Russia Monitor: With The Arrest Of Roger Stone The Right Wing Has Their ‘MAGA Six’

“Trump is killing us.

— Agritek president Larry Kooiker


“There’s no intelligence to the way this is being done. The tariffs are designed to hurt China, but they are being paid by American companies.”

— EBW president Cory Steeby


“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this. I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

— 38-year old hurricane survivor Crystal Minton

By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (2/4/19)

Dear Fellow Readers,

A deliberately careful view would say that many who voted for Trump wanted ‘people like me’ to benefit while correcting for some societal or cultural ‘wrong’ even — or preferably — if it hurt ‘them’.

Have you ever heard a liberal say, “Fuck coal miners”? The above quotes capture the proper tone even if liberties are taken with context.

Liberals are hair-trigger fast to admit to and point fingers over mistakes made by our generation with resultant costs and missed opportunities, very possibly in dire ways. Whether our generation is unique won’t matter if we’re the generation that had the opportunity to stop the doomsday clock countdown and failed to act. Much heated discussion happens around who, why, what, priorities, actions, leadership, urgency – but not, “who deserves to get hurt?”

Liberals are increasingly impatient, which is the opposite of increasingly resistant. No, sub-zero temperatures do not confirm global warming as a hoax. The key is in the huge number of record high global temperatures and denial isn’t going to make that go away – nor is anger or retaliation against a messenger.

Starbucks CEO and independent presidential candidate Howard Schultz has already tripped all the wires of possible legitimacy. When a heckler accuses, egotistical billionaire a**hole, no, Howard, it’s not a sign you’re doing something right. And no, “If America was a company … we would be facing insolvency is not a sensible foundation for government policy.

That’s not to say that Schultz doesn’t have admirers. Schultz’s plan is to appeal to what he says is a “slightly more than 40% of the electorate who identifies as independent”. But he does have support:

“Attendees gave him glowing reviews as a person. “I have great admiration for Howard, both as a human being and as a CEO,” said Lisa Brown, who works at what she describes as a commercial innovation firm.”

Schultz most likely just fades into the background but before he does, maybe he raises the question of whether every bum needs a comeuppance or whether we’re better advantaged making sure to bring people under the tent to get the right things done the right way. This is not a binary decision…


The very greasiest operators

But the fire at hand is the “Trump is killing us”. It is no longer possible to focus on a single evil-of-the-moment though currently the Dem House is divvying up the list and bringing welcome focus. Jack Holmes writing for Esquire refers to ‘The Great American Heist’

“Donald Trump’s improbable ascension to the American presidency was a Bat Signal to some of the most accomplished grifters and scoundrels this fine country has to offer. They jumped on the nearest airplane—preferably private, and paid for by someone else—and jetted off to Washington, D.C., to carve out their piece of the action. The United States and its territories have always been home to some of history’s great scammers, fraudsters, confidence men, and snake-oil salesmen. It is a relentless feature of the national character in a country built by people trying to make a buck, however they could, on the ragged edge of civilization. It’s just the very greasiest operators don’t often pry their way into the Cabinet of the United States president. More rarely, still, do they capture it—and the Executive Branch of government.”

And this is only one angle – consider racism. Or anti-Muslim policy. Or anti-asylum seeker policy. Or pro authoritarian policy.


The MAGA Six

Or treason? Which brings us to Trump-Russia. Starting with the Friday [2/1] arrest of long-time, close Trump political adviser and Nixon tattooed dirty trickster Roger Stone: Stephen King Has 1 Burning Question For Every Trump Supporter.

The subhead notes: The best-selling author says Roger Stone’s arrest should make one thing clear to the president’s supporters.

“While long expected, this finally happened:

“Stone, who served briefly as a Trump campaign aide in 2015 and remained an informal adviser afterward, was charged with seven counts including lying, obstruction of an official proceeding and witness tampering.”

Stone is just the latest to be indicted in connection with the Robert Mueller investigation, which has led to guilty pleas from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, among others

To which Stephen King tweeted:

“Another Trump insider appears bound for the old (Roger)stone hotel. How long before Trump supporters realize that you don’t surround yourself with dirty guys unless you’re dirty yourself?”

We’ll leave this here given how much more we’ll learn about Stone’s Trump-Russia role, specifically with WikiLeaks, and the prosecution of the charges. Stone has been his own worst megaphone and sadly his voice might be quieted with a gag order, but this will stay in the news.


The reason this story has staying power is highlighted by The Atlantic writer Natasha Bertrand citing this from the charges against Stone:

“JUST IN: According to Mueller and DC USA, discovery in the Roger Stone case is “both voluminous and complex,” and “is composed of multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of information”—including bank records & comms taken from iCloud/email accounts, electronic devices.

“Upon the entry of a protective order, the government intends to begin providing defense counsel with discovery. This discovery is both voluminous and complex. It is composed of multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of information consisting of, among other things, FBI case reports, search warrant applications and results (e.g., Apple iCloud accounts and email accounts), bank and financial records, and the contents of numerous physical devices (e.g., cellular phones, computers, hard drives). The communications contained in the iCloud accounts, email accounts, and physical devices span several years. The government also intends to produce to defense the contents of physical devices recently seized from his home, apartment, and office. Those devices are currently undergoing a filter review by the FBI for potentially privileged communications.”

Stone potentially miscalculated on two counts. He overestimated the steps he took to hide communications. And like the arrest of Trump’s former campaign manager, Manafort, this confirms the arrest procedure given the “physical devices seized from his home, apartment, and office”. If you have something to hide on all those electronic devices, why wait for the weekend ahead of the ‘notice’ to appear and surrender to the FBI on Monday. Don’t procrastinate.

If you’re inclined to feel bad for Stone, he’s getting the attention and adoration he was seeking, see him here at the Sunday ‘Women for Trump 2020’ event at the Trump International Hotel, shades of Colonel Ollie North…


NRA still down range

In the midst of all the new dust-ups and distractions, rest assured, the NRA is — most deservedly — not off the hook: Investigators Are Zeroing In On Top NRA Leaders’ Russia Ties—And Challenging The Gun Group’s Story.

The story subhead notes: The role of a former NRA president and the group’s 2015 Moscow trip are under scrutiny.

“After remaining all but mum for the past two years about news reports detailing its ties to Russia, the National Rifle Association finally spoke up this week. The gun group tried to distance itself from a 2015 trip to Moscow by top NRA officials that was arranged by Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty last year to acting as a Russian agent and participating in a conspiracy against the United States. But congressional investigators are challenging the NRA on what they think is a bogus cover story and stepping up investigations of the group.

“… NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre finally broke his silence on the matter, asserting through attorneys this week that he had opposed the trip and acted to distance the gun group from it.

“But Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, who is investigating the NRA as the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has information contradicting the gun group’s claims that it had no “official” connection to the 2015 Moscow trip, sources told Mother Jones. Wyden is preparing a detailed report on the trip. And congressional investigators are homing in on David Keene, a former NRA president who was the trip’s primary organizer on the NRA side, according to people familiar with the matter. “This was driven in large by Keene,” said a person who reviewed NRA emails about the travel plans. Keene, a longtime conservative Republican figurehead and former opinion editor for the Washington Times, also sought an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the trip, according to reports this week, though one did not take place.”

Wyden doesn’t buy NRA denials saying, “I don’t think it’s credible for the NRA to claim that they played no official role in the 2015 Moscow trip. This incredulity is highlighted by this remarkably unintentional red flag:

“I’ll meet you at the airport,” Butina wrote to members of the delegation on December 3, 2015, according to the ABC report. “For your convenience, in our hands will be a big red sign saying ‘Welcome NRA’.”


Shakespeare plays at Trump Tower

We’ll end with one attempt to answer the question, who is indicted next? Newsweek offered one downright Shakespearean possibility: Donald trump Jr. Will Be Indicted By Mueller, Former Proecutor Says, And Will Help To Ensnare His Father.

“During a segment on MSNBC’s AM Joy on Saturday, Paul Butler, a former Department of Justice public corruption prosecutor, and host Joy Reid discussed the latest developments in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign team and Moscow officials.

““Does Mueller have to indict Trump in order to put the proper coda at the end of the long symphony?” Reid asked the ex-prosecutor.

““Mueller is not going to indict Trump, because he’s going to follow the DOJ employee handbook, but he has leverage over the president in terms of Donald Trump, Jr.,” Butler explained. “We’ve seen Mueller use people’s kids to get to folks in the past. He could do this with Donald Trump, Jr.”

“He continued: “Trump, Jr. went into the Senate Intelligence Committee, took an oath to tell the truth, and lied his butt off.”

““You think he will get indicted?” Reid asked.

““If Roger Stone and Michael Cohen get indicted for lying to the Intelligence Committee and Donald, Jr. lied, then he gets indicted too,” Butler responded.

As NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me host Peter Sagal says at the end of every program, ‘should any of this happen’, we will certainly let you know.


Sooner or later Trump will move out of the spotlight. If Trump-Russia treason and Robert Mueller bring forward the timing – great. But the question remains, what next and how do we get it done. Through pain and suffering Trump bears the potential gift of healing and urgency.

In the meantime, don’t shoot the messengers. Disclaimer – Howard Schultz is not a liberal.

(Commoner Call cartoons by Mark L. Taylor 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )