According to a recently filed status report from the ongoing case against former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, it appears the upcoming trial against Roger Stone will focus on alleged misdeeds by Donald Trump.
Per Politico, prosecutors have asked that the government grant three additional months to question Gates before he is sentenced. Also, the status report reveals that Gates may testify in Stone’s trial as well as the trial of former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig.
If you’re like me and questioning why this news from the Gates case is so important to the Stone trial, journalist Marcy Wheeler has the answer:
“That’s interesting given the way the very redacted passages treating Stone’s charges in the Mueller Report flesh out Gates’ role as a liaison between Trump and Stone in the effort to optimize the WikiLeaks releases,” Wheeler wrote.
“Stone’s indictment had been coy on this point (so much so, I’ve wondered whether [former acting attorney general Matt Whitaker] told Mueller to stop mentioning Trump in charging documents after the Michael Cohen plea). It describes senior members of the campaign contacting Stone to find out what WikiLeaks had coming,” Wheeler continued.
“There’s this very pregnant passage using the passive voice to describe someone — the indictment doesn’t name who — directing a senior campaign official to contact Stone about further releases, which would lead to Stone’s efforts to find out, in part via Jerome Corsi, what was coming in late July and early August,” she added.
Based on this information, it looks as if Gates is poised to inform the court that Trump was directly involved with Stone in coordinating the release of that stolen information by WikiLeaks.
“The government’s ability to tie the President directly to this part of the operation will make it harder (though nothing is beyond Trump) to pardon Stone before the trial,” Wheeler suggested, “even while it will provide incentive to Trump to do so.”
“Trump’s centrality in all this may be one reason William Barr is so aggressively protecting the Stone related disclosures,” she concluded, “including with his refusals to share unredacted copies of the report with Congress: because Trump’s documented role in encouraging Stone’s efforts is far stronger than it is in any of the other potential incidences of election tampering.”