WASHINGTON — Roger Stone, the longtime associate and confidant to Donald Trump, was arrested on Friday in the latest indictment brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Stone is accused of misleading the House Intelligence Committee about his attempts to communicate with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign. WikiLeaks released a trove of hacked emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
The indictment charges Stone with one count of obstruction of proceeding, five counts of making false statements, and one count of witness tampering.
The indictment also claims that he was attempting to persuade a witness to give false testimony and withhold pertinent information. According to the indictment, that was Randy Credico, a radio host who had been in contact with Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ founder.
Stone’s indictment had long been expected. In September, in an interview with Variety’s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM, he noted that Mueller had been interviewing many of his associates, but had yet to reach out to him. He has told multiple news outlets that he was expecting an indictment but insisted that he did noting wrong.
Stone is notorious in the political world for his colorful persona and for his engagement in dirty tricks, chronicled in the 2017 Netflix documentary “Get Me Roger Stone.” He was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, to see Trump as a potential political figure, and they have had longtime ties ever since. Stone’s work stretches back to the presidency of Richard Nixon, and in the late 1980s, he actually arranged a meeting with Trump and the former president.
He was an official part of the Trump campaign as an adviser in its early months in the summer of 2015, but left in a campaign shakeup. Still, he had an informal role as an adviser, and was a booster of Trump’s in media appearances and in his commentary on Alex Jones’ Infowars platform.
Mueller’s indictment claims that Stone was instrumental in alerting the Trump team that WikiLeaks had information that was damaging to Clinton.
The indictment claims that in or around June or July of 2016, Stone informed senior Trump campaign officials that he had information that WikiLeaks, identified in the court filing as “Organization 1,” “had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton campaign.”
After the July 22 release of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone “about any additional releases and what other damaging information WikiLeaks had regarding the Clinton Campaign.” Stone then told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by WikiLeaks, according to the indictment.
The indictment also claims that Stone corresponded with associates about contacting WikiLeaks “in order to obtain additional emails damaging to the Clinton Campaign.”
Stone testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26, 2017, in which he denied that he “knew in advance about, and predicted” the hacking of Podesta’s emails and that he had “advanced knowledge of the source or actual content.”
Mueller’s team claims that Stone made false and misleading statements to the committee about his possession of documents such as emails and text messages.
Stone said in a public appearance on August 8, 2016, that he had “actually communicated with Assange,” and made a similar statement four days later. According to the indictment, Stone told the Intelligence Committee that he actually had been in contact with an unidentified intermediary, later revealed as Credico.
“In truth and in fact, the first time [Credico] interviewed [Assange] was on or about August 25, 2016, after Stone made his August 8 and August 12, 2016 public statements,” the indictment stated.
Mueller’s team also claims that Stone misled the committee about his communications with the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks, as well as the requests he made to an intermediary for further information from Assange.
The indictment claims that around Oct. 19, 2017, Stone sent Credico a copy of his letter to the Intelligence Committee that identified Credico as his intermediary. Stone told Credico to “falsely confirm” this if asked by the committee, but Credico told him that such testimony was false. Stone then engaged in a “prolonged effort” to try to prevent Credico from contracting those statements.
Among other things, Stone told Credico in December 2017, that he should do a “Frank Pentangeli” before the committee, referring to a character in “The Godfather: Part II.” That was a character “who testifies before a congressional committee and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know,” according to the indictment. Ultimately, Credico pleaded the fifth.
But the indictment claims that Stone made statements to try to prevent Credico from cooperating with the investigations. In one email on May 21, 2018, Credico wrote to Stone, “You should have just been honest with the house Intel committee … you’ve opened yourself up to perjury charges like an idiot.” Stone wrote back, “You are so full of [expletive]. You got nothing. Keep running your mouth and I’ll file a bar complaint against your friend,” referring to an attorney who had the ability to contact Assange.
In his interview with Variety‘s “PopPolitics” in September, Stone said, even though a Mueller indictment may be forthcoming, “I can’t think of any circumstance under which I would be willing to testify against” Trump.
“They have dragged at least five, I think more, of my current associates in front of the grand jury. Here’s what I can absolutely guarantee you,” Stone said. “They will find no evidence of Russian collusion. They will find no evidence of Wikileaks collaboration. They will find no evidence … that I knew anything in advance of acquisition and the release of John Podesta’s emails. The things simply don’t exist.”
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