professor Turley make Brock references? Does Professor Turley consider Soros a warlock of epic proportions?

            • Russian trolls are on the defensive which is why catfish Linda suggests that Brock pays Americans to post comments. David Brock recently published a story (Media Matters) exposing a troll and bot farm operating in Kosovo. The farm’s address is disguised so that posted comments in the U.S. appear to be from other nations. Clearly it works, Turley listed nations from which comments came. Nothing from Russia. (BTW- Russia has a ministry that prevents its citizens from full internet searching). Brock also created Share Blue. In a better world, Brock would distance himself from the corporate-funded Center for American Progress and from the Bill Gates-Walton agenda. But, right now, I’m thankful that Democrats have a media voice, at all.

              My opinion about Turley- since far right nationalist oppose Soros’ support for civil rights…

  9. Stone is known for his dubious veracity and penchant for publicity. The founder of a lobbying firm with the now indicted Paul Manafort (and, ironically, a former low-level Nixon administration official), Stone is widely referred to as a “dirty trickster.”

    Stone earned his keep ca. 1985 as a campaign hack and lobbyist, and his career was at its peak around that time. That got him a certain amount of attention from Democrats in the press corps (e.g. Jacob Weisberg and Michael Kinsley) who admire their own sleazeballs (recall when James Carville was dubbed ‘the ragin’ Cajun’ by the press corps) and write hit pieces about shady Republicans. If he ever worked for Nixon, it was fetching coffee for the rest of the staff; he wasn’t yet 22 years old on the day Nixon resigned.

  10. Assange is basically under house arrest in solitary confinment. He has no access to visitors, the internet or a phone. This was likely done under orders of the US. (See wikileaks twitter). On Assange’s twitter, while it was last active he addressed the issue of Roger Stone. It’s there to read. His ability to communicate with others is ended.

    This is not legal or moral.

    • Being held incommunicado is usually a precursor to expulsion. If Equador expels Assange, then The UK will execute its arrest warrant on Assange. After which its probable that that Assange will be extradited to The US. Most likely Mueller will get to interview Assange. Lots of questions could be answered. It should be interesting.

      • Or, Assange could walk out voluntarily. He was eager to release stolen information, then seek protection from being answerable for it. If Assange decides he doesn’t want to let people know if Russia provided the DNC material then, he should go to jail. If he had not selectively torpedoed just one candidate, he might have an ethical leg to stand on.

          • Also excerpted from the article linked above:

            “In 2016, Ecuador briefly suspended his internet connection for posting documents online that were seen as having an impact on the US presidential election from which Donald Trump emerged the victor.”

            Given that Ecuador has restricted Assange’s internet communications in the past, the current decision to hold Assange incommunicado might not presage his expulsion from the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. So long as Assange can manage to avoid arrest, the tin-foil hat conventioneers can rest assured that the truth about Assange will remain suppressed by Assange himself. Likewise, so long as Assange suppresses the truth about Assange, all manner and type of crazy conspiracy theories will live to don their tin-foil hats for who knows how many more days to come.

        • Excerpted from the article linked above:

          “The decision was taken because the Australian [Assange] had broken a 2017 promise to not interfere in other countries’ affairs while in the mission, an Ecuadoran government statement said without elaborating.

          Under that deal, Assange had pledged “to not send messages that could be seen as interference in relations with other countries,” the statement said, adding that it could take other, unspecified measures if he persisted.

          The move to cut off Assange came after he used Twitter on Monday to challenge Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the March 4 nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent in the English city of Salisbury.

          Assange also questioned the decision by Britain and more than 20 countries to retaliate against the poisoning by expelling Russian diplomats deemed spies.”

          L4D had previously speculated that being held incommunicado would prevent Assange from making arrangements with accomplices to avoid arrest in the event that Ecuador expelled Assange. However, the reasons the Ecuadorans gave for holding Assange incommunicado are probably more plausible than L4D’s guess.

    • Jill, I think it was inevitable that Ecuador would cave. Probably got a f”riendly” visit from the CIA asking him if he’d like to remain the leader of his country. Once he out he will be picked up – wonder if he has another exit strategy….

      In the meantime we have Nasty yahoo pulling Trump’s strings again on Syria. Endless conflict – the neo cons wet dream and our nightmare.

  11. The number one defense Trump and his ilk have is to sow confusion and chaos. By infecting a valid exercise with lies, misrepresentations, absolute balderdash, and laughing about it, everything is discredited. Mueller’s work was demanded by Trump while he was campaigning, clean up Washington. Accusations, primarily from Trump, as to meddling with the election and collusion with foreign entities, flew from directly after the election. So, when Mueller starts digging and the vermin that he catches are mostly connected with Trump, the dupes surface and complain.

    When Mueller is finished, and it is a job that should never finish given the scumbaggery in Washington, then we’ll see. Until then it will be a Trump circus, a buffoon blast of lies and accusations; what an incredible shame this country has reached.

  12. (music– to tune of Sam Stone)

    Rog Stone, came home….to his wife and family…
    After serving in the conflict at the pee.

    And the time that he served…
    Had shattered all his nerves…
    And left a used rubber on his knee.

    And the wife was filled with pain….
    Like a thousand railroad trains..
    And eased his mind in the hours that he rose.
    Like a kid wearing other peoples clothes.

    Those a hole in Stone’s arm…where all the money goes!
    Jesus Christ ate fried chicken… I suppose.
    Little chickens have big ears…
    Won’t stop to count the queers….
    Sweet songs… never last too long on doper radios….
    Unh huh unh huh.

  13. Turley wrote, “In a 2016 email to his former protégé, Sam Nunberg, Stone wrote, ‘I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last nite.'”

    The theory of the crime that Turley would refute is based upon an excessively literal reading Stone’s email. We already know from press reports about Manafort’s emails to Deripaska’s associate known as “K” that guys like Manafort and Stone communicate with one another using coded language. As such Stone’s email to Nunberg could be read as stating that Stone communicated with his new pal Julian Assange last night.

    Turley also wrote, ” [E]ven if Stone was actively trying to get the emails, it was not a crime of any kind.”

    But that is not the only theory of the crime available. If dining with Assange means communicating with Assange, then Stone could have been seeking to confirm that Assange was still going to release the second batch of DNC emails on November 6th, 2016–two days before the election. The “dining with Assange” email need not be the crime in and of itself, but merely one piece of evidence raising suspicion of an ongoing conspiracy to coordinate the activities of the Trump campaign with the Russian information warfare operation.

    IOW, Turley is asking us to suppose that somehow the evidence itself has to be the crime and that the evidence itself can’t be the crime.

      • Excerpted from the article linked above:

        That day [Oct. 12th, 2016], Stone admitted to having “back-channel communications” with Assange because they had a “good mutual friend.”

        “That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk,” Stone told CBS’ Miami affiliate. “I had dinner with him last Monday.”

        • October 12th, 2016, was a Wednesday. On that day and date, Stone said he had dinner with a mutual friend of himself and Assange “last Monday,” That would have been Monday October 3rd, 2016. Therefore, the email to Nunberg ought not to be read literally as stating that Stone himself had dinner with Assange himself. But rather that Stone had dinner with his and Assange’s mutual friend.

          P. S. Forget about upping the dosage on my Aricept. Doctor Schmachter’s Blawgwort Elixir is working just fine.

      • Also excerpted from the article linked above:

        Stone told the House Intelligence Committee last September that he had never “said or written that I had any direct communication with Julian Assange and have always clarified in numerous interviews and speeches that my communication with WikiLeaks was through the aforementioned journalist.”

        Stone was referring to radio host Randy Credico, who Stone said acted as an intermediary between himself and Assange.

          • Excerpted from the article linked above:

            “In November 2017, Roger Stone told the House Intelligence Committee that Credico was his intermediary with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to obtain information on Hillary Clinton. Credico was then subpoenaed to appear before the committee, and his attorney said he would comply. Credico subsequently asserted his Fifth Amendment rights before an interview with the committee, which then released him from appearing.”

            Roger Stone’s mutual friend with Julian Assange, Randy Credico, asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when subpoenaed to appear before the House Intelligence Committee. And the House Intelligence Committee released Credico from their subpoena.

            P. S. Credico is no less colorful a character than Stone. Check the link above and see if you agree.

    • late for dinner…

      You’re on time. It IS interesting to read a defense lawyer’s theory on Trump and his associates’ various activities that seem to have captured the attention of Mr. Mueller.

      • billmcwilliams, do you suppose that Turley is chasing a red herring or trying to get us to chase a red herring?

        • Late4Dinner

          JT may simply be keeping his name out in the political ether so that any politician accused will remember his needle threading expertise is available when needed.

          LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.

          LAWFUL, adj. Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction.

          • Fine then, billmcwilliams. But if Turley can’t fool me with his literal interpretation of Stone’s email to Nunberg, then how is Turley going to fool Mueller and his crew? I presume that Mueller already knows what Stone said in his testimony to Congress. I’m not yet sure that Turley knows that. Maybe Turley knew it, but forgot it. The whole thing is really too much information to keep track of. Poor Turley.

  14. “None of this means Stone could not prove to be the next Mata Hari, as opposed to the next Martha Mitchell.”

    Or, perhaps, the next Walt Whitman?

    “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.”

  15. The stark reality is that the media is desperately chasing its own tail. Mueller’s team is designed to go after money laundering, which is almost certainly the big-ticket item here. l’ve never been sold on a tie between Wikileaks and Russian intel. Mike Gravel disabused me of that notion a while ago.

    • I have no idea to who Mike Gravel is. Somebody persuasive, no doubt. Has LawDog ever heard of Edward Snowden? I have. It seems reasonably clear to me that Snowden is at least one connection between Wikileaks and Russian intelligence.

      P. S. I agree that money laundering is the more likely marquee crime.

      • Mike Gravel was a real estate agent living in Alaska who got himself elected to Congress in 1968. He behaved badly (blowing off local constituencies and screwing floozies) and ended up in 1980 getting blown out of office in a Democratic primary and getting hit with a divorce suit from his wife which cost him his congressional pension. He tried entering the real estate business in Alaska and sadly lost his shirt. He eventually landed a position as the salaried staff director of some obscure advocacy group. He ran for president in 2008, you seem to have forgotten, as that year’s Dennis Kucinich. An odd thing for a 78 year old man who’s been out of public office for nearly a generation to do, but then he’s always been an oddball. No one who wasn’t senile would take him seriously.

        • LawDog said, ” l’ve never been sold on a tie between Wikileaks and Russian intel. Mike Gravel disabused me of that notion a while ago.”

          Nii said, “No one who wasn’t senile would take him [Mike Gravel] seriously.”

          Nii appears to be asserting two things: 1) LawDog is supposedly senile for taking Mike Gravel seriously and 2) there is a tie between Wikileaks and Russian intelligence because LawDog said that Mike Gravel had disabused LawDog of the contrary notion.

          You know what? I agree, completely. Despite my occasional bouts with senility. Stay fluid.

          • Whatever Mike Gravel has to say about anything but his own aches and pains can be ignored. Mike Gravel might occasionally make an utterance which is neither incoherent nor false. You would only take it seriously when someone not named ‘Mike Gravel’ uttered it. Nobody take you seriously, either, Diane, even though what you say isn’t 100% false (though it almost invariably incorporates an element of gamesmanship).

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