How Chuck Ross Helped Make Roger Stone a Felon

Last night, Chuck Ross all but admitted he doesn’t know what he’s talking about with respect to to the Roger Stone case.

I tweeted several things in response to this Ross coverage of the exposure of Igor Danchenko as Christopher Steele’s primary subsource. Ross got sloppy with a lot of details in his story, including everything in this paragraph:

The special counsel’s report debunked the claim about Cohen, saying that he did not visit Prague. It also said that no Trump associates conspired with Russia or helped release emails through WikiLeaks.

My tweet thread started by noting that Mueller did not say no Trump associates conspired with Russia. It specifically said that when the report said the investigation did not establish something — presumably including any such conspiracy — that didn’t mean there wasn’t any evidence. Indeed, there was evidence they may have, but the investigation was thwarted by the obstruction of Trump, Paul Manafort, Erik Prince, and others, including Roger Stone.

I then noted that both of Ross’ claims about the WikiLeaks finding were overstated (note, Ross also falsely claimed the report said Cohen didn’t go to Prague; Mueller’s congressional testimony did).

As noted, the report states clearly that the investigation was never able to determine whether Stone — who had a slew of suspicious calls in the lead-up to the Podesta email release — had a role in their timely release.

The investigation was unable to resolve whether Stone played a role in WikiLeaks’s release of the stolen Podesta emails on October 7, 2016, the same day a video from years earlier was published of Trump using graphic language about women.

I further noted that when a bunch of Stone-related warrants were released in April, a bunch that focused on a new strand of the investigation, investigating Foreign Agent (18 USC 951) charges on top of the conspiracy one that had long been listed in warrants, remained heavily redacted as part of an ongoing investigation. One of those affidavits made clear that Stone was one of the subjects of the investigation they were hiding that Foreign Agent prong of the investigation from.

It does not appear that Stone is currently aware of the full nature and scope of the ongoing FBI investigation.

The thing that appears to have really set Ross off, however, was my observation that he got Stone subpoenaed by credulously reporting his lies.

To add to the fun, Ross claimed (after admitting he didn’t know what I was talking about) that he barely wrote about Stone until after he was subpoenaed.

Stone was never subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee (that was one reason the government was able to show he obstructed that investigation; by claiming he had no communications to subpoena, he made it more likely he wouldn’t be subpoenaed). He was subpoenaed by the Mueller team.

It’s not clear precisely what date Stone was subpoenaed, but he complied in November 2018. A warrant explaining the subpoena reveals that the government learned Stone had texts involving Randy Credico from media accounts. Later in the affidavit, it specifically cites this story from Chuck Ross. The government used Ross’ attribution to Stone as his source to justify searching Stone’s houses for the old phone.

“Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary,” Randy Credico wrote to Stone on Aug. 27, 2016, according to text messages that Stone provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.


Pointing to the text messages, Stone asserts that Credico “lied to the grand jury” if he indeed denied being Stone’s contact to Assange.

“These messages prove that Credico was the source who told me about the significance of the material that Assange announced he had on Hillary. It proves that Randy’s source was a woman lawyer,” Stone told TheDCNF.

Stone, who is the men’s fashion editor for The Daily Caller, had struggled for months to provide evidence to back up his claims about Credico. The former friends had engaged in a he said-he said battle through various media outlets for months.

But Stone finally obtained the text messages, which he says is smoking gun evidence supporting his claims, after his lawyers were able to extract the communications from a cell phone he stopped using in 2016.

It is unclear whether Mueller’s team has also obtained the messages.

It turns out Mueller had obtained some of these texts from Stone’s iCloud and from Randy Credico. But there were a set that Credico no longer had, and so Ross’ credulous reporting of an obviously cherry picked set of texts provided some of the key justification for the subpoena and warrant. An initial version of the government’s exhibit list appears to source a series of texts between Credico and Stone from August and September 2016 to Stone’s return. Those texts included some showing the circumstances of Credico’s August 2016 interview with Julian Assange, which were part of the proof that Credico couldn’t have been the guy Stone was claiming as his go-between in early August 2016.

I’ve noted repeatedly that, by sharing his comms with Credico and Corsi in an attempt to rebut public claims, Stone proved two of the charges against him, that he lied when he claimed he had no such communications (and, indeed, provided proof that he knew of those texts). All that said, given that Trump commuted his sentence and that Ross and other frothers continue to lie about what Mueller found, telling lies to journalists that ended up getting him subpoenaed probably was a good trade-off for Stone.

Unless, of course, there was something more interesting on that phone that Ross’ credulous reporting helped prosecutors get a warrant for.

13 replies
  1. Lawnboy says:

    OT: Do you have an eta on Reg Waltons court? I think he knew the truth before he asked the questions in the “spreadsheet”.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    Likewise, the ETA for the DCC en banc decision? We know the request was made a little time ago, but did the DCC pick it up?

    • bmaz says:

      To you and Lawnboy, generally things would be expected to be settled as to either a decision or scheduling order for future consideration by August 1, because Fed courts mostly go dark for vacation for the month of August. But since they are all operating remotely, who knows?

  3. Peterr says:

    For those who come to Emptywheel to read the tea leaves, the last lines of Marcy’s posts are often the most interesting.

    And if you are the subject of the post, they are often the most disturbing and worrisome.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    It seems that Chuck Ross doth protest too much like a certain bedbug at the NYT. Hacks like these are well known for their tender feelings about themselves, but certainly love to dish out the abuse to others.

  5. Rugger9 says:

    OT, but related in terms of accountability:

    I was reading Tom Sullivan’s article over at Digby about gratuitous violence and was reminded of this episode 9 years ago. It seems out Lt Pike got his retirement and workmen’s comp to 38 k$ paid for and the students got a million.

    Now, we have Portland (with more to come) which makes it intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that the police haven’t learned the necessary lesson: we are their customers.

    • bmaz says:

      Let me give a bit of caution here: Pike was a state employee of the University of California system. The Feds in Portland are a FAR different status under the common ways to sue law enforcement malefactors. Tom is a friend, but this is not something he would inherently know.

      Not going to say it is apples and oranges, but it is darn close. The only real litigation path against the Feds is via Bivens, and that hardly exists anymore.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Peter Geoghegan has a blistering take on how open the UK political system is to domestic and foreign corruption. Have money, will travel pretty much describes the state of play. It’s as if he had K Street in mind.

    The wife of a former Russian finance minister and close friend of Putin, for example, once paid about US$60,000, to play tennis with notable non-athlete, Boris Johnson. Not being the kind of guy one pays to give a speech or advice, Donald Trump will probably cash in by charging his partners to play golf with him next year. He will play host and be the only celebrity at an endless round of celebrity-amateur tournaments.

    As Geoghegan notes about the UK, neither party seems willing to do anything about it. Having already gamed the system, reforming it would only lead to more work and temporary electoral disadvantage. Joe Biden’s people might think about how to overcome that systemic resistance to change in the US, because this ship is listing heavily in a rough sea.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I agree that’s the big takeaway. Report: Russia bought its way in and no one much cared when they started tampering in democracy. Bureaucracy: We don’t want to be the ones to fix it. Parliament: yawn.

  7. Eureka says:

    It’s not clear precisely what date Stone was subpoenaed, but he complied in November 2018.

    Ooh, what was that quote of Corsi attorney David Gray’s, to WaPo, the one you’d excerpted a bunch, from November (or October) of 2018, IIRC? Where he sidestepped Jerry out of some of Stone’s alleged activities?

    Those were the days. And then, near-suddenly, it all changed. Late November Corsi “leaks” his draft plea agreement, starts screaming Sekulow, Sekulow, JDA, Sekulow, Trump, yada… oh, and then hires Klayman! Kind of like homologous skeletal parts, if not the same animal, as to the soup Flynn made (his case, of course, had a much different ontogeny — early adopter of the plea and all).

    Stone then had yet to be indicted, but BDTS (when he was roused off the sofa by ‘powers’ that were) and, later, Barr, had bigger candles to snuff with that danged Mueller (Investigation —>) Report.

    But back to (perhaps before, then into) November.

    So was *Sessions “fired”/Whitaker hired before or after Stone was subpoenaed? I’ll bet after (or at least after investigative events of similar importance were signaled to Trump): “letting” Team Mueller subpoena Stone sounds like exactly what would have put Trump in a rage to “fire”-resign Sessions.

    *The Kremlinology (Ha!) of the Sessions’ Huddle | emptywheel

    Also I am amused by the document tabs, hopefully Ross found them (or the self-relevant one, anyway) to be handy.

    • emptywheel says:

      No, he said that in September.

      The subpoena would have come in the days before Corsi blew up his “cooperation.”

      • Eureka says:

        Gotcha, thanks [I’d initially read your sentence as meaning a broader timeframe than one more proximate to the blow up (as indicated by e.g. date of Ross article -/- as if that matter was an add-on or something)].


  8. Hika says:

    Poor Chuck still hasn’t worked out that Marcy keeps the receipts and can produce them on demand.
    If you can’t understand what Marcy is writing about, it doesn’t mean Marcy is wrong; it means you don’t know enough to understand what’s going on.
    Keep kicking against the pricks, Ms Wheeler.

Comments are closed.