30 July 2022

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

It's always the tapes.
It appears that Matt Gaetz was caught on tape promising Roger Stone a pardon if he did not flip on Trump.

While there is nothing here directly implicating Trump, it is slam dunk evidence that Gaetz committed criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice, offering a quid pro quo in exchange for Stone's silence:

As Roger Stone prepared to stand trial in 2019, complaining he was under pressure from federal prosecutors to incriminate Donald Trump, a close ally of the president repeatedly assured Stone that “the boss” would likely grant him clemency if he were convicted, a recording shows.

At an event at a Trump property that October, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) predicted that Stone would be found guilty at his trial in Washington the following month but would not “do a day” in prison. Gaetz was apparently unaware they were being recorded by documentary filmmakers following Stone, whom special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had charged with obstruction of a congressional investigation.

“The boss still has a very favorable view of you,” said Gaetz, stressing that the president had “said it directly.” He also said, “I don’t think the big guy can let you go down for this.”


The lawmaker also told Stone during their conversation that Stone was mentioned “a lot” in redacted portions of Mueller’s report, appearing to refer to portions that the Justice Department had shown to select members of Congress confidentially in a secure room. “They’re going to do you, because you’re not going to have a defense,” Gaetz told Stone.

So Gaetz was leaking information to Stone from a classified briefing.

This should be pretty much a slam dunk for prosecutors if they have the guts to go after charges, which they probably won't, because of the norms fairy.

The 25-minute recording was captured by a microphone that Stone was wearing on his lapel for a Danish film crew, which was making a feature-length documentary on the veteran Republican operative. The filmmakers allowed Washington Post reporters to review their footage in advance of the release of their film, “A Storm Foretold,” which is expected later this year.
Gaetz, through his lawyer, is suggesting that the taping is illegal.  This is complete bullsh%$. 

First, the lapel mic is what you clipped to someone's collar for interview shows.  It's clearly visible, and second, in the tape, Gaetz specifically notes that there are microphones all over the place, showing that he had no expectation of privacy.

Also, unless Gaetz could show that Stone was acting on behalf on law enforcement, the tapes would still be be admissible in a criminal trial of Gaetz.

The standard caveats apply, of course, as I am an engineer, not a doctor dammit.*


Stone, a friend and adviser to Trump since the 1980s, was charged by Mueller with lying to Congress about his communications with Trump’s campaign regarding WikiLeaks’ 2016 release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign. U.S. authorities determined that the emails were hacked by Russian operatives seeking to boost Trump’s candidacy. Trump and Stone denied to Mueller that they had discussed WikiLeaks, but testimony from other Trump aides contradicted their accounts.

Stone was convicted on seven felony counts that November and sentenced to 40 months in prison. But Trump, who publicly praised Stone for not “flipping” on him, commuted his prison sentence before it began and eventually pardoned him.

It is remarkable just how well Gaetz predicted the future.  It's almost as if he had a direct line to the White House.

Funny, innit?

*I love it when I get to go all Dr. McCoy!


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