Republican dirty trickser Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested by FBI agents clad in tactical vests and carrying large weapons at his home in Florida while an early morning search warrant was executed at Stone’s New York offices.
Stone was to appear in a Fort Lauderdale court, after being indicted by a federal grand jury on seven criminal charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
The Stone indictment includes one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness-tampering.
The charges are linked to an alleged Russian theft of emails from Democratic Party officials, from which 50,000 stolen documents were released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 US presidential election campaign.
Stone made statements ahead of those releases indicating that he had prior knowledge of the Russian plot.
More than a month before those emails were made public, Stone tweeted it would soon be Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s “time in a barrel,” which some critics say was a reference to his prior knowledge of the hack.
The indictment lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about stolen Democratic emails posted by WikiLeaks in the weeks before Trump beat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.
“Stone was an official on the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) until in or around August 2015, and maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump Campaign through the 2016 election,” the indictment said.
On or about August 2, 2016, a co-conspirator emailed Stone and informed him that Wikileaks would make two more ‘dumps’ of secrets from the Clinton campaign, and that the “Impact planned to be very damaging.”
A week later, Stone publicly said was in contact with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and that, ‘I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”
The indictment includes quotes from email messages passed back and forth between Stone and an intermediary who appears to be Jerome Corsi, who recently said he is paid $15,000-a-month from Infowars, the website devoted to conspiracy theories and fake news run by discredited radio show host Alex Jones.
The 24-page indictment against Stone accuses the longtime Donald Trump adviser of making false statements, witness tampering and obstruction in an alleged attempt to throw off investigators regarding his communications with the Trump campaign related to WikiLeaks’ dissemination of stolen emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Stone was released on a $250,000 bond.
The Justice Department’s special counsel filing details how people close to the Trump campaign were eager to leverage to their advantage Democratic emails allegedly hacked by Russian spies.
@realDonaldTrump posted a statement on Twitter calling the Mueller probe the, “Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country!”
The White House has not explained why so many Trump campaign officials had contacts with Russians or responded to questions about why those Trump associates lied about their interactions with people linked to the Krermlin.
Seven people have pleaded guilty or been convicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, with one other person pleading guilty to charges brought after a referral by Mr. Mueller’s office. Another 27 individuals have been indicted, along with three Russian companies.
Mueller’s probe has produced indictments of Trurmp campaign manager Paul Manafort over Russian business deals and money laundering; indictments of the Internet Research Agency for its information-influence operations on social media sites; indictments of numerous Russian military intelligence officers for the theft and publication of Democratic emails and an attack on state-level voting systems; plus indictments of Trump campaign officials for lying about their contacts with Russian officials.
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