Photo: Lynne Sladky (AP)

The unscrupulous political hit man who led pro-Trump hillbillies and InfoWars zombies in attacks on Hillary Clinton with chants of “Lock her up!” wants you to look deep into your heart and realize how much he’s suffering at the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

He also wants you to go to his website, dig out your wallet, and give him money. Because there’s a war on free speech, he says, and the biggest victim is Roger Stone. (Yes, he refers to himself in the third person.)

After being released on a $250,000 signature bond on Friday following his arrest on charges of obstruction of justice, lying to Congress, and witness tampering, Stone appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson to claim that he’s entirely innocent, a victim of a smear campaign by Mueller’s office who has been rendered so broke he can’t afford health insurance. Oh, and no one’s buying his book, either. Sad.

“The indictment is thin indeed. So, what is this about? It’s about silencing me,” Stone told a perpetually grimacing Carlson. “There’s a war on alternative media. There’s a war where they’re trying to criminalize political expression. There’s a war where they’re trying to criminalize free speech. The efforts to shut down my show at InfoWars, the efforts to silence Alex Jones, who’s one of my greatest supporters and proponents, are part of this war.”

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Stone, who notoriously has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, said he intended to plead not guilty and would eventually be “vindicated.”

One of the more intriguing bits of Stone’s indictment is a statement noting that a “senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE” about additional releases by WikiLeaks of hacked material from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton. That statement prompted many to wonder whether the person who directed the campaign official was Donald Trump himself.

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Stone said no. “So, who was it if it wasn’t the president?” Carlson asked.

“Well, I have to speculate about that. Since it never happened, it appears to me that they have composed testimony for someone. Perhaps Rick Gates. Perhaps Steve Bannon. Perhaps someone is bearing false witness against me,” Stone said.

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Later, Carlson asked if Stone had spoken to Trump about the situation.

“I have not. But again, if you watch CNN or MSNBC, you wouldn’t know that because they act as if Stone acted as the conduit between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. Or between Donald Trump and WikiLeaks,” Stone said.

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He added: “When the president answered the written interrogatories, he correctly and honestly said Roger Stone and I never discussed this. And we never did.”

That exchange led to an extensive discussion on Twitter about whether Stone had contradicted himself by saying he hadn’t spoken with Trump about the matter. But as former special counsel Ryan Goodman pointed out, Stone could have read about Trump’s written responses to Mueller’s inquiries via a November CNN report.

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Nevertheless, Goodman noted, Trump could be in even more legal trouble about the accuracy of his written testimony. Did Trump—who has been a friend of Stone’s for nearly three decades—really not speak to him about any of this?

Later in the interview, Stone doubled down on the victimhood. “Look, Tucker, I think we both know the game here. Wear Stone down financially, make sure that he’s broke so that he has to plead guilty to these charges even though he didn’t commit them, and then try to flip me against the president,” Stone said, giving out the web address of his legal defense fund. “I’m in for the fight of my life. But I will not quit, I will not fold, I will not bend, I will not bear false witness against the president. I intend to fight.” (Translation: Donald, please pardon me.)

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Stone continued: “I’m essentially broke since the leaks from the special counsel’s office over the last two years have dried up my consulting business, since the censorship and shadow-banning on Facebook have substantially dried up my book sales. As you know, I had to end my life and health insurance in December because I couldn’t meet the premiums anymore. Every dollar I scrape up has to go to this fight. But still, I fight on.”

The frequent guest of InfoWars and close friend of conspiracy theory peddler Alex Jones then audaciously complained about the state of politics in the U.S.

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“We’re in a very bad place in terms of our politics,” Stone said. “I get four or five death threats a week. I can’t go out to a public restaurant or an airport or travel by myself now because people want to mix it up. They don’t want to just yell at you. Some of them want to take a swing at you. I don’t feel that way about them. I disagree with them, but I’m not for violence. I don’t think violence solves anything.

Speaking of political discourse and violence, let’s go back to the indictment (emphasis mine):

On or about April 9, 2018, STONE wrote in an email to Person 2, “You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds.” STONE also said he would “take that dog away from you,” referring to Person 2’s dog. On or about the same day, STONE wrote to Person 2, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die [expletive].”

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Stone’s appearance on Fox News prompted Congressman Ted Lieu to raise the possibility of a subpoena for Stone to testify before Congress. “Based on Roger Stone’s repeated public statements about his case, I believe it would be appropriate for Congressional Committees to subpoena Stone and compel his testimony. He obviously has chosen not to remain silent,” Lieu tweeted.

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On Saturday, Trump continued attacking the Mueller probe by criticizing, once again, former Justice Department, FBI, and intelligence officials.

“If Roger Stone was indicted for lying to Congress, what about the lying done by Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lisa Page & lover, Baker and soooo many others? What about Hillary to FBI and her 33,000 deleted Emails? What about Lisa & Peter’s deleted texts & Wiener’s laptop? Much more!” Trump tweeted.

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