One by one, Roger Stone’s friends — and his enemies — have made their way to the sealed grand jury room where investigators are exploring whether the Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election. They’ve arrived bearing piles of emails and text messages, as well as their memories of once-private phone chats. One even arrived with his therapy dog.
Now that the midterm elections are over, the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will no longer be constrained by the long-standing tradition of going dormant in the weeks before voters go to the ballot boxes. President Trump’s decision to force the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week adds a new twist to the saga. Stone, a longtime Trump confidant, has for months urged the president to fire Sessions. At a rally in Washington in September, Stone called Sessions “an insubordinate hillbilly” and pressed Trump to send the former senator from Alabama back to his home state.
Stone has aroused suspicion because of statements he made during the summer of 2016 predicting that WikiLeaks would soon release damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The anti-secrecy group eventually published a trove of emails that U.S. authorities think were hacked by Russian operatives. Stone has said he was relying on tips from friends and public comments by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has repeatedly denied having contact with Stone.
Stone denies that he has done anything illegal in his capacity as a Trump adviser — forcefully, as you can see in our video interview with him, which was filmed last month in New York.
“I’m certainly guilty of bluffing and posturing and punking the Democrats,” Stone said. “Unless they’ve passed some law against bulls--- and I missed it, I’m engaging in tradecraft. It’s politics.”
We could know very soon whether Mueller sees it that way.