Roger Stone is willing to talk to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but there’s a major catch (via ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos):
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you won’t bear false witness against President Trump, are you prepared to tell the truth about your dealings with him to the Special Counsel, the truth about your dealings with the campaign, any chance you’ll cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller if he asks?
STONE: You know, that’s a question I would have to – I have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion. If there’s wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is I would certainly testify honestly.
I’d also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president. It’s true that we spoke on the phone, but those communications are political in nature, they’re benign, and there is – there is certainly no conspiracy with Russia.
Stone appears to be keeping to the vow made to Tucker Carlson he won’t “bear false witness” against Trump but it’s still interesting he’s now willing to talk to Mueller because it comes at a risk. He’s already accused of lying to Congress. What happens if Stone gets caught in a lie (whether on purpose or accidental) to Mueller?
Ken White aka Popehat wrote at Reason last year why no one should talk to the feds since they’re not looking for facts but trying to catch someone (emphasis mine).
When special counsels or FBI agents ask questions of one of these powerful people, they are not fact-finding. They’ve already done their homework. They’ve already gathered facts—almost certainly many more facts than the interviewee knows. They are asking questions the answers to which they can already prove, hoping that the interviewee will tell a provable lie, and thus commit a crime, or at least lock themselves into a feckless story that ties their hands later. The law that makes it a crime to lie to federal investigators does not require the lie to fool the investigators for a nanosecond. A lie must be “material” to be criminal, but that only means that the lie is the kind of statement that could conceivably influence the government, not one that actually did. The FBI can roll up with irrefutable proof of something, ask the target a question hoping for a lie, collect the lie they wanted, and reap a felony conviction…
[E]ven an honest, circumspect person faces grave peril in such an interview. FBI agents and prosecutors are adept at putting interviewees ill at ease. The pressure is immense. Human memory is fallible, and the interrogators are not disposed to view misremembered statements as accidents. You don’t know the significance of everything they are asking you, and most people simply cannot sustain the sort of focus necessary to respond to complicated questions precisely and accurately for a sustained period of time. “Just tell the truth,” applied to a complicated interview, assumes that the witness is extraordinarily disciplined and that questioners have an open mind and will act fairly and in good faith. Those assumptions are not warranted.<
Multiple people under FBI investigation have ended up in jail for lying to agents, and one would think Stone knows the risk of just trying to be helpful with the Russia probe. Stone even admitted to Stephanopoulos today he’d left out information by accident.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Prosecutors have looked at this case saying you might need a pardon because they say it’s a slam dunk case, including Chris Christie who’s coming up on the program later.
You know, you denied having any documents or text messages discussing WikiLeaks or Assange, but the prosecutors in the indictment lay out several e-mails, dozens of text messages.
STONE: You know, you’re right, I did forget on some occasions that I had text messages and e-mails that are entirely exculpatory and prove that everything I said before the House Intelligence Committee was true.
This reminds me of a comment made by Washington Examiner’s Byron York on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier.
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
One would think Stone’s attorneys would remind him of this before he agrees to talk to Mueller (which he shouldn’t).