I figured this one out soon after Roger Stone was arrested. Stone’s value to the Mueller investigation was what was on his cellphones, computers, tablets, etc. That’s why 29 FBI agents stormed his house. They didn’t want him, they wanted his electronic gear. They didn’t want a single thumb drive or hard disk to get destroyed. Roger Stone says he would have turned himself if asked, but not before scrubbing clean his residences.
Being 100% clean is tough for Roger Stone, given his long history of deceit and trickery. Mueller will likely have a treasure trove of bits and pieces. Big question is how does this all fit into the investigation.
When cellphones first came out, criminals had the upper hand. No one could tap a cellphone like a landline phone. But things really have changed, as the hard drive within a cellphone is loaded with potential incriminating information. It will take time for FBI digital forensic experts to know exactly what the search warrant of electronic gear will yield. Julian Sanchez nailed it on this one. Stone can’t flip on Trump because he’s got zero credibility.
Mueller is going after the Russian hack, Wikileaks and Republican campaign officials connections. I don’t know if Mueller will be able to connect all the dots, but I suspect both Trump and Steve Bannon are feeling the heat turned up. I don’t believe anyone directly involved in Trump’s 2016 campaign has been charged with conspiracy with Russian agents, Well not yet.
Julian Sanchez Opinion as published in the New York Times, Jan 26, 2019.
Mueller’s Real Target in the Roger Stone Indictment
With so much out there, I’m not too interested to add commentary, Same goes for the government shutdown, now into the fifth week. But, I’d like to add a few facts and one comment at the end. A lot of shutdowns were solved, at least temporally by the passing of “continuing resolutions” which basically says take last approved budget and just extend it out for as long as possible. It’s a “kick the can down the road” approach. Obama had to beg Congress for a clean CR, as Republicans sought to defund the ACA (aka Obamacare) through dirty CR’s. or budget proposals.
Now the wall. The border with Mexico is 1954 miles long. Ask any member of Congress if they support border security, and you will be sure they will all say yes. It’s better not to use the W word (wall) or the F word (no not that F word, I mean fences), but use the generic “border barriers.” There is 1.375 billion dollars for new and replacement barriers already in the approved US budget, which has only partially been spent.
The 5.7 billion dollars is slated for 234 miles of border barriers. As CNN reported, this will cover 100 miles of new barriers, and 134 miles of improved replacements.
Now my comment. I live in Miami, which has a huge number of illegal immigrants. I believe most immigrants make the trip, to help their families, and are good people. Fewer will make the trip, because the coyotes will be charging a lot more, in excess of 10,000 USD, given the added security provisions. There are some who have returned to their country which Trump never talks about.
There a lot of nonsense out there. Here’s the honest truth – Trump’s approval ratings have hardly changed since about six months after he became president. His approval rating based on Gallup polling is 40% for the last week in December. The wall, the shutdown, Secretary Mattis resignation, the sudden pull out from Syria, more Mueller news and a dozen other stories did not make a dent in Trump’s approval rating. The fluctuations are small and just polling errors as would be expected.
In another words – there is no trend. It has been flat for the last 18 months. The American people have spoken with a yawn.
You will hear from commentators how the country is deeply divided. This is true. Republicans will tell you that Trump is doing his level best to deliver on his promises to the electorate, and he understands the country much better than the Democrats (aka, liberal fanatics). They listen to Fox News. Democrats will tell you that Trump is out of control. They listen to MSNBC.
Finally, there is a third group, which is completely turned off by government and politics. Remember only 43% of eligible voters actually voted in the last election. The overload of news programs mixed with commentaries doesn’t help much. In light of constant “breaking news” this group just turns to the latest offerings from Netflix.
Another site I like is “538” which puts Trump’s approval rating at 41.2%. They aggregate various polls to provide a weighted average.
This is in sharp contrast to other presidents who had much more fluctuations in their polling numbers. It looks like what really gets the apathetic group to turn off Netflix and other distractions is a major war – like the Korean war or Vietnam. George H.W. Bush had one of the highest ratings when he defended Kuwait against the Iraqi invasions. Truman has a record low rating (22%) when the Korean war dragged on.
For Trump, polls consistently show very high approval ratings from Republicans and low ones from Democrats. So, are Americans outraged by Trump’s shutdown the government or the Democrats refusal to provide funds for the wall. Likely it’s both plus a lot of who cares. I am much more concerned with the “who cares” group, as democracies need an informed populace.