Republican operative Roger Stone is the latest in President Trump’s inner circle to face criminal charges in the Mueller probe, but his alleged crimes have nothing to do with Russia collusion, Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York argued Friday.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged the former Trump campaign adviser with seven felonies -- including obstruction, making false statements, and witness tampering. The FBI sent more than two-dozen armed agents to arrest Stone in his Florida home before the crack of dawn Friday.
On the "Special Report" All-Star panel, York -- along with National Journal political editor Josh Kraushaar and Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti -- weighed in on the political and legal ramifications of the latest indictments from Mueller.
York began by pointing out that Stone’s communications regarding WikiLeaks took place after the site published emails from the Democratic National Committee. York said he thought this suggested that “there was no knowledge beforehand” and that the facts don't support “any collusion scheme or conspiracy” involving the Trump campaign and Russia.
“The main thing to remember reading this indictment is, Roger Stone has always been a kind of a BS artist. He brags about all sort of dirty deeds, some of which he hasn’t even done, and he was doing that in connection to this case in public. And then the House had him come for an interview and asked him about those statements under oath and he allegedly lied about it all and it has all kind of caught up with him. But as far as revealing some sort of scheme or conspiracy, it just doesn’t do it,” York told the panel.
Continetti said that because the indictments Stone is facing are “process crimes,” the Trump administration is able to “create some space” between the former adviser and the president.
Kraushaar, however, felt differently, telling the panel that it “feels like the walls are closing in” at the White House regarding its connections with Russia and WikiLeaks. The political fallout, if it takes place, would occur after Mueller releases his final report.