CLAIM: Roger Stone’s conviction on all seven charges on Friday means “Russia collusion” actually happened.
VERDICT: FALSE. Stone was convicted of “process crimes” that had nothing to do with any actual collusion.
CNN’s Dana Bash joined the rest of the network’s panel of legal analysis in celebrating Stone’s convictions for lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. She went a step further, however, and claimed that the guilty verdict meant that there had been collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia after all.
This is about allegations that have never gone away. No — the Mueller team, his report, could not prove collusion, but this is maybe — one person removed — collusion! That’s what wikileaks is! Wikileaks, according to our intelligence officials and so forth, it is an arm of the Russian government, and you have a candidate on the phone in the call that Gloria [Borger] just described, staying up to speed. Now, is he actually talking to the Wikileaks people? No. To the Russians? No. but his associate is, and the associate, Roger stone, who is now found guilty — and, clearly Roger Stone thought there was something wrong with it, because what he was just found guilty of was lying to Congress to protect the president.
Bash seems to have forgotten that Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was responsible for prosecuting Stone, also concluded in his report earlier this year: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” In addition, as Attorney General Robert Barr said, “[T]he Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”
No Americans were ever indicted for colluding with Russia, even though the Special Counsel did conclude that Russia had tried to interfere in the 2016 election.
Bash’s “one-person removed collusion” is a made-up crime for which there is no evidence. If anyone had that evidence, it would be Mueller, the man who convicted Roger Stone.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.