The end may be near for Roger Stone, a longtime Donald Trump associate and presidential campaign adviser.
According to the Washington Post, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked the House Intelligence Committee to give him the transcript of its 2017 interview with Stone, which is “a sign that prosecutors could be moving to charge him with a crime.”
In other words, Mueller’s obtaining the Stone interview transcript may be the final step in the special counsel’s investigation. The next step, once the investigation has concluded, will be to charge Stone with a crime by issuing an indictment.
Mueller asked for the Stone transcript to be delivered immediately, the Post said. This is the first time the House Intelligence Committee has been asked to turn over testimony to Mueller’s team.
The Post said that a committee meeting will take place Thursday morning to vote on Mueller’s request. A meeting notice was published, saying the subject of the meeting is the “Transmission of Certain Executive Session Materials to the Executive Branch.” It is assumed that the meeting will be to discuss and vote on whether to honor the request from the special counsel.
The details of what Mueller wants from Stone’s September 2017 closed-door House testimony was not disclosed. Adam Schiff of California, the panel’s top Democrat, said last month that Stone’s testimony should be provided to Mueller “for consideration of whether perjury charges are warranted.”
Schiff made his comments shortly after President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. Many people then asked if the special counsel would pursue the same kind of charges against others who may have given false testimony to Congress concerning Mueller’s Russia probe. It is possible that this is the purpose of Mueller obtaining the Stone interview transcript.
Obtaining the official transcript from the committee would be a necessary step before Mueller could pursue an indictment against Stone for lying. Mueller could use a perjury charge to seek cooperation from Stone, as he has done with other Trump advisers.
Stone has been a focus of Mueller as he investigates if the Trump campaign had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’s release of Democratic emails allegedly hacked by Russian operatives. Stone was in contact with the Trump campaign numerous times during 2016, and may have been in contact with WikiLeaks also.
The Post said, “Stone has given conflicting accounts about what prompted him to accurately predict during the 2016 race that WikiLeaks was going to unleash material that would hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.”
Roger Stone, like his friend Donald Trump, has been defiant in the face of public criticism and the threat of criminal charges. Once an actual indictment is issued by Mueller, however, and Stone is actually facing real criminal charges, he may change his tune. We won’t know for sure about that until it happens, and it may happen very soon.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.