House Intelligence Committee

A federal judge on Thursday rejected four motions from former Trump associate Roger Stone contesting his indictment on obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and other charges, adding that Stone has “no one but himself to blame” for having to stand trial in November. Jackson concluded Stone was not targeted for political reasons, noting that 11 other individuals were indicted by Mueller’s request for making false statements to Congress. In order to prepare for trial, Jackson also ruled Thursday that Stone’s lawyers would be allowed the see the “bulk” of the redacted material in Mueller’s report, CBS News reported. That information was previously withheld as not to affect ongoing prosecution of the case, Jackson said. The redacted statements will not be made public.

In a 56-page ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote Stone had

“no one but himself to blame”

for his indictment, clearing the way for his trial to begin as scheduled Nov. 5. Stone filed four motions to have his indictment scrapped, arguing that he was unfairly singled out during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election due to his outspoken support for President Trump.

The judge also noted other Trump associates and family members who were not indicted after Mueller’s investigation despite their very public conservative views and open support for President Trump, Politico reported.

Stone was accused of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to Congress under oath in an effort to mislead the House Intelligence Committee and the FBI about alleged dealings with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election, Politico reported.

“When he chose to take credit for the WikiLeaks release and to tantalize the public with hints that he had inside information about more to come, he chose to place himself directly in the vortex of the issues that became the focus of multiple law enforcement, counterintelligence, and congressional investigations,”

Jackson wrote.

In January, Coats again was reportedly in Trump’s dog house when he told a Senate committee that North Korea was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, which contradicted the president’s more optimistic view. At last year’s Aspen Security Forum, Coats reportedly angered Trump when he  appeared to criticize the president’s ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer slammed on Sunday President Donald Trump’s choice of Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, The Hill reported. “It’s clear that Rep. Ratcliffe was selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller ” Schumer said in a statement. “If Senate Republicans elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship, it would be a big mistake.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter that the successor for Coats “must put patriotism before politics, and remember that his oath is to protect the Constitution and the American people, not the President.” Trump had reportedly soured on Coats several times during his tenure. Axios reported that Trump was impressed by Ratcliffe’s performance during his questioning of Mueller at congressional hearings on Wednesday. Sen Eliabeth Warren, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, added in a tweet that “Our Director of National Intelligence should be above partisan politics, speak truth to power, and resist Trump’s abuses of authority. John Ratcliffe doesn’t fit that bill.” It is not yet clear how the Senate overall will react to Ratcliffe’s nomination, according to The Hill.  However, his membership in the House Intelligence Committee will likely appeal to Republican senators.

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