The indictment against 12 Russian agents for election meddling shows a direct path to Roger Stone, the dirty trickster who has been personally guiding Trump on politics for decades.
Roger Stone, the political dirty trickster who has been Trump's close political adviser for decades, is a central figure in the new indictments handed down by the Department of Justice as part of its Russia investigation.
Stone is a long-time Republican operative who has played a key role in infamous dirty tricks including the Watergate scandals and the "Brooks Brothers riot" during the 2000 Florida recount. In recent years, Stone has pushed conspiracy theories and lies about President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other Democratic figures.
Describing his close relationship with Trump, Stone said he has "known him for almost 40 years" and spent "25 years as a lobbyist for Trump." Trump went to Stone's wedding and in turn Stone "went to two out of three" of Trump's weddings.
He chaired a presidential exploratory committee for Trump in 2000, wanted him to run in 2012, and helped place Paul Manafort as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016. Manafort has been indicted in the Mueller investigation and is currently behind bars after allegedly attempting to tamper with witnesses against him.
Stone is a right-hand man to Trump, and not simply a coffee boy as has been claimed with other key campaign figures in trouble with the law.
Stone has admitted that he was in contact with Guccifer 2.0, the online persona who published internal emails from the Clinton campaign.
In the indictment released by the Department of Justice, it is detailed that Guccifer 2.0 was created by agents of GRU, the Russian intelligence agency. In mid-August of 2016, Guccifer 2.0 was in contact with "a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump."
The indictment also specifically cites the text from tweets sent back and forth between Stone and Guccifer 2.0 in August 2016.
The description fits Stone perfectly and meshes with his own admitted activities. Stone appears to be the middle man between the Trump campaign and the email hacking operation carried out by Russian intelligence agents.
Soon after he exchanged private messages with the Russians, he began tweeting about leaks of internal Clinton emails that would purportedly look bad for John Podesta, her campaign chair. Stone tweeted, "Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel."
After the indictment was released, Trump lawyer and television flack Rudy Giuliani improbably tweeted, "The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved." He then called for Robert Mueller to end "his pursuit of the President."
It is another pathetic attempt, along with the antics of House Republicans as they questioned FBI agent Peter Strzok, to claim a distance between the Russian operation and the Trump campaign that does not exist.
Stone is right in the middle of the sordid affair and his connection to Trump is both close and irrefutable.
At the same time, Trump's son Donald Jr. was in contact with Russian operatives seeking dirt on Clinton. Senior members of the Trump campaign – Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort – were all in attendance as a meeting with Russian operatives went down.
The indictment even notes that the Russian hackers made a run at Clinton's emails after Trump called on Russia to get the information.
The Trump campaign was in contact with multiple Russian operatives as that nation sought to influence and sway the 2016 election. Roger Stone was a part of that, and Stone was – and is – a top voice next to Trump's ear.
They can deny reality all they wish, but they were knee-deep in the Russian operation.
Published with permission on The American Independent.