Long time confidant, advisor and friend of Donald Trump, as well as infamous servile Republican media assassin, Roger Stone, was arrested today by the FBI after a jury indicted him on 7 counts of felony violations, as part of the Robert Mueller inquiry.
Firstly, we’ll lay out the backstory behind this case, and then what Stone actually is charged with.
The indictment supplied by Mueller’s office to the court as grounds for arrest alleged that Mr Stone had been in contact multiple times with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election via two intermediaries. The contact between Stone, the intermediaries, and WikiLeaks was allegedly about damaging internal emails belonging to the Democratic Party that were famously stolen by an as-yet unknown source, given to WikiLeaks, and then released by them. The first batch was released by WikiLeaks in July 2016.
A second set of emails was stolen from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, and given to WikiLeaks, which were subsequently released to the world in October 2016, a month before the Nov. 6 general election. Stone was allegedly in contact with WikiLeaks about those emails leading up to their release too, the indictment says.
Around the times of both releases, Stone had made contact with the Trump campaign team, including a person referred to by the Mueller indictment only as ‘a senior figure in the Trump campaign’ about the WikiLeaks releases. Stone would tell the Trump campaign ‘senior figure’ that he had information on the nature on the releases by WikiLeaks, referred to in the indictment as ‘Organization 1’. Over the course of the election, when Stone needed more information, he would ask his two intermediaries if they could make contact to WikiLeaks to get it.
He would let the Trump Campaign know that WikiLeaks had dirt on the Democrats, and that they would release it soon. The Trump team would allegedly reply back to him praising the news, asking him questions like whether Organisation 1 had more info, and when would it be released. Questions which Stone provided information on.
However, the current charges by Special Counsel Mueller levied against Stone do not claim the above alleged actions by him or WikiLeaks were illegal. Nor have the charges claimed Mr Stone stole the information and gave it to WikiLeaks, or that the Russians stole the information, or that there was coordination between the Russians, and: the Trump Campaign, Mr Stone, WikiLeaks, or anyone else.
Future charges may indeed be of that nature, but for now, the 7 charges that have been filed against Roger Stone refer to him trying to subvert the investigations into whether and how he was involved in the above actions. The 7 charges thus include obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress.
These investigations into Stone were part of the much broader and famous investigations by Congress and the FBI of the 2016 election, where the authorities have looked into a range of criminal activity committed by people connected with it, including attempting to determine whether the Russians influenced the election.
Mr Stone, 66, was arrested at around 6am at his Fort Lauderdale home, sent to court and charged, and released on $250,000 bail.
To get the full story of Stone’s alleged involvement, the dates and times, and his illegalities, you can read the full indictment released by Mueller’s office, here.
The two unconnected intermediaries of Mr Stone are believed by Mueller to be Jerome Corsi, a right wing political commentator, and radio host Randy Credico (who has repeatedly denied his involvement over the past couple years).
The ‘senior figure’ inside the Trump campaign is officially unknown to the public, but is suspected by media to be Steve Bannon, Trump's former campaign chief, his former chief strategist in the White House, and founder of the far-right extremist site, Breitbart.
Roger Stone, as mentioned, is a veteran and devious political operative inside the Republican Party. For decades, he’s worked as the number one right wing media hitman. He’s worked in as far back as the Nixon Administration (Stone even famously has a tattoo of Nixon’s face on his back), and has been involved in numerous smear jobs and lie-ridden media campaigns on behalf of the right wing.
Indeed, his own defense in relation to these charges is that he was lying whenever, over the course of the past three or so years, he made statements (including public ones in interviews) that he had connections with WikiLeaks. He said he lied to try and spook the Democrats, as well as bolster his standing with the Trump campaign and the right.
Stone has been a long time friend and advisor to Donald Trump, coming right from his inner circle. He worked with the campaign till August 2015, and he credits himself as being the one who ‘convinced’ Trump to run. The White House tried to distance itself and the president from the indictment, with Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, saying the president had no connection with Mr Stone in regarding to this matter, and had done nothing wrong.
Whether indeed he did do the things he’s charged with, or his alleged (by him) deceitful boasting and scheming has got him in trouble, it looks like Roger Stone’s penchant for lies and deception is finally catching up with him.