“FBI. Open the door.”
Watch exclusive CNN footage of the FBI arresting longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. Stone has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. http://cnn.it/2DyhiiH
Political operative Roger Stone, was arrested in Florida on Friday morning following a federal indictment resulting from Special Counsel’s burgeoning probe into Russian election meddling.
Longtime Donald Trump confidant Stone, 66, was indicted Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller for allegations he lied to Congress and obstructed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Stone was arrested during a dramatic pre-dawn raid with their weapons drawn and a lead agent shouting ‘FBI! Open the door! We have a warrant!’, at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida home following his indictment.
Stone is charged with seven federal counts including five of making false statements, one of witness tampering and one of obstruction of official proceedings.
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He is due to appear at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Friday morning, according to Mueller’s office. New York magazine reported that the FBI also raided Stone’s Manhattan apartment.
The indictment does not charge him with crimes directly related to Russia or with conspiracy to skew the 2016 election, but with what legal experts call ‘process crimes’ – lying to investigators and trying to tamper with their work after being asked about contacts he claimed to have with WikiLeaks around the temt the anti-privacy group published thousands of stolen emails that embarrassed Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
90 second video from CNN shows on Friday morning showed the pre-dawn raid that resulted in Stone’s arrest. Agents wearing body armor and drawing their weapons swarmed Stone’s home in a posh south Florida neighborhood
Muller’s work ‘has been thorough and objective, and he must be allowed to complete his job without interference,’ Feinstein said.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee: said separately that the Stone indictment makes clear that his contacts with WikiLeaks ‘happened at least with the full knowledge of, and appear to have been encouraged by, the highest levels of the Trump campaign.’
There was no Russian collusion, it’s a clear attempt at silencing Roger. This was an investigation they started as about Russian collusion and now they’re charging Roger Stone with lying to Congress about something he honestly forgot about, and as Roger has stated publicly before, he will fight the charges.
Roger Stone attorney Grant Smith.
President Trump tweeted an encouraging message to Stone in December as news spread that Mueller’s team was putting pressure on him.
‘”I will never testify against Trump.” This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about “President Trump.” Nice to know that some people still have “guts!”‘ he wrote.
Trump tweeted in May 2017, four months after taking office, that CNN was mistaken in reporting that he still had a close relationship with Stone.
‘Fake News. Have not spoken to Roger in a long time,’ he said then.
Stone renewed his pledge of loyalty to Trump on Wednesday, appearing on the Fox News Channel’s ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’
‘No matter how much pressure they put on me, no matter what they say, I will not bear false witness against Donald Trump. I will not do what Michael Cohen has done and make up lies to ease the pressure on myself,’ he said.
Stone also told Carlson that Mueller is ‘a runaway special prosecutor who is accountable to no one.’
‘My testimony is both accurate and truthful, but I’m not even allowed to have a copy of it,’ he protested.
Jay Sekulow, an attorney who represents the president in matters related to the Mueller probe, said Friday in a statement that the Stone indictment ‘does not allege Russian collusion by Roger Stone or anyone else. Rather, the indictment focuses on alleged false statements Mr. Stone made to Congress.’
As Stone makes his court appearance another Trump ally – former campaign chairman Paul Manafort – will also be appearing in a Virginia courtroom.
Manafort, who has already been jailed for conspiracy, is facing new allegations that he lied to members of Mueller’s team while cooperating as part of his plea deal.
Stone, a former Richard Nixon adviser who has the disgraced former president’s face permanently tattooed on his back, has long been portrayed as a central figure in the election interference scandal.
As recently as January 4, he expressed optimism he would not be indicted.
‘They got nothing,’ he said of the special counsel’s investigation.
‘They’ve tried hard, but I didn’t do anything illegal. That’s why I’m not worried and I’ll do a public appearance like tonight’s without a problem.’
Mueller’s federal grand jury met on Thursday, a Justice Department source told DailyMail.com. That’s unusual, given the typical schedule of such grand juries.
The indictment today does not allege Russian collusion by Roger Stone or anyone else. Rather, the indictment focuses on alleged false statements Mr. Stone made to Congress.
The Justice Department source said the grand jury also met on a Thursday last July, the day before Mueller unsealed an indictment against a dozen Russian agents.
The grand jury had been hearing for months from witnesses linked with Stone. And the House Intelligence Committee, then run by Republicans, voted last year to release a transcript of Stone’s testimony to Mueller.
The indictment states that Stone spoke to senior Trump campaign officials about information held by WikiLeaks that might by damaging to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
That came during the summer of 2016 as the Trump campaign shifted gears from a bruising primary season to months of general election fights against Trump.
That ‘senior campaign official’ replied to Stone asking him to inquire about potential future release by WikiLeaks, the indictment alleges.
Thousands of emails had been stolen from a Gmail account belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Other records had been stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers.
The indictment directly quotes a Stone email to Breitbart News Washington Editor Matthew Boyle on October 3, 2016 in which he complains that he ‘would tell [the high-ranking Trump Campaign official]’ about his contacts with WikiLeaks, ‘but he doesn’t call me back.’
That matches, word-for-word, a Stone email cited by The New York Times in November 2018, which cites former Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon by name instead of ‘the high-ranking Trump Campaign official.’
Messages sent Friday morning to Bannon, then a future White House senior adviser Steve Bannon, and his public relations adviser Alexandra Preate, who worked alongside him in the White House, went unanswered.
Manafort, now languishing in jail and facing a lengthy prison term for tax and bank fraud, may play a role in the Stone indictment.
It describes the aftermath of ‘the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails’ by WikiLeaks, and recounts how ‘a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact Stone’ to see if more releases were coming.
Bannon is widely understood to be that official. As the campaign’s CEO, he reported directly to Manafort.
Only Manafort and Donald Trump himself likely had the authority to ‘directed’ his actions.
The question of who gave that order will set off a new round of speculation about whether the president himself could be a Mueller target.
He is also accused of trying to persuade a witness ‘to provide false testimony to and withhold pertinent information from the investigations.’
The indictment accuses Stone of lying to a congressional panel in September 2017, telling House Intelligence Committee members that he had never asked an intermediary to contact Assange on his behalf.
‘I did not,’ he replied.
According to the indictment, he had by then asked two people to ‘get to’ Assange, forwarding a request for documents that could damage the Hillary Clinton campaign.
News reports have established that Stone sent similar emails to Jerome Corsi, a well-known conspiracy theorist whose relationship with Stone goes back decades.
Corsi said in November that he had declined a plea agreement from Mueller that would involve a guilty plea to lying about his discussions with Stone.
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