Throughout the campaign season, Roger Stone loved to flaunt his connections with WikiLeaks and his inside knowledge of what was coming up. It was only as the election neared and the idea that actively cooperating with a foreign power employing stolen information to interfere with a US election might be a bad thing, that Stone began to disown his past statements. Instead, he put down his amazing prognosticating powers to his years of experience and a few lucky guesses.
But Special Counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t believe that Roger Stone is either that smart or that lucky.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is focusing intensely on alleged interactions between former top Trump campaign official Rick Gates and political operative Roger Stone, one of President Donald Trump’s closest confidants, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Stone, a longtime advisor to Trump, is apparently one of the top subjects of the Mueller investigation into potential collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, sources told CNBC on condition of anonymity.
Stone’s actions during the campaign included claiming to be in communication with Julian Assange and predicting the release of emails stolen from Democratic strategist John Podesta. But Stone has a connection with Gates and Manafort that goes way back. Stone started his political career with Richard Nixon, declared himself a proud “political dirty trickster” and went on to join Paul Manafort in forming a consulting firm whose reputation went way beyond dirty.
“Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly lined up most of the dictators in the world that we could find,” Stone said in a podcast last year.
Which is how it became known as “the torturer’s lobby.” But Stone may find he’s supported one dictator too many.
Previous indictments and court filings that have come from Mueller’s team have made it clear that Gates and Manafort had ongoing communications with the leave-behind network of agents in Ukraine and with connections to Russian Oleg Deripaska. And Gates’s relationship with Stone also goes back many years.
The link between Gates and Stone goes back to their work at what had been one of the most powerful lobbying firms in Washington, D.C., which was founded by Stone along with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The special counsel’s probe has yielded two indictments against Manafort, who is accused of several crimes, including bank fraud and conspiracy against the United States.
Like Paul Manafort, Roger Stone has played fast and loose with both lobbying laws and money-laundering laws, not for years, but for decades.
It’s a good thing Roger Stone already likes wearing stripes—though he may have to get used to them running the other way.