President Donald Trump’s pal Roger Stone has long known he was going to be arrested, and he’s always played things as if he expected Donald Trump to pardon him. But Mueller made a subsequent move which will ensure that Trump can’t get Stone off the hook with a pardon.
Stone was arrested around 6 AM Friday at his house in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a federal indictment including seven felony charges. Armed agents in bulletproof vests surrounded Stone’s home and hauled him off, reportedly in his pajamas.
Stone’s been charged with 7 counts — 5 counts of false statements, one count of witness tampering and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
The president can only pardon people on federal charges. This means Robert Mueller merely has to coordinate with state officials on state-level charges as a backup. For instance, if Donald Trump had tried to pardon the likes of Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, the New York Attorney General would have swooped in. The thing about Roger Stone is that he lives in Florida – and the state’s Republican Attorney General surely has no interest in working with Mueller on backup charges. But his apartment in Manhattan was also raided, according to CNN, and that’s a game changer.
What evidence trail will the Feds find in Stone’s New York apartment that they haven’t already found in Stone’s Florida home? That part doesn’t much matter. The key is that this raid will establish Stone as having committed at least some aspects of these alleged crimes in the state of New York, which means the New York Attorney General has jurisdiction to bring state-level charges if Donald Trump tries to pardon Stone.
No one ever beats the rap on perjury at trial when the evidence is this cut and dry. So Stone can die in a cell, or he can cut a plea deal against Donald Trump. He might bluster for a bit first, but we suspect he’ll flip. He has no other way out of this.
And it gets worse. On Saturday, Trump seemed intent on defending his longtime friend and tried to deflect from the seriousness of Stone’s crimes by falsely accusing his political rivals of committing similar crimes. But inadvertently threw Stone all the way under the bus by confirming that Stone lied to Congress.
In other words, Roger Stone is absolutely going to prison, on charges that will land him a de facto life sentence at his age.