Roger Stone dodged a federal bullet in Washington yesterday. Donald Trump’s peculiar friend for 40 years was playing Groucho Marx in a D.C. federal courthouse, tweaking the nose of a federal judge and getting away with it. Only thing the situation needed for authenticity was Harpo honking a buggy horn.
Sometimes having friends in high places doesn’t need to be articulated. Or it might mean the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is drawing up a complaint to charge the Trumpian court jester with threatening a federal judge.
Putting an illustration of crosshairs next to any federal judge’s head is a textbook example of threatening behavior. If that happens, Stone’s next visit will be a secret one from U.S. Marshals, who will introduce him to a new dimension of the Deep State.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson called Stone to court yesterday to find out why she shouldn’t broaden her previous gag order for Stone to shut up already around the courthouse. Stone was contrite, his mocking visage all agog with rolling eyes and flowing features that seem to mock themselves. It was good enough he got to go home.
Jackson’s new gag order prohibits Stone from saying anything about his case anywhere and by any means that might be seen in public. Her gag order is a condition of his bail. So, apparently, was groveling adequately sufficiently to persuade Jackson that he is indeed a pathetic creature. Stone is currently free on a $250,000 personal recognizance bond after pleading “not guilty” to perjury.
Stone on Monday posted an Instagram picture of Jackson that criticized his “show trial” over which she presides. He is going on trial for lying to investigators for the House Intelligence Committee last year and for pressuring another witness in that investigation to lie to the committee. That’s the incident in which Stone threatened to kidnap the other witness’ dog. Mueller must have thought Stone wasn’t treating his investigation with the appropriate level of dignity for such an important moment.
His indictment contends Stone made contact with WikiLeaks during the summer of 2016, when the website was releasing Hillary Clinton’s stolen e-mails, reportedly purloined by Russian intelligence operatives. It isn’t clear yet what he did with them. Can’t make this shit up folks! Then he lied to congressional investigators who were getting to the bottom of it. So far, things are working out well for the investigators. They just can’t tell anybody.
Stone is probably back home now, gloating that he eked out another mile on the news circuit simply for acting the fool in Florida. It is obvious to everyone but the outlandish trickster himself that he’s dancing on the perp walk on the way to being a long-term prison inmate.
Is Stone still too arrogant to realize it, or does he? Perhaps he represents another diversion from Trump’s endless arsenal of dirty tricks, or an amusing cutout designed to keep intelligent life away from Trump’s obvious daily crimes?
Stone insulted Jackson with his reference to the “Deep State,” that whacky Twilight Zone for conspiracy theorists that Stone pretends to believe actually exists. In reality, Stone is the Deep State. For his entire adult life, he has been a dirty political trickster in a place where law, order and deep secrets meld. He worked for Richard Nixon after all, probably the slimiest toad to ever infest the White House before Trump came along.
Jackson didn’t explain herself completely, so it is hard to predict whether she is done with Stone. She previously made clear she was trying to preserve her ability to seat an impartial jury and “maintain the dignity and seriousness of the courthouse and these proceedings.” With Stone bouncing around free to pull his dirty tricks without more censure than a “you are a naughty boy” admonition, that hoped-for dignity is still be up for grabs.
Stone, meanwhile, has been trying to raise money for a legal defense fund. He reportedly told his followers that he is surviving on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At last report he was down to his last $25 million. It’s tough all over.