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Good morning from federal court in DC, where week 1 of the Roger Stone trial wraps today. Randy Credico returns to the witness stand at 9:30 am for about a half hour more of direct testimony, then cross-examination.
Stone, gray suit, no glasses right now, sitting at defense table jotting down notes. His attorneys Robert Buschel, Grant Smith, Bruce Rogow & Tara Campion doing their own prep right now too.
"All rise!" - And we are underway. Judge Jackson takes her seat.
Judge Jackson opens with a reprimand of false reporting about the case, including jury selection from some media outlets. She appears to be talking about InfoWars.
Jackson says reporting about jury selection was "uninformed and unfortunately false," adding, "It's caused a great consternation among members of the public who'd have very good reason to be upset if it's true."
More Jackson: "It's concerning to me because it not only puts the safety of all the people on both sides, including possibly the jury, at risk."
She notes that the trial is indeed a public proceeding. "People can observe them with their own eyes." She notes that transcripts are available. She also adds, "These are serious proceedings."
Credico now on stand. And away we go w/ remainder of his direct testimony.
Credico explaining what it means to him to do a Frank Pentangeli
"Can I elaborate on this or do I have to say 'yes' or 'no'?" Credico asks. "Frank Pentangeli who doesn't stonewall, he goes out there and he says he doesn't remember the guy behind him."
Tries to explain how the scene that the Godfather II was referring to was a time before text messages, etc., and doesn't compare to now. "It didn't make any sense. If I did a Frank Pentangeli I'd look like a fool. But I think basically it was to throw them off."
Credico said Stone asked him to do a Pentangeli "a couple of times."
Zelinsky having Credico read Nov 2017 texts between him and Stone about taking the 5th if he got a subpoena from HPSCI.
Credico stops the questioning for a moment to clean his glasses.
We have our first @ryanlizza reference during stone trial
@RyanLizza An 11/30/17 text exchange from Credico to Stone: "Some guy by the name of lizza quoted you today"
@RyanLizza Text convo continues to 12/1/17, with more Credico to Stone: "Don't know why you had to lie and say you had a back channel now i had to give all of your forensic evidence to the fbi today what a headache" & then "You have no back channel and you could have just told the truth"
@RyanLizza Zelinsky asks Credico to keep reading 12/1 texts btwn him and Stone. As he's asked to read another Godfather reference, Credico mutters under his breath (audible via the mic in the room), "Here we go again." Then reads the message from Stone, "Start practicing your pantagele."
@RyanLizza Zelinsky asks if Stone was a reason why he took the 5th ultimately? Credico replies yes. "He was one of many reasons why I took the 5th." He says he got advice from lawyers saying to do it and not to do it (take the 5th).
@RyanLizza Credico says he was trying to protect Margaret Kuntsler, a longtime friend of his who Stone had threatened to out as the Credico intermediary to Assange. Kuntsler was one of many Assange lawyers. But Credico says he didn't want her name out there.
@RyanLizza Credico: "I didn’t want to drag in Ms. Kuntsler into this process.... I was walking a tight rope. I didn't know what to do at that point."
@RyanLizza Credico was asked earlier about his concerns re. Stone outing Kuntsler. He took several seconds to answer the question, taking off his glasses, fidgeting with his hair and his ear. Finally after about a 15 second pause he says....
@RyanLizza "She's a very close friend of mine. She's an older woman. And uh I didn't want to drag her through this. I didn't want to drag her name through this. She's always lived a very quiet productive life." He mentions her late-husband, William Kuntsler, who did enjoy talking to press.
@RyanLizza Credico being asked to read aloud 3/5/18 texts to Stone: "You had nothing to do with it Assange never spoke to you you are liar" & then "But try to be honest from this point on because you purge [sic] yourself in front of the house committee"
@RyanLizza And a few more from Credico to Stone: "You weasel your way into this story and which you were not part and trump can’t stand you and you know that" & "You're a desperate man looking for attention"
@RyanLizza Now a Credico message from same day where he writes Stone, "You are hitting below the belt" and then includes a link to this Stone blog post: stonecoldtruth.com/randy-me-truth…
@RyanLizza Zelinsky gets Credico to read this graph from the Stone post on page 4 (middle graph) about a call to Spitzer's father:
@RyanLizza Credico denies that he made this call to "old man Spitzer" that Stone wrote he did. "First of all it was so absurd. Who'd want to do something like that? I don't even know the guy."
@RyanLizza Asked by Zelinsky how the Stone note made him feel, Credico replies, "It was 12 years ago. Most likely not very good.” He then says it was one of many negative incidents with Stone. "We’ve had many, you know, squabbles.”
@RyanLizza Zelinsky having Credico read more from the Stone blog post - stonecoldtruth.com/randy-me-truth… - about him. These graphs:
@RyanLizza Asked how the top two graphs there made him feel when he read them, Credico replies, "I don't remember the exact emotions. Obviously, I was not pleased with this."
@RyanLizza Zelinsky shows an email from 3/18 where Stone emails Credico as Credico was considering doing media interviews. Stone writes, "If you go on with Chris Hayes be sure to mention this" and includes an old message Credico had sent to Kuntsler trying to find Clinton-Libya emails.
@RyanLizza Asked how he interpreted Stone including the old email to him as he was considering doing media interviews with the likes of Ari Melber, Erin Burnett and Hayes, Credico replied, " A reminder he had this email that had Ms. Kuntsler involved in it."
@RyanLizza Credico explains that during this time he maintained contact w/ Stone. "I didn’t want to escalate this but at the same time I knew I had to talk about it. Was trying to keep it neutralized." He mentions the Kuntsler-Libya email as what Stone had hanging over him.
@RyanLizza Credico: “I did not want to rile Mr. Stone.”
@RyanLizza Credico now being shown the texts about Stone threatening his dog.
@RyanLizza Asked if Stone knew what the dog had meant to him, Credico replied, "I'm sure he did. I was with a dog. I'd been around the dog for the previous 12 years." Asked if he had any other family besides the dog, Credico explains he has no wife or kids but one living sister.
@RyanLizza Credico explains how he had put Stone in touch with Kuntsler in May 2018 as part of discussions about getting Assange a pardon.
Asked how he felt about getting the two together, Credico replies, "I was ashamed of myself, that I had ever done that…. I don't blame him. I blame me for doing that."
Asked if he remained concerned about what Stone could do w/ respect to Kuntsler throughout 2018, Credico replies 'yes." He then adds later, "That was the crux of it."
Prosecution now is done questioning Credico. We're at a break until 11:10 am w/ cross-examination up next.
We are back for cross-examination. I'm going to be dark for a bit to work on my story dealing w/ the AM testimony. Many others are live-tweeting.
OK, I'm back in and out here a little bit. Robert Buschel doing the cross of Credico.
Credico says it "drove my lawyer crazy" in deciding whether to take the 5th w/ Congress.
Credico, "At the end of the day I decided. Not my lawyer. I decided what to do
whatever reason I had."
Buschel asks Credico to confirm he'd referred to the House Intel probe as a "witch hunt." Credico confirms he did.
Buschel asks Credico if he consulted with @woodruffbets about taking the 5th. Credico replies, "Did I consult with her? I talked to her about it. I talked to a lot of people about it. I didn't ask for her advice."
@woodruffbets Credico acknowledges he's the first one to bring up w/ Stone "Frankie Five Angles" in that Nov. 2017 text after seeing the Godfather II on a flight back from London.
@woodruffbets A bit of hostile back and forth here. Credico on why he kept staying in touch w/ Stone amid all the testy threats. “Once again I didn't want to rile the guy. I can't work on his level. He plays hardball. He throws a lot of junk and I didn't want to get hit."
@woodruffbets Talking about Stone putting out his name as the intermediary, Credico replies, “I didn't ask for this. He’s diving the car. I'm a bystander who got hit on the side of the road.”
@woodruffbets Credico sarcastically blurts out in a testy exchange w/ Buschel: "OK. I'm the big back-channel....I mean, come on, buddy."
Judge Jackson interjects as things stay heated. To Credico, "Can you try, I know this is an intense experience, to not argue with the lawyer."
Credico wiping his lips with a tissue, apologizes to the judge. Jackson says, "I'm not saying you did anything wrong here. I'm just trying to calm things down here."
Buschel asks Credico about Stone's dog email. "I don't think he was going to steal my dog. I think he was pretty riled up at that time." And then alter, "I know he wouldn't have ever touched that dog. It was hyperbole by him." But he says he was concerned others might act.
Cross-examination of Credico is over. Zelinsky now up for re-direct.
Re-direct is over. Credico is excused.
There was a rapid-fire series of questions there. Zelinsky had Credico say he had warned Stone "endlessly" not to refer to him as a back-channel to Assange, including in messages in Sept. 16, Oct. 16, Jan. 17 and Jan. 18.
Lunch break until 1:45.
Covering trials is so bad for all manner of personal health. Just ate a courthouse cafeteria cheeseburger & fries in under 5 mins. Sad.
"All Rise!" - We are back from lunch.
Government says it has 2 more witnesses it intends to bring in today. Says they expect, based on how long defense cross takes, that we'd be done by 4 pm today. They didn't ID either witness.
Government prosecutor Michael Marando says there's a third witness but they live a good distance away so won't be called today.
Margaret Kunstler takes stand. Asked what city she lives in, she replies, "Brooklyn." She describes WikiLeaks for the jury.
She says she still represents Sarah Harrison, who is no longer w/ WikiLeaks, she says.
Kunstler says she's spoken to Assange less than 10 times. The last time? She says "19....18." Marando gets her to fix the record. She meant 2018.
Kuntsler said it took her maybe a week to be in touch w/ WikiLeaks and help get Assange on Credico's radio show in Aug 2016.
Several @maggieNYT references. Drink!
@maggieNYT Haberman references refer to articles she wrote for the NYT where Kuntsler first learned about Credico being named by Stone as back channel to Assange.
@maggieNYT Kuntsler said she's familiar with the 7/22/16 WikiLeaks doc dumps of DNC materials but only via the media. She says she didn't pass any info on this to Credico. "I had no information about that release," she said.
@maggieNYT She also says she didn't know anything about the 10/7/16 release by WikiLeaks of the Podesta emails.
@maggieNYT Government finished with his direct of Kunstler. We're now in Bruce Rogow cross-examination.
@maggieNYT Kuntsler says she was "annoyed" when Credico dropped her name w/ Stone and then forwarded along the Assange ask re. Clinton-Libya docs. "I told him I was not please that he did that. The implication of that was he shouldn't do it again."
@maggieNYT Kuntsler excused.
@maggieNYT BREAKING: Bannon testifying next.
@maggieNYT In terms of how long Bannon is going to be on for, the prosecutor Michael Marando said a little bit ago he expected about a 30 minute direct.
@maggieNYT Looong wait as Bannon still hasn't yet made it into the room.
@maggieNYT Jackson breaks the tension: "If you all want to stand up and stretch while you are waiting feel free to do so.”
@maggieNYT Brief white noise bench conference.
@maggieNYT Jackson: "He was not waiting outside the door. We haven't lost him.”
@maggieNYT Bannon is being sworn in. He's wearing all black. A couple shirts. Jacket.
@maggieNYT Bannon: "Yes, I've been subpoenaed. I've been compelled to testify.” Asked if he'd voluntarily, "No, I would not."
@maggieNYT Going through a couple of his credentials, including his office on 14th floor of Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.
@maggieNYT Bannon says he met Stone in 2011-12 while he was at Breitbart.
@maggieNYT Bannon says he spoke to Stone every couple of weeks during the campaign, namely via email but occasionally on phone.
@maggieNYT Bannon said that before he joined the Trump campaign Stone mentioned he had a relationship with Assange & WikiLeaks.
@maggieNYT As to the amount of times pre-campaign Stone mentioned his relationship w/ Assange, Bannon said, “I knew it, but it wasn’t frequently, as I remember.”
@maggieNYT Asked if Stone ever told him he could get get access to WikiLeaks and Assange, Bannon replied, "Never directly but implied he had a relationship with Julian Assange. Never directly told me."
@maggieNYT Bannon now talking about his Mueller grand jury appearance, which he notes came via subpoena.
@maggieNYT "That's correct, I was forced to testify before the grand jury," Bannon said.
@maggieNYT Asked if Stone ever bragged about his relationship with Assange, Bannon replied, "I'd not call it bragging. Maybe boasting.”
@maggieNYT Marando asks Bannon if he knows Erik Price. Bannon says he's known him for 5-7 years and he was a supporter of the Trump campaign. Prince provided ideas to the campaign, namely on "national security types of things, defense," Bannon testified.
@maggieNYT Bannon confirms communications with Ted Malloch.
@maggieNYT Bannon says that after he joined the Trump campaign Stone continued to tell him about his WikiLeaks ins.
@maggieNYT Did Stone tell Bannon WikiLeaks had materials to help Trump? Bannon: "I think he implied maybe some of the emails, potentially Clinton emails or emails from Clinton, WikiLeaks potentially had. I'd view that as hurting Hillary Clinton and helping the Trump campaign."
@maggieNYT Marando asks Bannon who the campaign's axis point was to WikiLeaks. He replies, "The campaign's axis point? I don't think we had one.”
@maggieNYT Marando shows Bannon his grand jury testimony. There, he is asked if he personally believed Stone was axis point to WikiLeaks. There, Bannon said he thought it was Stone.
@maggieNYT Bannon says the Stone exchanges came as Trump was behind in the polls to HRC. Why? “Roger is an agent provocateur. He's an expert in the tougher side of politics when you're this far behind you're going to have to use every tool in the tool box."
@maggieNYT Asked about opposition dirty tricks, Bannon calls them "the kinds of things campaigns use when they've got make up some ground."
@maggieNYT Bannon direct questioning is over. Here comes cross from Buschel.
@maggieNYT Quickly backing up, Marando showed Bannon the Oct 4 2016 emails surrounding the aborted Assange press conference.
@maggieNYT Here's our @politcio coverage from this AM's proceedings re. Credico: politico.com/news/2019/11/0… w/ @joshgerstein
@maggieNYT Buschel asks if Trump campaign viewed Stone as 'axis point' to WikiLeaks. Bannon replied, "I think we did, yes.”
@maggieNYT Bannon: "The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange. But Roger would be considered if we needed an access point, an access point, because he had implied or told me he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange."
@maggieNYT Buschel asks a bunch of rapid-fire ?s to Bannon about people giving him advice as campaign CEO, "It's your job to distinguish reality from fantasy, if you will?" Bannon replies, "That's correct."
@maggieNYT Talking about the aborted Assange presser, Bannon says, "It was a big dud, yes."
@maggieNYT Bannon says Stone was not sent by anyone on the Trump campaign to talk w/ Assange. He says he didn't talk to Stone about talking to Assange.
@maggieNYT Bannon cross-examination is over. Marando back up for re-direct.
@maggieNYT Bannon excused as witness.
@maggieNYT The Stone trial is over for the day and for the weekend, Jackson tells the jury.
@maggieNYT Trial resumes 9:30 am Tuesday.
@maggieNYT More housekeeping: Jackson says Wednesday's proceedings won't go much beyond 4:15 pm because of a conflict on her end. She also says Thursday and Friday may start a bit later because of other stuff on her docket.
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