Man in the Middle: Roger Stone

The dirty trickster and convicted felon has been polluting our political discourse for half a century.

ROGER STONE is, in a word, a character. He dresses like a DC Comics supervillain. He has a tattoo of Richard Nixon between his shoulderblades. He has unorthodox sexual proclivities. He is engaging and glib when he appears on talk shows. He is a ratfucker, a master practitioner of the political dark arts: a dirty trickster, the Loki of the right.

He will do, and has done, almost anything that pops into his twisted mind to win his candidate an election—other than, you know, endorse a non-shit candidate and run an honest campaign. Court orders don’t silence him. Politesse doesn’t constrain him. Looming incarceration hasn’t slowed him down. He is the raging id of the Republican party, and if Jerry Nadler or Richard Neal had one thimbleful of his cornered-rat quintessence, Trump would be long gone.

For almost half a century, Stone has operated in the shadows of Republican power, like Jack the Ripper. He’s had an outsized, and adverse, impact on the history of our country. As my friend Mr. Robinson put it:

During his long and nasty career, he’s rubbed elbows with almost everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the more notable names:

Jeb Stuart Magruder

While an undergraduate at George Washington University, Stone was hired by Jeb Stuart Magruder, who was the deputy director of the Committee to Re-Elect the President, known by the most appropriate acronym of all time, CREEP. He has likely embellished the dirty tricks he plied for the Nixon campaign, but if the goal is to immerse yourself in the dark arts, what better supervisor than one of the architects of Watergate? Stone used this apprenticeship as a springboard to curry favor with…

Richard Nixon

After the president resigned in disgrace, Stone cultivated a friendship with Tricky Dick, whom he’d first met in 1967. He considered himself “the keeper of the [Nixon] flame,” which I guess explains the ink he got 40 years after that first introduction. Stone also did campaign work for…

Bob Dole

…one of our dirtier Republicans, and ran the gubernatorial campaigns of…

Thomas Kean

…the governor of New Jersey, who later served as the chair of the 9/11 Commission. Stone also played a key role in the 1980 campaign of…

Ronald Reagan

A dirty trick Stone pulled to benefit The Gipper was to convince the head of the Liberal Party of New York to put endorse John Anderson on the ballot in the ’80 election, in order to split the opposition vote in that delegate-rich state. This he did by delivering a suitcase of (presumably) cash to a key Liberal Party insider. Stone did not devise this himself, but rather did as he was instructed by his GOP Sith Lord…

Roy Cohn

…the hateful lawyer to the scumbag stars, attack dog, political operative, and all-around hideous human being. It is from Cohn, presumably, that Stone learned his political philosophy: “Attack, attack, attack—never defend,” and, “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.” While working on the Reagan campaign, Stone met another amoral arriviste…

Paul Manafort

By 1980, the Count, as he was once known, already had a brokered GOP convention under his belt, but his ambitions stretched far beyond the territorial United States. With Charlie Black, the two of them formed a consulting firm, Black, Manafort & Stone, that was a pioneer in lobbying for foreign governments. Manafort would wind up in Ukraine, which led to a prominent role in the Trump campaign, which led to a prison sentence. Among their corporate clients were brutal dictators of African nations like Somalia, Zaire, and Angola, as well as…

Ferdinand Marcos

…the corrupt Philippines strongman, whose name seems to pop up a lot lately in connection with Iran-Contra and the Epstein money trail.

Lee Atwater

Black, Manafort & Stone became Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly (BMSK), and that firm employed the services of one Lee Atwater, the mastermind of Nixon’s “Southern strategy,” which stoked white fear of Black civil rights to turn the South Republican. Another Stone associate in the 1980s was…

Donald John Trump

…who hired Stone to run his exploratory campaign for president upon Trump’s triumphant return from Moscow in 1987. The two Roy Cohn disciples have been BFFs ever since. Stone spent much of the 1990s doing lobbying work for Trump regarding his casino business. In 2000, he ran Trump’s Reform Party presidential campaign. (In between, Stone had to resign from his role on the Dole campaign when he was busted posting ads on kink websites, seeking sexual partners for he and his second wife; was it the ever-projecting Stone who decided to use the word “cuck” to hurl at Trump’s enemies in 2016?). While lobbying in New York, Stone made the acquaintance of…

Joseph Bruno

…the Upstate Republican, longtime Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, and poster boy for crooked Albany politics, who was eventually indicted on corruption charges and convicted. Stone served as Bruno’s political adviser. Another of Stone’s clients in the Albany area was…

Keith Raniere, founder of NXIVM

The supposed mega-genius and cult leader was convicted last year of sex trafficking. NXIVM purchased enormous political influence in local politics, and was notoriously litigious—the cult certainly adhered to Stone’s “attack, attack, attack” mantra. Stone recommended that the group hire his buddy, Frank Parlato—who, after being screwed out of a promised payday by Raniere, made it his mission to expose NXIVM and bring it down.

James Baker

The white-shoe attorney and former White House Chief of Staff for both Reagan and Poppy Bush went to Florida in November 2000 to ensure that the GOP candidate prevailed. He asked Stone to help in these efforts. Roger was a prime mover of the so-called Brooks Brothers riot, in which a loud gaggle of what we would now call “douche bros” descended on the offices of the local authorities hand-counting the ballots, disturbing the process to such a degree that they could not finish the job in the allotted time. “Our whole idea was to shut the recount down,” he told Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker. “That was why we were there.” Thus did Dubya steal the 2000 election from Al Gore. (Stone would come to turn on the Bush family). Other participants in the Brooks Brothers riot included…

Matt Schlapp

…president of the American Conservative Union, and husband to Mercedes Schlapp, Donald John Trump’s former director of strategic communications, and…

Joel Kaplan

…the former deputy chief of staff for policy for Bush II, and the current Facebook VP for global public policy. Which means that Stone has a contact way up the food chain at Mark Zuckerberg’s data acquisition and disinformation broadcasting outfit. But it was on another social media platform, Twitter, where Stone got himself into trouble, by exchanging DMs with…

Guccifer 2.0

An account that our intelligence community believes—and therefore is—run by the GRU, Russian intelligence. Another cut-out for Russian intelligence, and another associate of Roger Stone’s, is…

Julian Assange

The alleged “journalist” is a former hacker who allowed the Russians to use his website to dump their stolen documents. As Robert Mueller himself wrote over the weekend, Stone “communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers.” I’m not sure why Stone’s advance knowledge is in doubt, as I seem to recall watching him gleefully announce that Hillary hijinx would soon ensue on Realtime with

Bill Maher

…a comedian who frequently booked Stone as a guest, and gave a platform to Assange, to Russia’s candidate of choice Bernie Sanders, to current convict Michael Avenatti, and to the ghoulish Ann Coulter—the only female guest he doesn’t routinely talk over. Like Maher, Stone savors misogyny, as his Twitter history makes clear. The only woman he seems cool with is…

Maggie Haberman

…the New York Times’ “White House correspondent” who always seems to have Trump’s best interests at heart. Stone associate Randy Credico told the researcher Jay McKenzie that Roger and Maggie were “best of friends.” Certainly there’s more to Mags that meets the eye.

Nigel Farage

The pro-LEAVE British pol dined with Stone in London, and the two of them have a shadowy relationship with Assange, the extent of which is still to be determined. I have long maintained that BREXIT and Trump were two prongs of the same Russian op, designed to weaken the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition to offering pearls of wisdom across the pond to Nige, Stone has influenced a new generation of political operatives, including…

Cassandra Fairbanks

…who has used her influence to lobby for a Stone pardon….

Matt Gaetz

…the Florida GOP Congresstroll, and…

The Proud Boys

…a confederacy of 1) white supremacists and 2) sexist pigs with 3) a flair for the sartorial, three things that appeal to Roger Jason Stone.


This is hardly an exhaustive list. Roger Jason Stone has made it his life’s work to undermine democracy, and he picked up hundreds, maybe thousands, of fellow travelers along the way. I’m sure I missed a few big ones.

The news for the next 24 hours is bound to be infuriating. Whatever happens today with the commutation of his sentence, remember: Roger’s reprieve is only temporary. As Eric Garland put it, in a must-read thread:

Justice will be served for Roger. Carve it in Stone.

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