Did Donald Trump Ever Really Fire Roger Stone?

Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via ZUMA

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How many of your remember this story from three years ago?

Donald Trump’s campaign said Saturday it has fired top political adviser Roger Stone — who promptly denied being let go and insisted he had quit.

….“Mr. Trump fired Roger Stone last night. We have a tremendously successful campaign and Roger wanted to use the campaign for his own personal publicity. He has had a number of articles about him recently and Mr. Trump wants to keep the focus of the campaign on how to Make America Great Again,” a campaign spokesperson said in a statement.

Stone, however, told CNN that he “categorically denies” being fired, and provided what he said was his resignation letter.

Allegedly, Stone quit because he was unhappy about Trump’s “food fight with @megynkelly” taking attention away from “core issue messages.” Please raise your hand if you ever believed this. Roger Stone lives for televised food fights and has less than zero interest in policy messaging. I know that Trump and Stone had supposedly been bickering for weeks, but even if that were true, it’s hardly credible that the Megyn Kelly affair would have been the thing to finally tip him over the edge.

Anyway, that’s what I remember thinking at the time: that this whole thing was a prearranged sham. Stone was more comfortable and more effective doing his thing while being able to claim that he had no connection to the Trump campaign, so he and Trump arranged a loud parting of the ways that no one could ignore. From that point on, Trump could disclaim any knowledge or connection to anything Stone did.

In the end, that didn’t help Stone, who was arrested and indicted yesterday over charges of lying to Congress about WikiLeaks, tampering with witnesses, and obstructing a House investigation into possible Trump campaign coordination with Russia to tip the election. But will it protect Trump? Stay tuned!

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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