Roger Stone Was Convicted For What Trump Just Did
President Trump just had a terrible day. First, former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave testimony about the smear campaign that ousted her so she wouldn’t get in the way of Trump’s extortion plot. Then, President Trump smeared her in real-time, likely committing witness intimidation. Then, longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was convicted on 7 counts, including witness tampering and lying to Congress. This all happened by noon.
Roger Stone was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to investigators, and one count of witness tampering. Stone joins Manafort, Gates, Flynn, Papadopoulos, and Cohen as Trump associates and former officials who are convicted felons. You can read about the original indictment here.
Although the lying to Congress counts should strike fear into the likes of Ambassador Gordon Sondland ahead of his testimony next week, it’s that final count that is getting the most attention today. Why? Because President Trump committed the very same crime during Yovanovitch’s testimony.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
I wrote about how this all played out in my latest analysis for The Independent:
This is where Yovanovitch’s testimony turned into an unprecedented spectacle. Yovanovitch began speaking about how she was recalled from Ukraine without explanation after being told that there were concerns about her safety. In the very moment she was discussing this smear campaign and its effects, at 10:01 am ET, President Trump sent out a tweet:
Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
Minutes later, Yovanovitch was asked about a previous attack on her from President Trump. In his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, Trump called Yovanovitch “bad news” and told Zelensky that the former ambassador would be “going to go through some things.” Yovanovitch said that the color drained from her face when she read that in the transcript memo. House Intelligence Committee counsel Daniel Goldman asked her about this. Yovanovitch replied: “‘She’s going to go through some things.’ It didn’t sound good. It sounded like — a threat.” Goldman asked, “Did you feel threatened?”Yovanovitch said: “I did.”
It was in this context that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) read Trump’s tweet to Yovanovitch and asked what effect that would have on other witnesses. She responded by saying, “It’s very intimidating… The effect is to be intimidating.” Schiff replied, “Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.” They went to break, where even Fox News hosts expressed concern about what had just happened. Then, in a moment straight out of a political drama, Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone was convicted on all seven counts against him — including witness tampering.
Needless to say, by committing additional impeachable offenses in real-time, President Trump is making his already indefensible position even more indefensible for the Republican Party.