, 20 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Every attorney on social media who knows even the first thing about the Trump-Russia investigation has already given a slough of reasons as to why Mueller might do this. I can think of 5+ offhand. Any journalist (even a non-attorney) covering Trump-Russia should be able to, also.
2/ I just heard Gloria Borger—not an attorney—say on CNN that she "can't imagine" that Mueller wants Stone for *any* purpose other than to be prosecuted for *exactly* what he's now been charged with. In other words, there is no information Stone has that Mueller could want.

3/ Journalists don't even seem to understand the *basics* of building a criminal case. Borger said Mueller could never want Stone as a witness in *any* case because he has credibility issues. My god—there are so many things wrong with that statement from an attorney's standpoint.
4/ First, it's possible Mueller wants Stone for *information* that could lead to new physical or testimonial evidence—and *not* primarily for his own testimony. We already have {*checks notes*} a gazillion reasons that Stone might have information that could lead to new evidence.
5/ But let's say Mueller *did* want Stone as a witness. Would he—as Borger implies—simply plop Stone on a witness stand and tell his jury, "There's my case"? Of *course not*. Stone would be situated within a massive, convincing matrix of mutually reinforcing inculpatory evidence.
6/ And Gloria—who's been following the Trump-Russia story as her main job for two years—knows this. For instance, she knows Stone would be placed within (*at a minimum*) a Stone-Corsi-Credico matrix of mutually confirming testimonial evidence—three men agreeing with one another.
7/ But she *also* knows that neither Stone, Credico, nor Corsi would *ever* be put on a witness stand in a case like this without Mueller having found a *mountain* of other evidence—to be clear, not that the law requires it—confirming the testimonial evidence of these three guys.
8/ And Gloria knows—from intermittently covering criminal cases during her career as a political analyst—that juries are asked to believe those who've cut deals (even for lying) *every day in America*. And she knows juries *believe* those witnesses *every day*, and she knows why.
9/ The reason juries believe cooperators every day in US courts—despite the only sometimes successful efforts of defense lawyers to discredit them—is that when a witness gets on the stand they know that they can be charged with a *felony* for lying. It's *worse* for a cooperator.
10/ Cooperators face perjury charges *and* loss of any forbearance they've gotten from prosecutors on other charges. And there are other ways a prosecutor can hurt someone who welches on a deal. And don't forget that the prosecutor usually has other evidence of what the truth is.
11/ So Mueller can squeeze Stone for info leading to other evidence, place him in a matrix of mutually corroborating testimonial and physical evidence, *and* make sure both Stone *and* jurors know the consequences of Stone (and his—in that instance—corroborating witnesses) lying.
12/ It's in this context that Borger said that Stone having lied to prosecutors meant she "couldn't imagine" a prosecutor using him as a witness. That's such a basic misunderstanding of how our criminal justice system works *each day* that it really needed to be corrected on-air.
13/ And I say all this without even *touching* on the many reasons Mueller might have brought only these charges—for *now*—and not others. Those reasons are all so obvious that anyone covering the Trump-Russia case really needs to have them down cold—ready at a moment's notice.
14/ For instance, Mueller is always thinking about how to forestall getting fired—and so-called "process crimes" don't scare Trump enough to get Mueller fired. Were I Mueller, I might want to bring as many of my "scary" charges at once as I could—to ensure Trump couldn't stop me.
15/ But Mueller also has to think about ongoing lines of inquiry, upcoming prosecutions, other suspects—considerations that may cause him to say "I want Stone—or bigger fish—on conspiracy, but I *don't* want to charge that right now because it will hurt my efforts in other ways."
16/ Most people know this. But we hear Gloria saying Stone has no utility to Mueller; April Ryan was on CNN saying "sources" said Mueller only wants Stone "for the truth" of the indictment he's now under; and Dana Bash says this was the last big development of the Mueller probe.
17/ Americans see no *evidence* any of this is true—indeed the *whole weight of the evidence in the Trump-Russia case so far*, and the *entire history of the American criminal justice system*, points us in a different direction—so they're right to be really frustrated with media.
18/ I just... look. I *love* media. I love CNN. I'm a journalist and teach journalism at a research university. I want journalism to be at its best. But too many in the journalistic establishment are just *not seeing* why people of all political stripes are frustrated with them.
19/ Maybe Gloria, April and Dana are right about everything. But we've no evidence they are; it'd be counter-intuitive/counter-historical for them to be; and they're so confident in their analyses that—far from acknowledging how unlikely such reads are—they're being *conclusory*.
20/ When we hear a counter-intuitive, counter-historical, counter-factual statement being made in conclusory fashion by a media figure, of *course* we assume bias or incompetence. That's *human*. Media needs to on occasion *see* their audience—*and* the whole field of data. /end
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