An explosion of joy among the usual media suspect greeted the indictment and arrest of Roger Stone yesterday. Yet insofar as “collusion” with organs of the Russian government in manipulating the 2016 election is concerned, there seems to be no there there. The indictment (posted below) belies it.
That’s not quite the way New York Times reporters Eileen Sullivan and Sharon LaFraniere (with help from Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman) put it this morning in their explication of the indictment, but that’s what I get out of it. Even they note, however, “Campaign officials sought information from WikiLeaks, the indictment said, but it did not allege that those interactions were illegal or that Mr. Stone or anyone else tied to the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the organization.”
This past November the Guardian got into the action with a dubious story reporting that Paul Manafort had met several times with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Mollie Hemingway drew the moral of that particular story.
I confessed at that time. I confessed that I had listened to Sean Hannity talk live with Julian Assange on Hannity’s radio show about his work at Wikileaks during the campaign. I even enjoyed it. Surely this cannot stand. Come get me, coppers!
I have taken my cues on the substance of the Mueller investigation from Andrew McCarthy and two or three other knowledgeable observers with insight and judgment. This past November Andy appeared for a brief interview on the heavy-breathing Corsi and Stone stories of that moment. The video clip is posted here along with a brief story. Host Sandra Smith asked Andy to comment on the news to give us a sense “where all this goes,” as she put it.
“What I get from all of this,” he said as he warmed up, “and I’m coming at this as somebody who has known and respected Bob Mueller and a number of the people on his staff who are very able lawyers, so I want to give this thing the benefit of the doubt.” The preliminaries out of the way, he recalled, “they were asked to get to the bottom of what Russia did to interfere with the election, which is a worthy cause. But that’s camouflage, it seems to me, for what has become a clown show.”
NR has placed Andy’s current NR column behind its paywall this morning. He writes: “What matters is this: The indictment is just the latest blatant demonstration that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, the Department of Justice, and the FBI have known for many months that there was no such [criminal “collusion”] conspiracy. And yet, fully aware that the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and the FBI had assiduously crafted a public narrative that Trump may have been in cahoots with the Russian regime, they have allowed that cloud of suspicion to hover over the presidency — over the Trump administration’s efforts to govern — heedless of the damage to the country….”