The president pulled every lever to stay in power. It didn’t work, but how would the US handle a closer election?
The world is in many ways a more dangerous place than when Donald Trump took office, writes Peter Bergen. Against this scary backdrop, the six people Biden has chosen to fill key national security and foreign policy posts — with around one and half centuries of public service among them — reflect his wish to restore order and to value competence, experience. They have their work cut out for them.
What does a year of isolation and anxiety do to a developing brain?
Results of this election and the changes from past elections say an enormous amount about where the country is and is going
Establishment journalists and commentators have no intention of covering the incoming Biden administration as vigorously and combatively as they covered the Trump White House.
On June 20, 1990, barely two hours after his flight landed at Kennedy Airport, Nelson Mandela — who had only recently been freed from a South African prison after 26 years in captivity — was riding up lower Broadway for a lunchtime ticker-tape parade through Manhattan’s fabled Canyon of Heroes, a stretch of pavement framed by towering skyscrapers.
The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions on ordinary life.
Anyone who follows politics is familiar with the long, colorful career of Roger Stone. On Feb. 20, that career reached its nadir when the unconventional Republican operative was sentenced to 40 months in prison for lying to Congress, obstruction, and witness tampering. Widely reported was U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s statement that Stone “was not prosecuted for standing up for the president; he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” Stone and his lawyers were quick to point out that “covering up” was not among the official charges.
Given Stone’s more than four-decade personal and professional relationship with the president, it was no surprise when the president commuted his sentence — just days before he was to report to prison.
Now, amid all the post-election legal wrangling, Stone is doing all he can, unofficially, to keep Trump in office. Curious about his plans going forward, I requested a Q&A with the man who is often called “a dirty trickster” but now publicly speaks about his faith in Jesus. He agreed; what follows is our exchange, which has been edited for length.
Myra Adams: On July 10, President Trump commuted your sentence, which means your conviction on seven felonies still stands. Are you anticipating that the president will issue you a pardon?
Roger Stone: At midnight on Election Day, the Department of Justice released the unredacted portions of the Mueller Report, which now prove definitively that Mueller’s hit squad had no evidence whatsoever of my having advanced knowledge of the source or content of the WikiLeaks disclosures [about hacked Democratic emails] — or any evidence of coordination or collaboration between me and WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. This information was withheld from us at trial so that federal prosecutors could insinuate throughout my trial that I had lied to Congress regarding my coordination with WikiLeaks — which they now admit there is no evidence of, and even BuzzFeed said I was “vindicated!”
It is a fantasy of the left that I somehow traded my silence regarding alleged misconduct with the president in return for clemency. That is false and there is no corroborated evidence to support this contention. I did say that I refused to give false testimony against the president in return for leniency.
I only reluctantly dropped the appeal of my conviction. While the willful misconduct of the jury forewoman who attacked me by name in social media postings in 2019; kept these posts on a private setting during jury selection and the trial, and deleted them afterwards — would have been among the strongest issues on appeal. The judge’s pretrial ruling that I could not raise the issue of misconduct by the special counsel, the FBI, the DOJ, or any member of Congress was also highly unconstitutional.
Despite these strong legal arguments, it became clear that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was so politicized that I could never get a new trial and, even if I had won a new trial, it would have been before the same judge who demonstrated her bias repeatedly.
In fact, no misstatement I made to Congress hid any underlying crime. I had no motive to lie. It’s clear that my prosecution was political and contrived to pressure me to bear false witness against the president, which I refused to do.
In view of all of this, I hope the president will consider granting me a pardon so that I can clear my name.
MA: Have you been in contact with President Trump, either directly or indirectly, since he began all the post-election controversy?
MA: On Nov. 14, the Palm Beach Post reported that you spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally attended by 500 Trump supporters in Delray Beach, Fla. [an upscale community 20 miles south of Palm Beach]. Here are some quotes from the Post’s report:
“Stone suggested the CIA changed vote tallies to benefit Democrat Joe Biden.”
“He [Stone] then hit on how the CIA used a supercomputer called the ‘Hammer’ and a program dubbed ‘Scorecard’ to alter the vote.”
Can you elaborate?
RS: As I wrote in stonecoldtruth.com, I believe there is both overwhelming and compelling evidence of extensive election fraud of the old-fashioned variety to include abuses in the mail-in ballot system; ballot harvesting; dead people voting; people voting multiple times; and the wholesale manufacture of ballots after the polls had closed since Democrats knew the margins by which Trump won.
I believe that there will also be substantial hard evidence of cyber manipulation of the 2020 vote. I raised the question of the “Hammer” and “Scorecard” programs, which [CIA] whistleblower Dennis Montgomery – who designed the [latter] program – specifically said was created for the purpose of voter manipulation in foreign countries. In fact, confidential audio recordings released by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow in November 2015, revealed that this computer program was used by the Obama campaign on Florida state election computers to steal the 2012 presidential election for Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
I believe there is also substantial evidence of cyber manipulation of the 2020 vote by Dominion Voting Services, among others. The company has been subjected to substantive allegations in the past. It’s funny to see Democrats who told us for four years that our elections were being interfered with through the cyber efforts of the “Russians” now insisting that such a thing is impossible.
MA: Why have Trump’s lawyers been unable to confirm a single example of voter fraud?
RS: I reject the premise of your question. The president’s lawyers have produced multiple examples of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere. Don’t give into the mass hypnosis of the fake news media. If you want to see proof of this evidence you can go here.
MA: Let’s move ahead to Jan. 20, 2021. From the following scenarios, select the one that you believe is most likely to happen:
- All the traditional Inauguration Day activities associated with a peaceful transition of power between the president and the president-elect occur without a hitch, culminating with Trump attending Biden’s swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol.
- The president chooses not to attend Biden’s inauguration. Instead, Trump hosts a $10,000 a ticket “alternative inaugural” event at Mar-a-Lago to kick-off his 2024 presidential campaign.
- Trump refuses to vacate the White House, insisting that he won if not for (unproven) election fraud. The president is physically removed and escorted to Air Force One bound for Florida.
RS: As a general rule, I try to avoid answering hypothetical questions. I don’t think there is any evidence under which President Trump will abandon his correct belief that he won a majority of legal votes cast.
Should he ultimately have to vacate the White House, it is clear that 73.7 million people will always believe was cheated out of the presidency and he will still enjoy the bully pulpit of a former president. He will always have the ability to make news and rally his movement against the misguided policies of an illegitimate successor.
Donald Trump is at heart an entrepreneur and he likes making money. The presidency has been an extraordinary financial burden on him. So, if he is no longer president, I do expect he will return to his business pursuits.
Meanwhile, the Trump movement has changed the face of the Republican Party, forever. Elitist “country club” Republicans like former Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ben Sasse are dreaming if they think that the Trump Revolution is an aberration and that they will retake control of the Republican Party.
Should there be a Biden administration, I am certain that a former President Trump will be a most effective critic of the new president’s handling of COVID-19, the economy, foreign affairs, and trade deals. If Biden ever becomes president, his economic policies will make Herbert Hoover look popular.
MA: Where do you think Trump will rank among our presidents?
RS: When Trump became president we were told by the economic experts that the revival of America’s economy to be a world leader again was structurally impossible. They were wrong. President Donald Trump gave us record job growth, record wage growth, and the highest levels of employment among every group of Americans in our history. He rebuilt our military strength. He renegotiated trade deals, which have benefited the United States and fostered job creation here rather than abroad. The liberals will hate this, but win or lose Trump will rank among America’s greatest presidents. Trump’s personal style, which grates on the political class, will long be forgotten while his great accomplishments are remembered.
MA: Do you foresee any circumstances where Trump fades from the scene and allows Biden to take center stage?
MA: Can you talk about any plans you have for 2021?
RS: I intend to host a weekly syndicated radio show as well as doing a daily podcast at StoneColdTruth.com. Currently, I am writing the definitive book regarding my political prosecution because I was unconstitutionally gagged through much of the process and have never had an opportunity to lay out the abuses and misconduct by the prosecutors both during my trial and in its aftermath.
MA: How are you earning a living at this time?
RS: This almost three-year ordeal has essentially bankrupted me and my family. Last week when the IRS released a tax lien of $1.5 million against me in Miami-Dade County, Florida (where I do not live), a dozen media outlets reported that “Trump had canceled a $1.5 million tax debt.” None of these media outlets reported that within minutes the IRS refiled the exact same lien in Broward County. where I do live.
On the day of my commutation, Facebook announced that based on the entirely false claim that I owned over 100 fake Facebook profiles, I would be banned from Facebook and Instagram for life. …
Between being banned on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I lost well over one million followers. These are the people who bought my books, which was a substantial portion of my income. My wife and I are struggling to rebuild our finances and I have been doing some paid speaking for both political and non-political groups, deriving some income from my Cameo profile, where you can get a customized video that can be a shout-out, a birthday or anniversary congratulations, or even the answer to a political question.
MA: Our RealClearPolitics interview back in April focused on your new-found faith in Jesus as you prayed for a pardon. Now, how is your faith journey impacting your everyday life?
RS: I have been very forthright about the fact that I believe that God spared my life for a specific purpose, and I have rededicated my life to Jesus Christ and will continue to do my best to walk in His way. I recognize that because of my 40-year career as a hardboiled political operative that many elites, who don’t believe in God anyway, will scoff at this. I don’t really care, as He knows what’s in my heart. I intend to continue speaking out about the awesome power and mercy of Jesus Christ and invite others who have problems to invite Him into their lives.
After spending two years avoiding serious questions about his policy preferences, his team and his prospective presidency, we now know what Joe Biden intends to do should the Electoral College, as expected, vote for him in December: He’ll reopen the swamp for business. The media spent four long years suggesting that President Donald Trump was steeped in corruption, ensconced in partisanship, enmeshed in dangerous foreign policy fiascos. The media assured us that they would defend democracy from Trump’s brutalities, that they would spend every waking moment fighting to prevent anyone from accepting Trumpian standards as the “new normal.”
Instead, the media suggested we needed to return to the old “normal” — by which they meant a system in which the media and Democrats worked hand-in-glove together to lie to the American public about the content of policy (“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor!” — former President Barack Obama); in which conventional wisdom was treated as gospel truth, no matter how wrong it was (“There will be no advanced and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process” — John Kerry on Israel); and in which cozy relationships between corporations and government were considered de rigueur.
They meant a system in which all difficult political questions were put off for another day; in which scandals were brushed off without a second thought; in which even anti-journalistic efforts by Democrats were dismissed as out of hand. It was a system in which constitutional boundaries were routinely overridden in the name of left-wing policy priorities; in which nasty rhetoric by Democrats was written off as a natural byproduct of the right’s innate evil; in which alternative news sources were treated as conspiracy outlets.
That’s the “normal” the media and Democrats wanted.
And it’s the normal they’ll apparently be pursuing. Biden is stacking his administration with all the members of the establishment Democratic gang. Tony Blinken, most famous for embracing the Iran deal and encouraging more American troops in Syria, will be headed to the State Department. Janet Yellen, fresh from her tenure as Federal Reserve chairwoman under Obama, will be headed to the Department of the Treasury. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser when he was vice president, most famous for the suggestion that the Iran deal was a stellar piece of negotiation (it wasn’t), will become the White House national security adviser.
Meanwhile, the media will continue to cover Biden in sycophantic fashion. This week, The Washington Post ran an entire piece devoted to the wonders of the New Biden Era, titled “Washington’s establishment hopes a Biden presidency will make schmoozing great again.” The piece celebrated the old normal as “respect for experience and expertise,” as “civility and bipartisan cooperation,” as an opportunity to “bring people back together.” One wonders what sort of peyote the editorial staff of The Washington Post must be ingesting in order to remember the Obama Era so fondly; then, one quickly realizes that they’re simply high from huffing Democratic flatulence.
The old normal wasn’t good. That’s why Donald Trump was elected. It’s why Democrats nearly lost the House, and why they seem poised to not take back the Senate despite Trump’s personal unpopularity. The old normal stank of cronyism and oligarchy, of corrupt relationships between the Democratic infrastructure and the Democrats’ praetorian guard in the media.
Today, the media celebrate the return of the old normal. That celebration is likely to again result in a backlash they can’t control. And they’ll be just as puzzled as ever about why everyone else wasn’t as overjoyed as them about the return of the establishment Democratic swamp.
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Now there are three potential vaccines that could be approved before the end of the year.