Inside the Dirty Tricks of Roger Stone

[The excerpt below is from a much longer article I wrote on the 2016 election which is not yet published. This segment is about the relationship between Roger Stone, Randy Credico and Donald Trump. Randy Credico is an interesting character as I hope you’ll discover below. If you know about him at all, it’s probably because Roger Stone revealed to Congress last year that Credico was his conduit to Julian Assange. Credico denies this, but I recommend that you read the following before you make any effort to decide who is telling the truth. This bit is not about Julian Assange or the hacking of the the DNC and John Podesta. It’s about how Stone met Trump and how Credico met Stone. And it’s about who influenced these characters and taught them the dark arts of political ratfucking. It’s also about how Credico conned Bernie Sanders supporters in one of the most brazen acts of fraud I’ve ever encountered in presidential politics. Citations are footnoted at the bottom. Enjoy.]

The story of the 2016 election is in many ways a story of curious and unexpected networks that came together to divide and undermine the left. In March 2011, when Donald Trump began floating the idea that he might run for president, he made appearances on Good Morning America and The View where he introduced his theory that President Obama may have faked his birth certificate.[1] For people like myself who grew up in the New York media market, this wasn’t what we expected from Trump. If he had any obvious political leanings at all, they tended toward the Democrats (“I think Bill Clinton is terrific. I think he’s done an amazing job,” Trump told Larry King during a Dec. 27, 1997, appearance on CNN).[2] Of course, in 2000, he had formed an exploratory committee to seek the presidential nomination of the Reform Party, but he spent his time accusing Pat Buchanan of being a “Hitler-lover” rather than winning over the support of people like David Duke.[3] The Trump I knew was more at home on Howard Stern’s radio program rating the hotness of chicks than he was among the social conservatives of the Republican Party or mucking about in the fever swamps of far-right conspiracy programs.

Beneath the surface, though, Trump had connections that help explain how he came to launch a demagogic political career based on the racist and transparently inane theory that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible to serve as our president.

First among them was Trump’s long relationship with the lawyer Roy Cohn. Cohn is most famous for his role as chief counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy. In that role, he led the aggressive and unethical red-baiting Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations until the U.S. Army pushed back and he was forced to resign in August 1954. In private practice Cohn represented prominent New Yorkers like la cosa nostra crime boss Carlo Gambino, Francis Cardinal Spellman and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, but was frequently at odds with the law. Over the years, he won four separate acquittals on charges varying from conspiracy, securities fraud, bribery, and obstruction of justice before finally being disbarred in 1986 as he was dying of HIV. [4] What Cohn learned from McCarthy was the value of being dramatic and the utility of exaggerated claims and accusations. He passed these lessons along to Donald Trump.

According to Trump, he first met Roy Cohn in a members-only Midtown establishment called Le Club. It was 1973, and the government was accusing the Trumps of discriminatory housing practices. He asked Cohn, “The government has just filed suit against our company saying that we discriminated against blacks. What do you think I should do?” Cohn advised him to “Tell them to go to hell and fight the thing in court and let them prove you discriminated.”

The Trumps retained Cohn to represent them and Donald became his student. According to author Sam Roberts, it was from Cohn that Trump learned his now familiar three-part strategy for handling litigation which he has now transferred to political combat: 1. Never settle, never surrender. 2. Counter-attack, counter-sue immediately. 3. No matter what happens, no matter how deeply into the muck you get, claim victory and never admit defeat.[5]

In 1979, Roger Stone was responsible for running Ronald Reagan’s campaign for president in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. He’d gained a reputation for political dirty tricks from his time working with Chuck ‘Tex’ Colson as a volunteer at Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President. Perhaps it was his brush with the Watergate scandal that gave him the credentials to gain an audience with Cohn. Stone knew Cohn was close with Trump and he sought him out to win an introduction.

When Stone arrived at Cohn’s townhouse, he discovered him in his bathrobe meeting with Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno of the Genovese crime family. In 1988, Salerno was convicted for allocating contracts and obtaining payoffs in the concrete construction of sixteen Manhattan buildings, including Trump Plaza.[6] After some chit-chat, Cohn agreed to introduce Stone to Trump. Later on, Stone and Cohn teamed up rather successfully to gather dirt on Walter Mondale’s running mate Geraldine Ferraro. In 1986, Stone listed Cohn along with Richard Nixon and the dethroned Nazi-sympathizing Duke of Windsor as his biggest idols.[7]

According to Stone, at their initial meeting, Donald sent him to his father Fred in Coney Island where a deal was struck. “True to his word, I got $200,000. The checks came in $1,000 denominations, the maximum donation you could give. All of these checks were written to ‘Reagan For President.’ It was not illegal—it was bundling. Check trading.”

Stone was not initially impressed with Donald Trump, at least if Christine Seymour can be believed. Seymour was a graduate of St. Lawrence University who landed a job with Roy Cohn as a switchboard operator. With Cohn’s blessing, she had the privilege and responsibility of eavesdropping on and recording calls from clients like Fat Tony Salerno as well as luminaries like Gloria Vanderbilt and First Lady Nancy Reagan. Seymour wrote in her notebooks “Roger did not like Donald Trump or his new house, told me they were losers, but if Roy used them, he would, too.”[8]

Nonetheless, the relationship between Stone and Trump grew. In 1987, Stone first urged Trump to run for president. But it was in 2000 when he used Trump in a bit of jujitsu to sabotage the Reform Party and smooth the way for the election of George W. Bush. As detailed in the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, this was accomplished by first convincing Pat Buchanan to run for the nomination before enlisting Trump to savage him from the left.[9]

Stone says that Trump told him he would run for president in 2016 on New Year’s Day 2013. And when Trump made his formal announcement in Trump Tower in 2015, Stone was enlisted to serve as a top adviser. His formal role with the campaign didn’t last long, however, due to disagreements with Corey Lewandowski.[10] From that point forward, Stone would do his work for Trump where is he is most comfortable, in the shadows.

If there was an alter-ego to Roy Cohn, it might have been William Kunstler. Cohn got his position with Senator McCarthy on the recommendation of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who hated Martin Luther King Jr. so fervently that he tried to blackmail him into committing suicide. Kunstler represented King as an attorney during his fight to desegregate Georgia.[11] He also represented the victims of COINTELPRO on the countercultural left, including Stokely Carmichael and the infamous Seattle Seven. Contrarian by nature, Kunstler seemed to get a kick out of defending the least defensible and most hated criminal suspects. He defended Colin Ferguson, the Long Island railroad shooter. He defended suspects in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. While Cohn was known for representing the Gambino and Genovese crime families, Kunstler went to court on behalf of the competing Bananno crime family. Politically, Kuntsler was far to the left, and he was best known for his opposition to racism, injustice and the draconian Rockefeller drug laws of New York state.

Randy Credico met William Kuntsler when his then girlfriend Joey Heatherton of The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington fame ran into legal problems. A stand-up comedian who once appeared on The Tonight Show and displeased Johnny Carson’s by comparing UN ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick to Eva Braun, Credico was attracted to the iconoclastic lawyer and came under his sway.[12][13] In particular, he adopted Kuntsler’s anti-drug war ideology as his own, and after Kuntsler died Credico headed the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice for twelve years. He stepped down to run a quixotic primary campaign against incumbent and now Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer. He got 0.6 percent of the vote. When he ran for mayor against Bill de Blasio in 2013 on the Tax Wall Street ballot line, he did worse, earning a meager 654 votes.[14]

He was somewhat more successful as an activist against our nation’s drug laws than he was as a politician. He was instrumental, for example, in bringing national media attention to the Tulia, Texas scandal in which ten percent of the black population of the town was arrested on drug charges solely on the testimony of a single undercover officer.

Credico used a perch at the historically pacifist and far-left WBAI radio station in New York to promote his ideas, among which was the strong belief that Bill Clinton was a monster for enacting The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Another belief of his was that the surveillance state has grown far too powerful and that whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange are heroes.

Randy Credico met Roger Stone while both were working on the 2002 New York gubernatorial campaign of Tom Golisano.[15] Golisano is the founder of Paychex, a payroll and human resources business, and a former co-owner of the Buffalo Sabres who is well known for his philanthropy for people with disabilities. In 2017, the Forbes 400 listed him as the 264th wealthiest person in America. He founded the Independence Party of New York and 2002 was his third and final run for governor. Stone was his campaign manager and his motivation was less to help Gilasano than it was to exact revenge on sitting Governor George Pataki. As Greg Sargent reported for The Observer at the time, Stone was severely embarrassed and “enraged by the fact that a state commission controlled by the Governor ruled that he had set up an unlawful lobbying front group for Donald Trump.”[16]

Credico was presumably no fan of George Pataki, but his interest in the campaign had nothing to do with Donald Trump. He and Stone bonded over their mutual loathing of the Rockefeller drug laws. An October 14th, 2002 piece in the New York Times explained how Stone was using Gilasano’s money not only to savage Pataki but to push for repeal.

Staking out a far more sweeping position on the Rockefeller drug laws than either of his opponents in the race for governor, Tom Golisano will call today for the laws’ repeal, his campaign aides said.

Mr. Golisano, the Independence Party candidate, has said as much before, with little fanfare. But now, he will back up his statement by broadcasting commercials that accuse Gov. George E. Pataki of offering a Rockefeller plan that is ”not real reform.”

Campaign aides would not say exactly how much Mr. Golisano, who has already spent nearly $40 million on his bid for the governorship, will spend on the new ad campaign. But, Roger Stone, Mr. Golisano’s campaign adviser, said, ”Everyone will know his position by the end of the week.”

”Tom Golisano is the most conservative candidate in this race, and he is acknowledging that the Rockefeller laws are harsh, ineffective and expensive,” Mr. Stone said, noting that more than $700 million is spent yearly to incarcerate drug offenders. ”We are hopeful that his position will give others now the cover they need to get these laws repealed.”[17]

On May 26th, 2015, Bernie Sanders officially announced his candidacy for president at Waterfront Park in Burlington, Vermont. After watching Sanders campaign for a while, Randy Credico was unimpressed. In one Facebook post on July 9th, he compared Sanders unfavorably to Giacomo Matteoti, “The Italians had a real socialist, a man willing to fight and give up his life against the onset of fascism. We have Bernie Sanders, a man willing to stand up in support of U.S. imperialism.” In another entry the same day, he posted a picture of a Jim Crow era sign reading “We serve white’s only, no Spanish of Mexicans” alongside the words: “Sign outside Bernie Sanders rally.” In a third post, he said he had checked out the crowd at a Sanders rally and it was “whiter than the bleachers at Fenway Park.” Finally, also on the 9th, Credico approvingly linked to an article by Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report headlined: Rand Paul Makes More Sense than the Democrats’ “Left” Champion.

In the introduction to the piece, Ford wrote:

The whole world knows that the United States and its closest allies created the ISIS-al Qaida juggernaut in Syria, Iraq, Libya and proliferating points elsewhere in the Muslim world. Russian President Vladimir Putin knows it, and has now begun to denounce the crime against civilization on the world stage. Rand Paul knows it, and has made the fact central to his campaign for the U.S. presidency.

Muammar Gaddafi prophesized correctly that NATO’s transformation into a jihadist air force would turn Libya into “another Somalia” – a vortex of Salafist chaos that would destabilize the entire region. “We came, we saw, he died,” cackled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who yearns to bring the same ghoulish statecraft to the Oval Office in 2017. Does any decent person actually consider this banshee a “lesser evil”?

Bernie Sanders does. The Vermont senator promises to endorse Clinton as soon as he drops out of the presidential race – thus nullifying whatever “message” he plans to deliver during the Democratic primary process.[18]

Credico’s opinion of Sanders did not improve throughout the fall of 2015. On September 17th he posted on Facebook that socialist activists were “drugged out” on “Bernie Kool-Aid” that was no different from what Barack Obama had been offering in his campaigns. On October 4th, he made a post with pictures of Bernie Sanders and Eugene Debs, writing, “The man on top (Debs) is a socialist…the man on the bottom is a career political hack posing as one.” On October 5th, in response to Sanders supporting air strikes in Syria (but not a no-fly zone), Credico called him a “career hack snake.”

Credico’s estimation of Bernie Sanders did not improve over the winter holidays. On February 10th, the day after Sanders enjoyed his first victory in the New Hampshire primary, Credico tweeted “Hate to say it but ‘political revolution’ is no more than a repackaged version of ‘Yes, We Can.’”[19]

Sanders success in New Hampshire started a roller-coaster ride and an extended primary season. While Sanders vastly exceeded expectations, by the time the April 19th New York primary rolled around he was in a win-or-go-home situation.

For Sanders’ supporters, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. As part of the get out the vote effort “a super 36 Hour Comedy and Music marathon” was announced on the campaign website. Running from April 17th up until poll closing on the 19th, the event, held at the Commons Café in Brooklyn, featured a list of minor celebrities, stand-up comics and local musical artists. to get out the vote for Bernie Sanders in the New York April 19 primary at the Commons Cafe.

Randy Credico organized the event at Common Café that ran from April 17th to April 19th, serving as the emcee and acting for all the world like the biggest booster of Bernie Sanders in the borough of Brooklyn. His infatuation didn’t last long.

On May 10th, Roger Stone appeared on former Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth’s NewsMax Prime television program and revealed that Randy Credico was starting a Sanders Supporters for Trump group.[20]

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, Stone was revealing something of considerable importance. Randy Credico, who had initially considered Bernie Sanders an inadequate socialist and an apologist for U.S. imperialism, was now on the Trump train. How many of the people who traipsed through the Common Café three weeks earlier suspected that the emcee would soon be working to help Trump become the president? They never suspected any such thing because they had no idea that Credico and Stone were friends with a history of ratfucking their political opponents.

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_citizenship_conspiracy_theories#Donald_Trump

[2] http://theweek.com/articles/637675/donald-trumps-decadeslong-obsession-being-president

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump_presidential_campaign,_2000

[4] https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/Volume5.pdf

[5] https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/06/donald-trump-roy-cohn-relationship

[6] http://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/29/us/anthony-fat-tony-salerno-80-a-top-crime-boss-dies-in-prison.html

[7] https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1986/06/16/the-rise-and-gall-of-roger-stone/d8ce308b-7055-4666-860e-378833f46e17/?utm_term=.24811409137c

[8] https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/eavesdropping-on-roy-cohn-and-donald-trump?mbid=social_facebook_aud_dev_kw_paid-eavesdropping-on-roy-cohn-and-donald-trump&kwp_0=602775&kwp_4=2127895&kwp_1=888961

[9] https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2017/05/21/roger-stone-donald-trump-documentary/101909014/

[10] https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-02-03/roger-stone-trump-told-me-hed-run-on-new-years-day-2013

[11] http://www.nytimes.com/1995/09/05/obituaries/william-kunstler-76-dies-lawyer-for-social-outcasts.html

[12] https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/drug-activist-leaves-kunstler-fund-for-senate-bid/

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Credico

[14] http://www.nytimes.com/projects/elections/2013/general/nyc-mayor/map.html

[15] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Golisano

[16] http://observer.com/2002/11/roger-stones-the-race/

[17] http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/14/nyregion/race-for-governor-drug-laws-golisano-take-airwaves-condemn-rockefeller-laws.html

[18] https://www.blackagendareport.com/rand_paul_makes_more_sense_than_dems_left_champion

[19] https://storify.com/italkyoubored/theory-that-roger-stone-s-go-between-for-wikileaks

[20] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loq6JDazthw#t=5m09s

 

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