When the FBI raided Roger Stone’s Ft. Lauderdale, Florida home on Friday, many Americans had no idea who Stone was, and we certainly didn’t know he could be a key player in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Stone—a longtime Trump associate who spent decades as a self-described political dirty trickster—is well known in political circles. But ordinary Americans know more about R. Kelly than they do about R. Stone. That changed when the FBI showed up before dawn with shotguns, vests, and warrants. Stone finally got the attention he’d been seeking all these years.
So who is Roger Stone? It depends whom you ask. For Trump’s defenders, Stone is just a strange man with a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back; a man who talks too much and tries too hard to take credit for things he didn’t do. If you ask Stone himself, he’s a master of political chicanery who’s been influential since the 70s. If you ask Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Stone is the missing link between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Wikileaks operatives who distributed emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, and the Russians who sought to help Trump win the White House.
All of those things are at least partially true, but if you ask me, Roger Stone is just another entitled rich guy who’s too weak to take the heat.
How else to describe a man who strongly implied that he helped Wikileaks hack emails from the Clinton campaign, and then played victim when he got arrested for doing so?
How else to describe a man who communicated with Russian hackers on Twitter and then claimed he had nothing to do with the alleged collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign?
How else to describe a man who claimed to be a political OG—an original gangster—then folded like a cheap shirt when the feds brought the heat.
Stone, according to Robert Mueller’s indictment, is the kind of man who would threaten to hurt a potential witness’s dog if that witness testified against Trump. But Stone is also the kind of man who would complain that the FBI scared Stone’s dog when they banged on his door to arrest him.
Bottom line, Roger Stone is not a gangster—not even close. But if the allegations laid out against him in Robert Mueller’s indictment are true, and Stone betrayed America by helping a foreign adversary to influence a presidential election, Stone should be treated like a gangster.
That’s because in allegedly helping the Russians, Stone helped to damage millions of people.
If Stone helped the Russians to influence the election, he had a hand in Russia’s online effort to convince blacks not to vote.
If Stone helped Russians to influence the election, he helped bring about the imprisonment of immigrant children separated from their parents.
If Stone helped Russians to influence the election, he helped bring about a government shutdown that saw federal workers miss a month worth of paychecks.
So yes, they should’ve come for Stone as if he were Al Capone. Yes, they should’ve treated Stone like the gangster he claims to be. Yes, if Stone is found guilty he should face the maximum penalty.
Millions of people took the heat for the crimes he is alleged to have committed. And while Stone might believe he’s entitled to better treatment than the rest of us, in my view, he’s entitled to go to jail.
Listen to Solomon Jones weekdays from 10 to Noon on Praise 107.9 HD2