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Politics

Roger Stone, A Political Icon

For those who have not heard of the name Roger Stone, chances are that this man has impacted your political life in some way, shape or form. Roger Stone is an American political strategist, lobbyist, researcher and consultant. Roger Stone has been actively involved in American politics since the 1970s. In the past, Roger Stone has worked on the campaigns of former and current Republican government officials, including Richard Nixon, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.

Roger Stone played a crucial role in getting Richard Nixon elected in 1972.  Fundraising for Nixon’s presidential campaign was also one of Stone’s first political projects. President Nixon was not the most honest politician in Washington, D.C.  Nixon played a huge role in what became known as the largest modern-day political scandal in American history: Watergate. Roger Stone was caught in the middle of the Watergate Scandal.  Stone was caught hiring a Republican operative to eavesdrop on Nixon’s opponent, Democrat George McGovern. Ultimately, Stone lost his job in the Nixon Administration amidst Nixon’s resignation. However, Stone remained, and still is, a Nixon supporter.

Roger Stone’s political career did not end when he lost his job with the Nixon Administration. Stone has also worked on President Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1980.  It was during the 1980s, 1982 to be exact, when Stone and others, including Paul Manafort, opened a lobbying firm based in Washington, D.C., Black, Manafort, Stone.  Shortly after opening his lobbying firm, Roger Stone was introduced to Donald Trump by a Manhattan-based lawyer by the name of Roy Cohn.

Even in the late 1980s, Donald Trump has tossed the idea around of running for President of the United States. When he was asked in 1987, he said that he “did not feel fit to serve as president” and “he had other obligations” with his businesses.

Even today, Roger Stone had numerous impacts on the Trump Administration. As President Trump’s former campaign adviser, Stone recommended his lobbying business partner, Paul Manafort, to succeed him as President Trump’s new campaign adviser. Manafort’s tenure as President Trump’s campaign chair was short-lived, as he fell victim to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian Collusion investigation. Manafort was indicted for tax fraud and money laundering through overseas shell companies, according to the New York Times.

Most recently, Roger Stone has commented on the Trump-Russian collusion investigation and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Stone has been close to President Trump for decades, even most recently serving as an adviser to President Trump. There have been rumors about having Roger Stone provide testimony and documents pertaining to possible Russian collusion in the 2016 election to the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to NBC News.

However, those rumors were quelled when Stone’s attorney submitted a letter to lead Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), saying that Stone pleads the fifth, invoking his right against self-incrimination.  This led to a battle between Stone’s attorney and Senator Feinstein’s attorney.  An email written by Senator Feinstein’s attorney on Nov. 30 was obtained by NBC News. It asked Grant Smith, Stone’ attorney, when “Stone will turn over the documents Senator Feinstein requested and when he will appear for an interview.”  However, Stone’s Fifth Amendment right protects him from producing those documents and appearing for an interview.

Roger Stone is facing a lot of criticism from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and even some of the American public. That does not mean that President Trump is no longer supporting Roger Stone. President Trump tweeted that following Monday that Stone said he “will never testify against Trump” and that it is “nice to know that some people still have guts.”

These tweets came at the same time former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, is working with prosecutors to obtain a lighter prison sentence.  According to the New York Times, Cohen was indicted on a charge of lying to Congress about his real estate holdings.

Last spring, Roger Stone appeared as a speaker for an event on campus, Let Freedom Ring, hosted by the Siena College Chapter of Turning Point U.S.A..  At the event, Roger Stone brought up how tech giants are censoring free speech and deciding what the news is.  This is a current and real issue facing us today.  According to the Times Union, Stone also praised the Let Freedom Ring event, saying that Siena College “did the right thing in letting everyone speak.”