Boom: Stone Indicted, Arrested

Ken AshfordCrime, L'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment


Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested in the special counsel’s Russia investigation in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home on Friday and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe.

The seven-count indictment against Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller.

It provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates in the summer of 2016 were actively seeking to politically benefit from the release of hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It alleges that unnamed senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.

The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that Stone lied to the committee about “his possession of documents pertinent to HPSCI’s investigation; the source for his early August 2016 statements about Organization 1; requests he made for information from the head of Organization 1; his communications with his identified intermediary; and his communications with the Trump Campaign about Organization 1.”

As the investigation heated up, Stone continued to publicly identify
New York comedian Randy Credico as the true “conduit” to Wikileaks. Behind the scenes, the longtime GOP political operative was allegedly threatening Credico, according to the indictment.

Stone then allegedly threatened Credico in April 2018, purportedly calling him in an email “a rat” and “a stoolie,” the indictment alleges.

“You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds,” Stone purportedly wrote. He later added to Credico, the indictment reads, that he would “take that dog away from you,” an apparent reference to Credico’s dog Bianca.

Prosecutors don’t cite any more communications until May, when Credico purportedly wrote to Stone “You should have just been honest with the house Intel committee … you’ve opened yourself up to perjury charges like an idiot.”

Prosecutors say that Stone then replied, “You are so full of [expletive].”

The special counsel announced that Stone will make an initial appearance at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale at 11 a.m. ET Friday.

Russia is notably absent from the indictment — the only time the words “Russia” or “Russian” are used is in noting the date the DNC announced they had been hacked by Russian government actors and to describe the various investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

Key points of the indictment regarding the Trump campaign:

  1. Stone allegedly told senior Trump campaign officials by June or July of 2016 that he had information about Wikileaks planning to leak information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. The DNC email leak happened on July 22.
  2. After the DNC emails, a senior Trump campaign official was allegedly instructed to ask Stone about any future Wikileaks dumps or if Wikileaks had any other damaging information on Clinton’s campaign. Stone then allegedly told them about potential future releases. Five days after that, Trump makes plea to Russia “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
  3. Stone then allegedly told the Trump campaign about potential future Wikileaks releases impacting the Clinton campaign.
  4. Between late July and early August, Stone allegedly repeatedly emailed with an undisclosed political commentator, who would later be interviewed by investigators, to obtain information from Wikileaks’ head Julian Assange about future leaks. It was shortly after that Stone publicly claimed to have spoken with Assange and to know the timing of the next leak.
  5. Around October 3, 2016, Stone allegedly wrote to “a supporter involved with the Trump Campaign” in regards to the expected Wikileaks dump: “Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.”
  6. After the release of Podesta’s emails in October, an associate of “the high-ranking Trump Campaign official” allegedly sent Stone a text which read, “well done.” CNBC is reporting that the “high-ranking Trump Campaign official” is Steve Bannon.
  7. Stone allegedly lied to House investigators about his communications with Wikileaks and Trump officials. He also attempted to persuade an undisclosed witness, described as “a radio host who had known Stone for more than a decade” to withhold information from the investigations, per the indictment.

White House reaction is…. stupid.

As for why CNN was there for the raid, there was no tip-off. It was great journalism. The Mueller Grand Jury met yesterday (Thursday). They don’t normally meet on Thursday. The last time they met on a Thursday, there was an indictment of 13 Russians. So CNN figured there might be an indictment today — and figured Stone was a likely target. So they staked out his place. Again, great journalism.

UPDATE: Stone appeared in court just now for his arraignment. He appeared “disheveled” in court, clad in jeans and shackled.

Stone makes the famous Nixon gesture. I’m sure that was intentional on his part — he has a tattoo of Nixon on his back.

MOMENTS AGO: “There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself,” Roger Stone says. “I look forward to being fully and completely vindicated.”

Stone case has been assigned to Amy Berman Jackson, also the judge in Paul Manafort’s DC case.