It is almost automatic when watching a baseball game on television to hear the announcer say, ‘If you’re keeping score at home,’ after one or several plays that take place over the course of a game. Well, if you’re the person keeping score at home or anywhere else, an interesting play just occurred in the game of Washington versus President Trump or anyone else in his orbit.
Last week, after months of political theater including Congressional testimony and a protracted court case, Trump confidant and long-time K Street player, Roger Stone, was convicted of lying to Congress along with a number of other charges. Evidence against Stone showed that he had passed along scores of emails stolen by Russia from Democratic Party computers and funneled through WikiLeaks.
Stone, prosecutors alleged, shared everything that passed through his hands via WikiLeaks with the Trump campaign. While Stone denied it, with mountains of evidence to the contrary, prosecutors showed that he had.
Stone’s conviction brings to six the number of major players close to the President, who have either been sentenced to prison or await sentencing for various crimes including lying to Congress or federal investigators. Stone was allowed to remain free while a judge determines his sentence. He could face up to 50 years, though it would be shocking if he got more than ten, say court watchers.
While Washington is the epicenter of this legal opera, in Denver a well-known local attorney and talk radio personality joined in this orbiting chaos over the weekend. Craig Silverman, once Denver’s chief deputy DA, somehow got himself fired mid-show for discussing Trump and the impeachment inquiry. Firings in radio---including many that defy good taste and imagination---happen all the time. But to get the hook mid-show turned a personnel issue into more of a ‘man-bites-dog’ vignette.
“So does it have to do with Donald Trump? I think so,” Silverman told News4. “I wanted to talk about the impeachment inquiry and a lot of these facts are very damning against Donald Trump.” And certainly, none more damning than the aforementioned Stone, who has been a friend of Trump’s for decades.
Before the plug got pulled, Silverman said he had been talking about Roger Stone and the nexus between Stone and long-ago Trump attorney and notorious mean guy, Roy Cohn. But instead of letting the talk continue, someone interrupted programming with a newsfeed and, like that, Silverman’s career with Salem went up in a puff of air.
Salem Media Group, which owns KNUS-AM along with a cluster of radio operations across the country and bills itself as “family-themed” with “conservative values,” denies the veteran Denver legal eagle’s accusation. The conglomerate says that Silverman was plugging an appearance on another show, one with his friend and former talk show partner, Dan Caplis. In radio world, that’s a no-no. In denying Silverman’s charges, KNUS management says that it may be all a misunderstanding and that Silverman is welcome to return to his old time slot next weekend.
The Silverman-KNUS spat only adds to the drama playing out daily at the White House with President Trump at the center. Within hours of the Denver radio daze fiasco, the story was picked up by The New York Times, The Washington Post, AP, and more. Silverman has already made appearances on MSNBC, including Morning Joe and is scheduled to appear on CNN’s Don Lemon show.
Stone’s conviction in federal court takes him into dubious company, all associated with the President. Michael Flynn, who was Trump’s National Security Advisor for less than 20 days, awaits sentencing. He plead guilty to lying to the FBI. Ex-Trump campaign executive, Rick Gates, has also entered a guilty plea for lying to the FBI. He has been a cooperative government witness. He is to be sentenced late this year or early in January.
Paul Manafort, who once served as the President’s campaign chairman, is now serving a federal prison sentence for conspiracy against the U.S., tax evasion, bank fraud, hiding foreign bank accounts and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, is now serving a three-year sentence for lying to Congress. George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor in the campaign but guy Trump once referred to as a ‘coffee boy,’ served two weeks in prison for lying to the FBI.
While it may not have been a good week for Stone and it certainly wasn’t what Silverman imagined, it turned into a pretty good week for a U.S. Army commando preparing to stand trial for killings of Afghanistan civilians who got a presidential pardon from Trump. Another former Army lieutenant convicted of murder for ordering his men to fire on three Afghans---killing two---was also pardoned by the President last Friday.
The President, who has been known to telegraph his pardons---as was the case with former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio---has given no hint if he’ll pardon any of his former aides or friends. But it has been speculated that Flynn and Stone may be in line for one.`