In the waning days of the Trump administration, Roger Stone railed against the outgoing president for refusing to issue preemptive pardons relating to the Jan. 6 insurrection, The Washington Post reported on Friday. Stone called the man he helped win the presidency in 2016 the “greatest single mistake in American history,” according to video footage obtained by the paper.
The footage, shot by a Danish film crew for an upcoming documentary about Stone called “A Storm Foretold,” also offered details about the extent to which the longtime Trump adviser may have been involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. For instance, footage shows Joshua James, a member of the far-right Oath Keepers group who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy on Wednesday, in Stone’s room at the Willard Hotel hours before the insurrection. Stone also communicated with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes — who is awaiting trial on seditious conspiracy charges — later in January, the footage reveals. (After being subpoenaed in November by the Jan. 6 committee, Stone declined to answer questions during testimony and last month sued to avoid turning over his phone records.)
As Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Stone is seen saying that the riot was “really bad” for the pro-Trump movement, yet also that it was to be expected since there wasn’t a “fair, honest and transparent election.” Stone took a private flight out of the city that night, telling an aide, “I really want to get out of here.”
In the following days, the shady GOP operative drafted — and said he sent to Trump — a five-page “Stone Plan,” in which he urged the president to preemptively pardon Stone, Republican lawmakers, and “the America First movement” for charges that could have stemmed from the effort to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss. (Trump had just pardoned Stone the month before for Stone’s conviction for impeding the congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.)
Trump ultimately didn’t do this, having been warned that if he did issue pardons to lawmakers, allies, family members, and himself, he should be prepared to list specific crimes. White House counsel Pat Cipollone, one of the attorneys who had Trump’s ear, “fucked everybody,” Stone complained in a Jan. 19 phone call with a friend then imprisoned for fraud whom Stone unsuccessfully lobbied Trump to pardon, according the footage.
Stone was also particularly angered by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. “In two weeks he’s moving to Miami,” Stone told one of his staffers on Inauguration Day. He added, in a whisper: “He’s going to get a beating. He needs to have a beating. And needs to be told, ‘This time we’re just beating you. Next time we’re killing you.'” Stone said he was not joking.
While on the phone later that day, Stone added that Kushner needed to be “punished in the most brutal possible way” and would be “brain dead when I get finished with him.”
As for Trump, Stone claimed his decision to not issue preemptive pardons was an act of betrayal. He added that Trump might have endangered himself. “A good, long sentence in prison will give him a chance to think about it, because the Southern District is coming for him, and he did nothing,” Stone said, referring to the investigation by the New York attorney general into potential fraud at the Trump Organization.
At the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, which was held a few weeks after Stone called Trump the “greatest single mistake in American history,” Stone declared his support for Trump if he were to run in 2024.