Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, was arrested Friday under an indictment issued by the special counsel examining possible collusion with Russia.
Stone was charged with seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements, and witness tampering, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
The indictment concerns Stone’s communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose group leaked tens of thousands of stolen Democratic Party emails that embarrassed Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton in an apparent bid to influence the election.
It was the first indictment in months by the special prosecutor probing Russian efforts to tip the 2016 U.S. election toward Trump and whether he and his people tried to obstruct justice.
I'm always interested when political figures talk about The Godfather and compare themselves to the Corleone family. This section of Roger Stone's indictment makes clear that he considers himself and his friends to be criminals. pic.twitter.com/Sc6kygNyuK
— Jon Schwarz (@schwarz) January 25, 2019
FBI agents arrested Stone at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before dawn, and he is due in federal court there later in the day. His lawyer did not immediately respond to questions for comment.
Stone, who launched his career as a campaign aide to Richard Nixon and has a tattoo on his back of the first U.S. president to resign from office, has spent decades advising various U.S. political campaigns.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 25, 2019
Why This Matters
Stone was one of the first members of Trump’s team when the billionaire real estate magnate formally announced he was seeking office, but he left months later over a dispute.
The two men, however, remained in close contact. The indictment says that Stone “maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump Campaign through the 2016 election.”
Stone had previously said he was ready to face possible charges from Mueller’s team, and publicly taunted the special counsel, echoing Trump’s claims of a “witch hunt.”
“This was supposed to be about Russian collusion, and it appears to be an effort to silence or punish the president’s supporters and his advocates,” he told NBC’s “Meet The Press” in May.
-Trump’s campaign chair
-Trump’s NatSec adviser
-Trump’s deputy campaign manager
-Trump’s foreign policy adviser
-Trump's longest-serving political adviser
-Trump transition Congress liaison
-Trump’s 1st campaign manager
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) January 25, 2019
“It is not inconceivable now that Mr. Mueller and his team may seek to conjure up some extraneous crime pertaining to my business, or maybe not even pertaining to the 2016 election,” Stone said. “I would chalk this up to an effort to silence me.”
Stone has also previously insisted that he would never testify against Trump.
“There’s no circumstance under which I would testify against the president because I’d have to bear false witness against him,” he told ABC’s “This Week” in December. “I’d have to make things up, and I’m not going to do that.”
Stone now joins Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort, his former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, among others, as Trump confidantes who have been indicted by the special prosecutor.
WATCH| Roger Stone in June 2018: "I had no advanced knowledge of the source, content or the exact disclosure timing of the Wikileaks disclosures… I received nothing, including, allegedly hacked emails from Wikileaks… I passed nothing of that nature on to Donald Trump" pic.twitter.com/lu88UC0msA
— Washington Journal (@cspanwj) January 25, 2019
More on the Subject
U.S. President Donald Trump‘s former lawyer Michael Cohen delivered a blistering attack on his ex-boss as he was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday for multiple crimes including paying “hush money” to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.
“It was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds,” Cohen said as he pleaded for leniency before U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III.
Cohen, 52, Trump’s longtime “fixer,” said he was taking responsibility for his personal crimes and “those implicating the President of the United States of America.”