On closer examination, Roger Stone indictment is less than it seems

What an indictment does not say can be as instructive as what it does say. To take another example from the Trump-Russia investigation, look at the indictment of Trump fixer Michael Cohen for lying to Congress. Mueller charged Cohen with lying when he told lawmakers that talks over the proposed Trump Tower Moscow project ended in January 2016, when in fact, according to Mueller, they continued until June 2016. But on another aspect of the Trump-Russia affair, Mueller did not charge Cohen when he strongly denied that he had ever been in Prague, which was a key allegation of the so-called Trump dossier. The fact that Mueller did not question Cohen’s Prague denial — in testimony that Mueller examined carefully and actually indicted Cohen for another statement — suggests that there’s nothing to the Prague story.

Similarly, there are the parts of Stone’s testimony that Mueller chose not to indict Stone over. Stone’s defense of himself in the “time in the barrel” matter, in his contacts with Guccifer 2.0, and in his lack of direct contacts with WikiLeaks all resulted in no accusations from Mueller. And, of course, the indictment did not charge that Stone knew about the WikiLeaks disclosures beforehand, or that he was involved in any conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election, or that such a conspiracy even existed. Put it all together, and the Stone indictment adds up to less than it at first seems.

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