Raise the alarms. Sound the klaxons. President Donald Trump is in major trouble after the Mueller investigation nailed longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone and it definitively, unquestionably and undoubtedly proves that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to derail Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid.
Wait. I’m sorry. What was that? Stone’s arrest has nothing to do with Russian collusion? Based on the exuberant leftist media, you certainly could’ve fooled me.
For many on the left, evidence of collusion with Russia has become the most coveted smoking gun imaginable. They are utterly convinced it will be the final piece of the puzzle needed to launch a full-scale impeachment crusade against the president.
By extension, special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into the matter has become the best chance the left has of ever obtaining that smoking gun, should it exist.
The problem is, while Mueller’s probe has certainly unearthed and bagged some bad apples like former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, any actual link to Russian collusion is nonexistent.
Trump’s biggest detractors have nothing linking Russian collusion to the president based on what Cohen and Manafort have divulged.
From all indications, Stone’s indictment is no different.
As the Washington Examiner astutely lays out, none of the counts against Stone are that smoking gun the far left so desperately craves.
“All the counts stem from Stone’s Sept. 26, 2017, interview with the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 election and the response by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Stone is not charged with lying to or attempting to obstruct the Mueller investigation,” Washington Examiner writer Byron York notes. “Count One alleges that Stone obstructed the House committee’s investigation by denying he had emails and other documents about WikiLeaks-related contacts.”
Stone faces seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional investigation.
“Counts two through six concern specific statements to the House committee.”
“The indictment does say there were communications between Stone and people in the Trump campaign related to WikiLeaks. Of course, everyone in the world was talking about the WikiLeaks disclosures in the days following their publication. The indictment says: ‘After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by [WikiLeaks], a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information (WikiLeaks) had regarding the Clinton campaign. Stone thereafter told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by (WikiLeaks),'” York continues.
The identity of the the person who “directed” the senior official has wrought much speculation, with many on the left crying that it’s Trump. There’s no evidence of that. Even if there were, it’s immaterial to what Stone’s allegations include.
“Whoever the ‘was directed’ person was, the Stone indictment, like all Mueller has issued until now, does not allege that there was a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election,” York wrote.
Ultimately, as York notes, Stone’s biggest problem may have been his own braggadocios attitude.
“That led to this chain of events: 1) Stone bragged in public; 2) the House committee asked him about his bragging under oath; and 3) Mueller investigated the veracity of Stone’s sworn testimony. If Stone had not popped off about himself all the time, he probably would not have gotten himself in trouble,” York said.
If what people like Cohen, Manafort and Stone were accused of doing are all true, then yes, they deserve whatever is coming to them as far as the judicial system is concerned.
But nowhere in any of those allegations is there a definitive link between Trump and Russian collusion. Considering how long the Mueller probe has been going on, the left may be better off finding a different pipe dream.
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