Another day, another development in special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation — and this one has to do with Donald Trump‘s long-time buddy and advisor Roger Stone.
Mueller appears to be nearing the finish line when it comes to indicting Stone, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. Mueller reportedly asked the House Intelligence Committee last Friday for an “official transcript” of Stone’s testimony, testimony he would more than likely need in order to push forward with an indictment.
Stone, like right-wing author Jerome Corsi, has been under investigation by the special counsel. Mueller wants to know whether members of the Trump campaign or people connected to it had advanced knowledge of the 2016 hack of the DNC and the ensuing dump on emails on WikiLeaks. Mueller has indicted Russian military operatives in connection with the hack, saying that these military intelligence officers posed as the “fictitious persona” Guccifer 2.0.
In the latest report, Stone may or may not have trolled fired FBI director James Comey when faced with the prospect of an imminent indictment, perhaps on the false statement charge Mueller has brought against others — Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Michael Cohen, to name a few.
“I don’t think any reasonable attorney who looks at it would conclude that I committed perjury, which requires intent and materiality,” Stone said, bringing to mind Comey’s “no reasonable prosecutor” remark on the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner told WaPo that this “suggests prosecutors are getting ready to bring a charge.”
“Prosecutors can’t bring a charge without an original certified copy of the transcript that shows the witness lied,” he added.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told Law&Crime that it does appear Mueller is “working towards an indictment of Stone.”
“I don’t know if it is ‘imminent,'” Mariotti said, “But they’re working towards bringing charges for sure.”
Stone, for his part, has continued to rail against the investigation as “frivolous word games,” “hairsplitting about semantics over nonmaterial matters,” “gotcha word games,” “perjury traps” and “process crimes.”
One justification offered in the report for a possible false statements charge was that “if prosecutors want to bring a charge of lying to investigators, they must obtain a certified ‘clean’ copy from the transcriber or clerk who took the statement to present as an exhibit to a grand jury.”
As Law&Crime noted before, the number of guilty pleas Mueller has gotten on charges of false statements have been piling up. This is the what 18 USC § 1001 says, the crimes these defendants pleaded guilty to committing:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.
Mueller has also reportedly looked into a “series” of late-night phone calls allegedly made between then-candidate Trump and then-adviser Stone during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Stone’s conversations with his radio host acquaintance Randy Credico, the alleged and denied intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, have also come under scrutiny.
Recently, NBC News obtained draft court papers with emails allegedly sent from the aforementioned Jerome Corsi to Stone regarding WikiLeaks and emails dumps of hacked DNC emails. Corsi has claimed that the perjury charge stemmed from an email he didn’t remember sending Roger Stone an email that said “go see [Julian] Assange.”
But the draft documents told a more involved story. For one, they said that Mueller was not opposed to a probation sentence if Corsi pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. Corsi has declined to plead guilty saying that he wasn’t going to sign a lie. Then there were the emails.
One email Corsi allegedly sent Stone on Aug. 2, 2016 said, “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”
Another email from July of the same year, this one from Stone to Corsi, said Julian Assange, “Get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending (WikiLeaks) emails.” Mueller alleges that Corsi lied about his attempt to contact WikiLeaks (Corsi said that he didn’t and that he advised Stone not to pursue this or else risk being investigated). The special counsel said that Corsi actually told conservative author Ted Malloch about the situation and then told sent Stone an email eight days later saying that WikiLeaks was going to drop emails damaging to Hillary Clinton in Oct. 2016, the month before the election.
Mueller further alleged that Corsi went on to delete all emails from his computer sent before Oct. 11, 2016. Corsi has previously claimed that he just figured out somehow that WikiLeaks had the goods.
There was one more remarkable email sent on Nov. 30, 2017.
Stone allegedly emailed to ask Corsi to write about Randy Credico, the radio host associate of Stone’s who, like Corsi, was subpoenaed to testify before a Mueller grand jury.
Corsi apparently tried to pump the brakes on a Stone attempt to get out ahead of the Credico situation.
“Are you sure you want to make something out of this now?” Corsi said, according to the documents. “Why not wait to see what (Credico) does? You may be defending yourself too much — raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries. This may be a time to say less, not more.”
Stone, mind you, reportedly sought a blanket pardon for Assange and sent a text in early January “to an associate” that there was a “very real” possibility that could happen.
“Don’t fuck it up,” Stone said. “Something very big about to go down.” The associate mentioned was Randy Credico.
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]