Stone has raised the I’m-a-mendacious-windbag defense — essentially claiming that he is a serial liar who inflated his own contacts and influence to get attention. This has a level of credibility. He is, in fact, a mendacious windbag. But the argument “Believe me now, I have always been an inveterate liar” has practical, as well as logical, limitations.

Here is one fact beyond dispute. Look at the men whom Trump has traditionally surrounded himself with: Stone, Corsi, Paul Manafort, Cohen. These are some of the least reputable people in American politics. Trump’s inner circle has always been a cesspool.

And there is a reason for this — a reason Trump has traditionally employed unethical people to serve his purposes. It is because he has unethical jobs for them to do, involving schemes to remove political threats and gain electoral advantage. And there is every reason to believe that Trump has fully participated in such schemes.