This is devastating for Trump

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders discusses the arrest of President Donald Trump's longtime associate Roger Stone.

Posted: Jan 25, 2019 9:40 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2019 9:40 PM

The arrest of Roger Stone in the early morning hours Friday is another devastating political blow to President Donald Trump. It gives more ammunition to House Democrats to accelerate their own investigation plans, and it will certainly generate more fear among Republicans, even those who continue to stand by the President.

Robert Mueller's indictment of Stone over alleged coordination with Trump officials about stolen emails from WikiLeaks brings the number of Trump associates charged in the special counsel's investigation to six. Many of the indictments have revolved around the ways in which various advisers lied about their connections with Russians during the election as well as their role in trying to obstruct a legitimate investigation into what happened.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders immediately tried to distance the administration from the news in an appearance Friday on CNN's "New Day." She tried the line, "My first reaction is simple: This has nothing to do with the President, and certainly nothing to do with the White House," but the indictment provides more evidence of the highly suspect activities in Trump's orbit during the 2016 campaign and ever since. Stone's indictment, coupled with dramatic footage of his arrest by the FBI, raises more questions about how far the Trump campaign was willing to go to win the election and the efforts it has undertaken to cover up its actions.

The fact that Stone was in Trump's orbit for so long is problematic in itself. For more than four decades, Stone has been part of the underside of Republican politics. Since his work on behalf of President Richard Nixon, when Stone really pioneered the art of "dirty trick politics," which used disinformation and character assassination as the primary means toward victory, he has been willing to sell his talents to whichever candidate was willing to listen to him.

Many Republicans have turned to him for his services since the 1970s, including Ronald Reagan in his 1980 campaign. While Republicans like to talk about the free market ideology and tough national security ideas they have brought to the table as the reason for their political success over the decades, a large number of the top players in the party have also been willing to go really low when it came time to win campaigns.

During his work for Nixon and Reagan, as well as during his time in the 1980s co-heading a major lobbying firm with Paul Manafort that worked with notorious overseas authoritarian leaders, Stone always was willing to get as close to the line of illegal as possible in pursuit of victory and access to power. A recent film about Stone captured him sharing some of the famous sayings that reflect his outlook: "It is better to be infamous than never to be famous at all" and "one man's dirty trick is another man's civil political action."

Trump and Stone have a relationship that goes back many decades. Stone was part of the discussions that resulted in Trump running for the presidency.

What impact will Stone's indictment and arrest have? Legally, the answer is that we just don't know. The ways in which his story and actions fit into the broader findings that Mueller is putting together remain to be seen.

Politically, there's no doubt that this is a damaging development. It comes at a time when the Republican firewall that has protected Trump has shown some slight but serious cracks as a result of the disastrous government shutdown. A number of Republicans voted with the Democratic spending bill that the Senate ended up rejecting. Sandwiched between the Democratic takeover of the House in 2018 and the fears about what will take place in the 2020 election, Republicans are sweating it out every day about what political costs they will pay from ignoring the scandal for so long.

From the beginning, the outcome of the entire investigation has been as much a political as a legal issue, and the dynamics fundamentally changed when Democrats took control of the House. If Trump had any illusions about how firm House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be in dealing with the chaos caused by this administration, those should have been quickly dispelled during the shutdown crisis. Several committees are now gearing up to launch different kinds of investigations.

Stone's indictment, which gets the investigation so close to the original question of what kind of coordination may have transpired between Trump campaign and Russian officials, is a huge splash of cold water on the President's defenders, who say there is nothing there.

Each week seems to bring further information about the wrongdoing of the people whom Trump surrounded himself with, the people whom he trusted to run his campaign and some who have worked with him ever since.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 55947

Reported Deaths: 1654
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin17789819
Ramsey6861261
Dakota3942102
Anoka3327112
Stearns281720
Washington188643
Nobles17456
Olmsted162023
Scott136214
Mower10782
Rice9898
Blue Earth8485
Wright8015
Carver7692
Clay74340
Kandiyohi6701
Sherburne6387
St. Louis42719
Todd4182
Lyon4153
Freeborn3541
Steele3271
Nicollet30713
Benton3043
Watonwan2980
Winona24516
Crow Wing20613
Martin2035
Le Sueur1991
Beltrami1910
Chisago1761
Goodhue1758
Otter Tail1753
Cottonwood1710
Pipestone1439
Becker1421
McLeod1350
Unassigned13540
Douglas1290
Itasca12912
Polk1293
Waseca1280
Pine1260
Carlton1240
Dodge1220
Murray1221
Isanti1080
Chippewa971
Brown832
Meeker832
Morrison831
Faribault820
Sibley782
Wabasha780
Koochiching733
Rock730
Jackson700
Pennington701
Mille Lacs643
Fillmore610
Cass582
Renville585
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau450
Houston400
Pope390
Norman340
Redwood300
Aitkin280
Hubbard280
Kanabec281
Marshall280
Wilkin283
Mahnomen231
Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake190
Lake170
Stevens150
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45592

Reported Deaths: 877
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9709202
Woodbury364250
Black Hawk299762
Linn208987
Johnson191815
Dallas178735
Buena Vista178412
Scott159012
Dubuque152729
Marshall138324
Pottawattamie121223
Story111013
Wapello84531
Muscatine82448
Crawford7153
Webster7125
Sioux5932
Cerro Gordo58117
Tama53729
Warren5261
Jasper45424
Plymouth4438
Wright4411
Louisa37814
Dickinson3754
Clinton3123
Washington28710
Hamilton2391
Boone2282
Franklin2134
Bremer1877
Clarke1853
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1660
Shelby1591
Marion1520
Allamakee1494
Poweshiek1468
Benton1421
Des Moines1392
Jackson1391
Mahaska13617
Guthrie1265
Floyd1242
Jones1231
Cedar1201
Hancock1162
Butler1132
Pocahontas1131
Henry1123
Buchanan1101
Lyon1000
Madison1002
Cherokee971
Clayton973
Harrison960
Taylor930
Lee923
Delaware901
Monona900
Humboldt891
Iowa881
Winneshiek821
Calhoun812
Mills810
Sac810
Fayette790
Jefferson780
Palo Alto780
Kossuth770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page740
Winnebago730
Grundy721
Union701
Monroe667
Worth610
Chickasaw500
Davis491
Howard480
Cass471
Appanoose433
Lucas434
Montgomery433
Greene380
Fremont360
Van Buren311
Keokuk301
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur210
Ringgold211
Adair200
Adams160
Wayne151
Unassigned70
Rochester
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 67°
Mason City
Few Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 71°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
66° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 66°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 68°
Starting the week of dry
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Community adapting to changes at Rochester parks

Image

Fire-related fatalities increase in Minnesota

Image

Sean's Weather 8/3

Image

Campaign signs in Albert Lea

Image

Campaign signs go missing in Albert Lea

Image

Run the Woods race

Image

Don Bosco scores two in the 6th, stuns Newman for state title

Image

Pine Island holds community resource drive

Image

Pop up event for the homeless

Image

Seans 8/1 Weather

Community Events