Roger Stone has been arrested, virtually guaranteeing that the media cycle for the foreseeable future will focus on tying this former adviser to the president to all things Russia collusion, and by logical extension, all things impeach Donald Trump.
So be it. That’s the modern day media.
But within this media storm is a nugget of a story that should make American blood boil. The bigger story is the FBI’s treatment of Stone during his arrest.
“Roger Stone arrested in predawn FBI raid: CNN video,” MarketWatch reported in a headline.
“Video shows armed FBI agents storming Roger Stone’s house,” the New York Post wrote in another.
And the Post piece progresses this way: “With their guns drawn, several agents stormed Stone’s home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, around 6 a.m. — pounding on the door and bellowing, ‘FBI! Open the door!’ according to the footage obtained by CNN.”
How nice CNN was able to “obtain” that footage. Wonder how that happened?
The drama didn’t go unnoticed.
Stone’s neighbor, former NFLer Chad Johnson, watched it unfold during his early morning jog and subsequently tweeted, the Post noted, “FBI arrested my neighbor … I’ve only seen s—t like that in movies, crazy start to my Friday.”
The big story here isn’t so much Stone, and his arrest on obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering. The big story here is the Stormin’ Norman thuggishness of America’s FBI.
What exactly was the dire, dangerous situation that necessitated agents’ sneaky dark-hour, guns-drawn, surround-the-home service of arrest warrant?
Was Stone a known drug dealer with a dastardly past? A violent offender with a lengthy criminal history? A suspected terrorist known to be armed to the teeth?
No. But then again, neither was Paul Manafort, another of Robert Mueller’s arrest picks.
“FBI raid on Paul Manafort’s home demonstrates aggressive pursuit of Russia investigation,” the Los Angeles Times wrote back in August 2017.
Or, as Business Insider described it: “The FBI conducted an early-morning raid on Manafort’s Virginia home last July by knocking on his bedroom door at the crack of dawn.
It was pretty much the same-same for Michael Cohen — another example of FBI’s finest courteously escorting the innocent-until-proven-guilty into custody. Not,
“Search warrants like the one used in the Cohen and Manafort raids — which some legal experts characterize as a ‘no-knock’ warrant — are ‘executed early in the day and by large teams of armed federal agents,’ [former assistant U.S. attorney Harry] Sandick said, to Business Insider.
These are the types of arrests normally reserved for the lowest of the lowlifes, the most violent of the violent — the drug dealers, the mafia types and so forth.
And, lately, with Mueller specifically, for anyone tied to Trump.
The left may cheer, Democrats may applaud. But an over-the-top federal law enforcement force is a threat to all Americans, liberals and conservatives alike.
The FBI is not the Gestapo. The FBI is not the KGB. The FBI is supposed to serve the interests of the American people — and that means protecting the Constitution’s rights of due process.
That means treating arrested suspects like the innocents they are, until proven otherwise in courts of law. No dead-of-night, guns-a-blazin’, storm-trooping-type warrants for nonviolent, white-collar suspects needed.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.