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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

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.