- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2019

Roger Stone, indicted Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia probe, is a pugnacious longtime Republican operative and friend of President Trump who takes credit for helping Mr. Trump to reach the White House.

“My job was to help him get elected president,” he told CNN in 2015.

Mr. Stone has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Mueller’s probe, practically daring investigators to find evidence of wrongdoing against him.

“The government has been looking at my emails, monitoring my phone calls, reading my text messages — probably listening to this call — for two-and-a-half years,” he told Newsmax earlier this week. “Twenty-five million dollars and two-and-a-half years in, they still have no evidence of Russian collusion, no evidence of collaboration with WikiLeaks, no evidence that I knew about the source or the content of the WikiLeaks disclosures that were published in October of 2016.”

A veteran of GOP politics dating back to President Richard M. Nixon’s re-election campaign in 1972, Mr. Stone, 66, has a tattoo of Nixon’s face on his back. He has been accused of engaging in political dirty tricks over the years.

His web site, StoneColdTruth.com, features a prominent photograph of himself with Mr. Trump and highlights quotes describing him as “the Michael Jordan of electoral mischief” and a “master of right-wing political hit jobs.”

“Politics with me isn’t theater,” he once told the Weekly Standard. “It’s performance art. Sometimes, for its own sake.”

Calling himself a Libertarian, Mr. Stone formed a lobbying shop in Washington in the 1980s with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others. He has advised Republican candidates including Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole.

Mr. Stone has had no official role in Trump World since August 2015, when he either quit or was fired from the Trump campaign, depending on whom you believe.

“I really don’t want publicity seekers who want to be on magazines or who are out for themselves,” Mr. Trump told The Washington Post at the time. “This campaign is not about them. It’s about victory and making America great again.”

Having known Mr. Trump for decades, however, Mr. Stone remained an informal adviser, speaking with Mr. Trump and campaign aides occasionally.

Roger’s a good guy,” Mr. Trump said at the time. “He’s been so loyal and so wonderful.”

That loyalty surfaced late last year, when Mr. Stone declared publicly that he would never testify against the president in the Mueller probe.

“There’s no circumstance under which I bear false witness against President Trump,” he told ABC News.

But with Mr. Stone’s arrest at his home in Florida before dawn Friday, the White House is trying to steer clear of any connection. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders referred to Mr. Stone on CNN as “that individual.”

“This has nothing to do with the president, certainly nothing to do with the White House,” Mrs. Sanders said, adding that the indictment is “not something that affects us here in this building.”

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