Yesterday, Roger Stone was on Michael Caputo’s radio show carried on WBEN in Buffalo, NY. The subject, naturally, was the Russia probe as both Stone and Caputo have been asked to testify. Stone was incensed that his testimony had been delayed from July 24 until some time after the August recess. Stone, rightfully, feels this just keeps him dangling in the public view and a guy like Stone never does all that well if the public gets a good look at him.
During Thursday’s broadcast, Stone predicted that “most committee Democrats wouldn’t attend his and Caputo’s closed-door appearances before the panel. He contended that one Democrat on the committee, Jackie Speier of California, had said he was on the Kremlin payroll.
“OK, congresswoman. You have two choices — apologize or I’ll see you in U.S. District Court in California,” said Stone. “You see, members of Congress can be sued when they say things outside the floor. She said that on television. And therefore I will be suing her.”
Caputo egged Stone on: “Oh, will you please do that. Please do that. She needs a lawsuit.”
Stone went on to say he thinks another Democratic member of the House committee won’t show up for Stone’s testimony.
“I mean, have you seen this guy, Eric Swalwell? The lightweight, mannequin, pretty-boy from California?” Stone said. “I think he’s a yellow-bellied coward. And I don’t think he will show. But if he does show, he will regret it for the rest of his life.”
Speier, in an interview, declined to say whether she was among those seeking a delay in Stone’s testimony, though she said, “I, for one, want to make sure we have all the information in front of us to ask the right questions.”
He does have a point about Swalwell, but I think he’s a little off base in what the Speech and Debate Clause actually covers.
Stone is, without doubt, one of the slimiest creatures ever spawned in American politics (my thoughts on the subject from during the campaign). That said, of all the people being looked at by Congress or the independent counsel, I think Stone is the least likely to be in legal jeopardy. The man is outrageous but his main product is talk. What he’s doing here is “prepping the battlefield.” I would expect several more Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee to get similar attention from Stone. If he can create an atmosphere of rancor and animosity around his hearing, it is less likely to actually examine anything Stone was involved in. As the committee can’t really do anything to Stone, this is a fairly low-risk exercise in political theater of the type Stone has made a career of practicing.