Now that he has been indicted and arrested on seven counts by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Roger Stone’s biggest concern today may be what suit to wear to his arraignment at a federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale at 11 a.m. Double-breasted? Single-breasted with peak or notch lapel?
Unlike his former partner Paul Manafort, who veered into some rather outré fashion choices, Stone is a fastidious dresser who has maintained a menswear blog for years and over a decade of service in the field as the men’s style correspondent for the Daily Caller. No ostrich jacket wearer, he: Stone’s tastes veer firmly toward the traditional, as his most recent post on January 1 indicates: ‘Once again we must note that while fashion is fleeting, style is both timeless and enduring. Skirts may go up or down, and neckties may be wide or thin, but the double-breasted navy-blue blazer with gold military buttons will always be in style. The little black cocktail dress will always look smashing. We’ve made this point in the past, but feel it necessary to make it again in this age of sartorial error.’ If Stone is imprisoned, my guess is that he might well become something of a cult figure among the inmates for his venerable fashion tips.
For now, he’s certain to enjoy the melée of media attention surrounding his arrest. His visibility, his brand, if you will, has never been more prominent. Much like Trump’s own career, Stone’s has been a prolonged exercise in promoting his brand. His just happens to be as a state of the art Washington sleazeball, as Jacob Weisberg put it in a memorable 1985 essay in the New Republic that detailed his activities at the consulting firm of Black, Manafort, Stone and Atwater, where he earned a cool $450,000 a year during the Reagan years, not a bad haul for the then 32-year-old.
With what amounts to the latest installment of the Mueller report — Trump’s appointment of his stooge Mathew G. Whitaker as acting attorney general seems to have done nothing to impede the Mueller investigation’s progress — Stone will surely continue to play the role of aging enfant terrible. How long that will last is another matter. The initial bravado is likely to wilt as he faces the prospect of actual prison time, unless Stone views it as potential ratification of his bona fides as a tough guy. But the pressure will be intense. Stone faces multiple counts of obstruction of justice, not to mention witness tampering and making false statements. The indictment details Stone’s assiduous efforts to communicate with WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 about the emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee server by Russia.
The real target of Mueller is not Stone, but, as the indictment makes clear, the higher ups in the Trump campaign that he was palling around with as he disseminated information about what was occurring with the Democratic National Committee’s stolen emails. Likely targets are Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Jr., and perhaps Ivanka herself. The diehards will continue to argue that it’s all a trumped up investigation to nullify the results of the 2016 election. On Fox & Friends, Lee Smith offered a representative example: ‘The Mueller investigation right now is being used as a political instrument against the president, against the administration, and also it’s being used as an attack, as an instrument against an American institution, an election. The American people elected Donald Trump. They did not elect Robert Mueller as a fourth branch of government to continue to attack the election.’
Blah, blah, blah. The fact is that if you combine the Trump administration with the failed government shutdown, Trump’s presidency is unraveling. In this regard, the Mueller investigation may pose a greater threat to the Democrats than the Republicans. Far from impeaching Trump, Democrats should be trying to assess how to retain him in office to keep boosting their own electoral prospects.
Trump, you could even say, is tailor-made for the Democrats in 2020.