Roger Stone’s Arrest: What’s Scandalous, and What Isn’t

Let’s start with what isn’t scandalous: the charges against Roger Stone. Scott embedded Robert Mueller’s indictment here. Byron York has a good summary of the charges.

The salient point is that Mueller’s indictment of Stone confirms that the Trump campaign had nothing to do with the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee or their publication by Wikileaks. The allegations against Stone all have to do with what happened after Wikileaks dumped the first batch of DNC emails. Stone tried–unsuccessfully–to get in touch with Julian Assange or someone else who could tell him whether Wikileaks had more emails, and if so, what they contained. As Byron points out, everyone in the political world, in the Summer of 2016, was trying to find out whether Wikileaks had more DNC emails, and if so, what they contained.

There is nothing wrong with what Stone did. Mueller charges, rather, that Stone lied to a Congressional committee about his actions. If that is true, Stone is in trouble. But the charges against him do not support the theory that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to invade the DNC’s email system. On the contrary, the Stone story is just more confirmation that the Trump campaign had nothing to do with it.

Now, for what is truly scandalous about Roger Stone’s arrest: the manner in which it was carried out. The arrest was preserved on video because someone–presumably either the FBI or Mueller’s team–tipped off CNN, and CNN had cameras stationed in front of Stone’s residence at 5:00 in the morning. The video shows a dozen heavily armed FBI agents carrying out what can fairly be described as a paramilitary operation against Stone’s home. Why? Was there some reason to think Stone was so dangerous that it required a pre-dawn raid by a dozen agents with AR-15s to take him into custody?

No such claim has been made, nor would it be plausible. The show that Mueller and the FBI put on for the cameras of their political ally, CNN, was a disgrace. Here it is:

A few years ago, I couldn’t have imagined saying this, but the FBI has proved to be corrupt and hopelessly politicized. It needs, at a minimum, a thorough housecleaning. It might even be necessary to put the FBI out of business and start over with a new federal investigative agency.

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