- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2019

Roger Stone was arrested Friday morning after a grand jury indicted the longtime associate of President Trump on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr. Stone faces charges of obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering related to the release of emails hacked by WikiLeaks from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

The effort was helmed by an unidentified “senior Trump campaign official,” according to the indictment.

At his arraignment Friday morning, a federal judge set Mr. Stone’s bail at $250,000 and restricted his travel to the eastern district of Washington, D.C., and Virginia, New York, and south Florida, according to CNN.

Trump private attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement: “The indictment today does not allege Russian collusion by Roger Stone or anyone else. Rather, the indictment focuses on alleged false statements made to Congress.”



Mr. Stone, a flashy GOP political operative, is alleged to have sought to obstruct the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russian election meddling probe by making false statements to the committee, denying he had records they sought and persuading a witness to provide false testimony, the 24-page indictment said.

“After the July 22, 2016, release of stolen (Democratic National Committee) emails by Organization 1, a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton Campaign. STONE thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1,” prosecutors wrote.

Although not identified, Organization 1 is widely believed to be WikiLeaks.

Mr. Stone has claimed he did not know about WikiLeaks‘ dumping of the hacked emails. But federal prosecutors said that is untrue and he lied to Congress when he made that claim to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

After WikiLeaks released its first batch of hacked emails on Oct. 7, 2016, Mr. Stone received a text from “an associate of the high-ranking Trump campaign official” saying “well done” and indicating the campaign was aware of Mr. Stone’s efforts to dig up dirt on Democrats, the indictment says.

Mr. Stone later told a reporter that the emails that had yet to be released by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would be good for the Trump campaign. The indictment quotes him as saying he would tell the high-ranking Trump campaign official, but “he doesn’t call me back.”

A New York Times article around the same time says that Mr. Stone was referencing Steve Bannon during the interview.

Shortly after his arrest, Mr. Stone released a statement to Infowars, where he is a contributor. He called Mr. Mueller a “rogue prosecutor” and compared his tactics to the strong-arm style of the Soviet Union.

“This country is literally run by a rogue prosecutor who has more power than the president,” Mr. Stone said, adding that America has become “the new Soviet Union” and he fears for his grandchildren, said the statement released to Infowars.

Mr. Stone was arrested by the FBI early Friday morning at his home in Florida, the special counsel’s office said in a statement. He will appear before a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale at 11 a.m.

His Instagram account posted a note from “staff” calling the raid and arrest “deeply saddening.” It featured a photograph of Mr. Stone with the movie-poster-style headline, “Who Framed Roger Stone.”

“Robert Mueller’s early morning raid was straight out of the gestapo’s playbook. We must fight for Roger Stone… now more than ever. If they can do this to Roger… they are coming for us next! -staff,” the note stated.

It urged people to “join the fight” and provided a link to Mr. Stone’s defense fund.

CNN reported that the “Manhattan Madam” Kristin Davis, an associate of Mr. Stone‘s, told them that the FBI also raided his New York apartment.

Mr. Stone served as a Trump adviser years before the business mogul decided to run for president. He worked with the campaign briefly, leaving in August 2015, but continued to maintain regular contact with the campaign, advocating for Mr. Trump during the election.

He has repeatedly insisted he would not turn on Mr. Trump, earning praise from the president.

On Dec. 3, Mr. Trump tweeted in response to Mr. Stone’s pledge never to testify against the president, “This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’ “

During an appearance Wednesday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Mr. Stone insisted he would not flip on the president and cooperate like Trump associates, including Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.

“No matter how much pressure they put on me, no matter what they say, I will not bear false witness against Donald Trump,” Mr. Stone said. “I will not do what Michael Cohen has done and make up lies to ease the pressure on myself.”

The special counsel probe into Russian election meddling has resulted in the indictments of 34 people, including Mr. Stone. Those indicted in the investigation include Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal attorney; Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman; and campaign advisers Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos.

“It’s very interesting to see the kinds of people the president of the United States has surrounded himself with,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday. “This connection to the integrity of our elections is obviously something we have to get the truth about.”

Dave Boyer, Gabriella Muñoz, David Sherfinski and Alex Swoyer contributed to this story.

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