By Ryan Lucas
A federal judge on Thursday barred Roger Stone from talking publicly about his case after an inflammatory photo was posted on his Instagram account of the judge that included what appeared to be a crosshairs. Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected apologies offered by Stone, both in writing and in person at a hearing in Washington, D.C. If Stone violates the order, Jackson warned him, she would be "compelled to adjust your environment." She then spelled out what that meant — she would revoke his bond and order him to be detained ahead of his trial. The judge's decision adds Stone to an existing gag order that prohibits attorneys from speaking about the case and bars any of the parties from talking about it in the vicinity of the courthouse. Stone, 66, has been charged with obstruction, false statements and witness tampering as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The obstruction and false statements charges relate to testimony he gave to Congress about the role he allegedly played in 2016 as an intermediary between Donald Trump's campaign and WikiLeaks. Stone has pleaded not guilty and says he did nothing wrong. He and supporters also have leveled intense criticism at the government before and since his arrest, including of the FBI, the Justice Department and then Jackson herself. Stone's Instagram post on Monday suggested that conspirators within the "deep state" had schemed to put his case before an ostensibly unfair Jackson so she could preside over a "show trial." A shape like the crosshairs of a rifle scope appeared in the backdrop of the photo. The post was then deleted.
By Andrew Prokop
Court filings about Cohen, Manafort, and Stone have alleged scandalous activities during the 2016 campaign.
President Trump keeps insisting that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has found “no collusion” between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. But a close read of what we already know about what Mueller’s been doing suggests at the very least, some very questionable things were going on during the campaign. Mueller’s team has already laid out a startling story in indictments, plea deals, and other court documents that are full of new revelations about the Trump team’s contacts with Russia that year — contacts that have moved from suspicious to downright scandalous. The special counsel has not alleged any sinister, high-level election interference conspiracy involving Trump himself and the Russian government. But, particularly in recent filings, he has laid out damaging facts on three major matters that certainly seem at least collusion-adjacent. 1) The business opportunity for Trump: The Trump Organization was secretly in talks for a potentially very lucrative Moscow real estate deal during the campaign, and Russian government officials were involved. Trump and members of his family were briefed several times on the project. 2) A key figure with shady Russia connections: Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort had a history of illegal work for pro-Russian interests and was in debt to a Russian oligarch. Then, during the campaign, he allegedly handed over Trump polling data to a Russian intelligence-tied associate. 3) The hacked — and leaked — emails: Russian intelligence officers hacked leading Democrats’ emails, and WikiLeaks eventually posted many of those stolen emails publicly. Trump associates like George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone seem to have had at least some advance knowledge of this. These revelations are all significant, and greatly change what we know about what happened in 2016. They tell us that while Trump was praising Putin on the campaign trail, he and his family were trying to make massive amounts of money in Russia. Meanwhile, Manafort was handing out his polling data for unknown reasons, and Stone was at least trying to get an inside line on the emails criminally stolen from Democrats. We don’t yet know whether there’s more to be revealed about any of these. Mueller also hasn’t indicated how these pieces fit together to form a larger story, and he hasn’t yet assessed how much, exactly, the president knew about each. And there are other incidents, like the infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, that the special counsel has not yet said a single word about. But the bigger picture is that, however you define “collusion,” we’ve learned a great deal more about just what top figures in Trumpworld were doing regarding Russia during the election — and it’s far from being a “nothingburger.”