Stone’s indictment reveals moral corruption

Opinion

January 30, 2019 - 11:11 AM

Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, gestures as he leaves the Prettyman United States Courthouse after facing charges from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Roger Stone was indicted Friday for lying to Congress and witness tampering, not for conspiring with Russian intelligence or WikiLeaks, Moscow’s partner in disseminating materials stolen from the Democratic National Committee. Yet if special counsel Robert S. Mueller III did not disclose evidence of criminal collusion, the indictment makes clear that senior officials of the Trump campaign — including, possibly, Donald Trump himself — reacted to the criminal intelligence operation of a prime U.S. adversary by secretly trying to take advantage of it.

By mid-June 2016, it was publicly known that the DNC’s computer systems had been hacked by Russian government agents. The following month, when WikiLeaks released a trove of DNC emails, it was clear the material had come from the Russians. Yet, according to Mr. Stone’s indictment, the response of the Trump campaign was to contact Mr. Stone and ask him to find out what other damaging material WikiLeaks might have and when it would be released.

“A senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information [WikiLeaks] had regarding the Clinton campaign,” reads the indictment. Mr. Stone proceeded to do just that, reaching out to WikiLeaks through two intermediaries and reporting back to Trump aides. Following a WikiLeaks release of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta on Oct. 7, 2016, Mr. Stone received a text from “an associate of the high-ranking Trump Campaign official” saying “well done.” That high-ranking official was almost certainly Stephen K. Bannon; the indictment leaves open the possibility his dealings with Mr. Stone were “directed” by Mr. Trump.

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