Saturday, Jun 10, 2023

Roger Stone raged at ‘disgrace’ Trump over failure to overturn election – report

Roger Stone raged at ‘disgrace’ Trump over failure to overturn election – report

Washington Post report, based on unseen film footage, also says Stone, 69, said Jared Kushner ‘needs to have a beating’

Close Donald Trump ally Roger Stone raged at the former US president in the aftermath of the failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election, according to a report from the Washington Post, telling a friend that Trump was a “disgrace” who would go to prison and adding: “He betrayed everybody.”

The Post said it had viewed 20 hours of footage of the political operative that had been shot for a forthcoming documentary. The footage, it said, showed Stone:

*  Meeting and corresponding with members of a far-right militia since indicted for seditious conspiracy over the Capitol riot on January 6.

*  Discussing a plan in which Trump would issue a blanket pardon to co-conspirators in the attempt to overturn the election, Senator Ted Cruz and congressman Jim Jordan among them.

*  Saying Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, should be “punished” in a way that would leave him “braindead”.

*  Suggesting violence against protesters for racial justice would be possible with the election out of the way.

“Once there’s no more election,” Stone reportedly said, “there’s no reason why we can’t mix it up. These people are going to get what they’ve been asking for.”

The plan for a blanket pardon was reportedly blocked by Pat Cipollone, Trump’s White House counsel. “Clearly, Cipollone fucked everybody,” the Post quoted Stone as telling a friend, before messaging another: “See you in prison.”

Trump had already commuted a three-year sentence handed to Stone for obstructing Congress during the Russia investigation.

The footage viewed by the Post was shot by Danish film-makers for a documentary, A Storm Foretold, to be released this year.

Stone, who has resisted cooperation with the House January 6 investigation, told the Post “any claim, assertion or implication that I knew about, was involved in or condoned the illegal acts at the Capitol on January 6” was “categorically false”.

Stone also said the paper employed “a clever blend of ‘guilt by association’, insinuations, half-truths, anonymous claims, falsehoods and out-of-context trick questions” and said the footage could be “deep fakes”.

Now 69, Stone – who was once a “dirty trickster” for Richard Nixon – has been close to Trump since the 1980s. In 2020 he was closely involved with the “Stop the Steal” movement to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, driven by the lie of widespread electoral fraud.

On 5 November, two days after election day and two days before Biden’s victory was called, the film-makers captured Stone talking to Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser Trump pardoned for lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation.

“Our slogan should be ‘count every legal ballot’,” Stone was quoted as saying. “Much better messaging. More positive.” In the White House briefing room that evening, the Post said, Trump said: “If you count the legal votes, I easily win.”

The Post detailed Stone’s activities leading up to 6 January, including staying at the Willard hotel, a “command centre” for Trump associates. Footage, the paper said, showed Stone with members of the Oath Keepers militia now charged with seditious conspiracy.

The film-makers also shot Stone as he attempted to broker presidential pardons for money, and as he attempted to secure access to Trump’s rally near the White House on 6 January, but failed.

As the Capitol riot began, the Post said, Stone was unavailable for a short period of time. He then told the film-makers: “I think it’s really bad for the movement. It hurts, it doesn’t help. I’m not sure what they thought they were going to achieve.”

But he also said: “When you can’t get a fair and honest judicial opinion, when you can’t get a fair, honest and transparent election, when your legislative process is constipated by fear and threat …”

The Post said Stone then “slightly misquot[ed] former president John F Kennedy”: “Those who make peaceful progress impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”

Stone returned to Florida and worked on his pardon plan. The Post said intended recipients included senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and representatives Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz. Spokesmen for Cruz and Jordan denied contacts with Stone.

On 20 January 2021, inauguration day, enraged by a pardon on fraud charges for Steve Bannon, a rival for Trump’s attentions, Stone reportedly said Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was “going to get a beating. He needs to have a beating. And needs to be told, ‘This time we’re just beating you. Next time we’re killing you.’”

Urged to say he was joking, the Post said, Stone said: “No, it isn’t joking. Not joking. It’s not a joke.”

Stone also said Kushner should be “punished in the most brutal possible way” and would be “braindead when I get finished with him”.

Stone then turned to Trump, who he said deserved to be impeached and whose presidency had been the “greatest single mistake in American history”.

“A good, long sentence in prison will give him a chance to think about it, because the southern district is coming for him, and he did nothing,” Stone said, referring to prosecutors in New York investigating Trump’s business.

Stone also mocked Trump’s apparent plan to run again, saying: “Run again! You’ll get your fucking brains beat in.”

He told the film-makers: “Obviously if you use any of that, I’ll murder you.”

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