Yet another associate of President Donald Trump is facing a federal criminal trial this week. Some time after he first got hit with criminal charges centering on obstruction of justice allegations, Roger Stone will be facing federal prosecutors this week in a D.C. court, and one reporter says that that the trial is shaping up to reveal new details and/or perspective about Trump himself. During the 2016 campaign season, Stone sought to get material from WikiLeaks that Russian hackers had stolen from Democrats, and at various junctures, then-candidate Trump himself seems to have been kept in the loop about the scheme.
In an appearance on MSNBC, reporter Josh Gerstein shared:
‘I think [Trump is] certainly going to be referred to. Jurors are being told that this case has something do with Trump. We expect some testimony… about a conversation that took place with Rick Gates and somebody on the phone in the back of a limo with then-candidate Trump, where he was told in advance about the planned release of some of these Clinton or Democratic emails. So we do expect the president’s name to be invoked at the trial. Whether it’s something that he’ll have to pay a political price for, you know, six months from now or a year from now, I think we’ll have to wait and see.’
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Trump has already paid politically for revelations connected to federal criminal cases against other associates. For instance, Trump was infamously referred to in federal campaign finance law violation charges against Michael Cohen as “Individual 1,” who helped direct the scheme to attempt to use hush money to buy the silence with whom Trump had affairs. Prosecutors determined that these hush money payments constituted illegal campaign contributions.
Trump has long severed relations with Cohen at this point, but he’s not done the same to Stone. In January of this year, Trump took to Twitter to try and defend Stone via resorting to a laundry list of his favorite debunked conspiracy theories about who the supposed real criminals are:
‘If Roger Stone was indicted for lying to Congress, what about the lying done by Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lisa Page & lover, Baker and soooo many others? What about Hillary to FBI and her 33,000 deleted Emails? What about Lisa & Peter’s deleted texts & Wiener’s laptop? Much more!’
Trump definitely seems tied to Stone as his trial starts this week.
‘People associated with the case have likened the upcoming trial to a “circus” or a “freak show.” But they also acknowledge that Stone — who has spent a lifetime practicing in the dark art of political warfare — is in for the fight of his life.’
A main apparent reason that Trump has not faced criminal charges while half a dozen and counting of his direct associates have is that he’s the president, and there’s standing Justice Department precedent against indicting a sitting president. However, House Democrats have already begun working around this precedent with their ongoing impeachment inquiry, which has already heard from numerous witnesses and will soon be going public.