Following Stone’s indictment on Friday, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani scoffed, “Another false-statement case? God almighty.”
But it is unclear if the special counsel shares that view. While Mueller has not accused any American of criminally coordinating with Russia, the lies meticulously unspooled by his prosecutors over 20 months have not been mere quibbles.
They have documented various falsehoods by Trump advisers that masked efforts by people in his orbit to develop inroads with Russia and leverage that country’s hacking of Democratic emails.
The remaining question — for both Mueller’s team, as it works on a final investigative report, and for the American people — is why.
Did the president’s men lie to protect a still-hidden dark secret about the campaign’s interaction with Russia, engaging in a broad effort to obstruct the probe — one that included perhaps even Trump?
Did they lie to avoid diminishing Trump’s victory by acknowledging Russia played a role in his election?
Did they each lie for their own reasons, taking their cue from the president — who has told many whoppers of his own, including about Russia?