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Roger Stone appears yesterday outside his home in Fort Lauderdale. Photo: Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Roger Stone told Axios in a phone interview that he plans to write and speak for President Trump's re-election now that Stone "won't die in a squalid hellhole of corona-19 virus."

"I'm asthmatic," said Stone, 67. "Sending me to a prison where I could not be socially distanced ... would, I think, be a death sentence."

Stone said he'll continue to follow one of his "Stone's Rules": "I will do anything necessary to elect my candidate, short of breaking the law."

  • "First, I'm going to write a book about this entire ordeal to, once and for all, put to bed the myth of Russian collusion."

I asked Stone about Peter Baker's New York Times analysis saying that in keeping Stone out of prison, Trump crossed a line that even Richard Nixon "in the depths of Watergate dared not cross. ... Nixon resigned ... without using his pardon pen."

  • Stone replied that the Friday evening commutation — for obstruction, witness tampering and false statements to Congress — shows Trump "has an enormous sense of fairness and justice and mercy."

Stone flatly predicted Trump will win, despite the bleak outlook:

  • "It'll be a very tough fight. He's got three obstacles: voter fraud ... internet censorship, which I have just recently experienced myself; and, of course, the constant falsehoods being pushed by the corporate-owned mainstream media. Those all make it a difficult race."
  • "But he is a great campaigner. He's a great communicator."

When I asked Stone how he can be so sure Trump will win, he said: "I know more about it than anybody else."

  • When I asked what he means, Stone cited his campaign work going back to his hero Nixon in 1968: "Who do you know who's been through more presidential campaigns than me?"

Stone said he "had no assurances" about the commutation before Trump called his cellphone Friday evening: "But I had prayed fervently, ... and I believe the whole matter was in God's hands and that God would provide. And He did."

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Go deeper

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Third Way: "Big Lie" could become "Big Coup"

Graphic: Third Way

Third Way, the center-left think tank, is urging fellow Democrats to respond to the Capitol riot with "the size, scope, and seriousness of a presidential campaign," co-founder Matt Bennett tells me.

Driving the news: "For the first time in U.S. history, a party must mount two parallel presidential campaigns: one to win the election, and the other to prevent its theft," Bennett said, calling this "a Paul Revere moment."