Trump associate Roger Stone was arrested by the FBI in an illicit dawn raid on his Florida home and indicted on charges in connection with Robert Mueller’s witch hunt “Russia” investigation. But what exactly was Stone charged with? Well, nothing to do with Russia, in any case.
Upwards to thirty FBI agents in more than a dozen vehicles skidded up to Stone’s Florida home at dawn on Friday and banged on his door demanding he come out to be arrested. These agents were armed to the teeth with automatic weapons, and wearing tactical gear… all for a 66-year-old man who has no history of violence and is charged with political crimes.
Liberals on TV have crowed about the arrest and proclaimed that Stone was arrested for violations in connection with “Russia collusion.” This, though, is a lie. Stone was not charged with anything at all to do with Russia.
Indeed, the charges are just more absurd “process” violations, i.e. he supposedly “lied” to investigators about things that had nothing to do with Russia.
The indictments have to do with statements Stone made to the FBI about his involvement with the WikiLeaks release of hacked communications from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The charges do not allege that Stone worked with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange but only that he “lied” to the FBI about his efforts to find out what Assange was doing during the email leaks.
According to the Washington Examiner, Count one alleges that Stone obstructed a House committee as it tried to investigate the email leaks. The charge alleges that Stone had some documents about the leak even when he told investigators that he did not have such documents in his possession.
Counts two through six detail specific statements that the government characterized as lies.
Count seven charges Stone with witness tampering and insists that Stone told a government witness to take the Fifth or lie to the House committee.
The indictment does not allege that Stone had any direct communications with Julian Assange. It also does not allege that Stone had any connections with any supposed “collusion” with Russia to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.
In fact, the indictment makes it clear that the Trump campaign had ceased using Stone’s services by October of 2016, before Election Day.
As the Examiner notes:
In the end, it appears Stone’s big problem was his big mouth. He liked to brag about being behind all sorts of nefarious deeds when in fact he was not, or he had a tangential connection to them. That led to this chain of events: 1) Stone bragged in public; 2) the House committee asked him about his bragging under oath; and 3) Mueller investigated the veracity of Stone’s sworn testimony. If Stone had not popped off about himself all the time, he probably would not have gotten himself in trouble.
Stone presented a pretty accurate picture of himself in an interview last November with CNN’s Michael Smerconish. “What I have done here is perfectly legal,” Stone said. “I took a solid tip and entirely public information, it could be gleaned from the WikiLeaks Twitter feed and by setting a Google News Alert on Julian Assange and reading every interview, to hype and punk and promote and posture and bluff the Democrats.”
Stone was just sloppy. But he had nothing to do with trying to alter the 2016 election.
After his release this morning, Stone denounced the arrest and slammed the way the government conducted the pre-dawn raid.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.