What ever happened to giving a man a sporting chance?
Maybe twenty-nine FBI agents in tactical combat gear and a fleet of SUVs with K-Force LED lights flashing wasn’t enough to flush out the arch-villain Roger Stone from his South Florida hide-out. Ever consider that? He might have charged out of the place like John Wayne in Rio Bravo, brandishing a spatula or a shoe-horn, since he didn’t happen to have a Colt-45 on hand. Maybe they should have sent in a SEAL team and the Boston Patriots offensive line for back-up. Anyway, they got their man! And CNN was there to record it, thanks to their 2018 hire of FBI former special agent Josh Campbell, who had been FBI Director James Comey’s majordomo in a previous career incarnation. Isn’t it a small world? Somehow Josh got wind of the pre-dawn raid.
Roger Stone is not everybody’s cup of antifreeze. I don’t want to go too tweet-mean on the guy, but let’s face it, physically he does look a little like Zippy-the-Pinhead — if, say, Zippy had made it to community college and learned how to manage a four-in-hand necktie. Mr. Stone represents a certain kind of stock character in American politics: The Joker. In the Batman sense of the role: the sociopathic trickster. He made his bones cooking up gags for “Tricky Dick” Nixon, and carved out a long career as a behind-the-scenes political black-opster on the Republican side. American politics, in my lifetime anyway, is just one long game of innuendo — proctology as practiced among the goodfellas in the electoral trade — and ole Roger was famous for finding new and comical ways of putting it to the opposition.
And so, the FBI came a’calling to indict him on various felony counts of lying to them, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice, charges that could put him on ice until the end of his days — unless they can crack him like a four-minute egg for a rich yolk of confession about Mr. Trump’s scheme to sell Arkansas to Vladimir Putin, or something like that.
As I often point out here, history is a trickster, too. Things fly out of left field from it all the time. Pink elephants, black swans, honeybadgers, World Wars, flash crashes, and Roger Stone. I have a theory that Mr. Stone, in his twisted way, will turn out to be a sort of unlikely hero in this subplot of the Mueller inquisition. How might that work? Despite the attempt to squeeze him on charges that will bankrupt him and send him off to die in the federal cooler, Mr. Stone will do what he said on the courthouse steps: he won’t bear false witness against Mr. Trump. What that really means is something else: he is willing to step into a court-of-law and face down Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors.
Mr. Mueller does not want this case to be tried in court, I assure you. In the event, an awful lot of dark evidence will emerge from the defense side of the room about the criminal malfeasance among the Mueller Team, and their reliance on the Clinton network of fixers, grifters, and rogues who cooked up the years-long Russian Meddling-and-Collusion flimflam in the FBI going way back to the spring of 2016. Mr. Stone’s case is not unlike the case against General Mike Flynn, who was sent to the doghouse for three months in December by Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan to reconsider his guilty plea. Judge Sullivan may know that the charges against Gen. Flynn amount to prosecutorial misconduct by Mueller, and Sullivan is interested in trying the case to see what might come out. It will be March before anyone knows whether Gen Flynn got his mind right in the matter.
Mr. Stone, on the other hand, is ready for combat. He has unashamedly set-up a legal defense fund support site (Google it) because this is America where you have to be a hedge fundster to defend yourself in a court-of-law against a battalion of federal inquisitors who never have to submit invoices for billable hours. For most US citizens, this is like being dragged into a gunfight with a letter-opener against a battery of howitzers. Surely everybody in the land, including me, has a low opinion of Roger Stone and his reputation as a political bottom-feeder. But I salute his courage in going to trial, if only to see the evidence laid out on both sides.
Meanwhile, I’m wondering about something else. Of course, Mr. Trump eventually caught hell on the government shutdown. But in reopening it for three weeks, does this allow for the confirmation of William Barr as Attorney General? And when that happens, might it change the flow of events in the RussiaGate show?