Who is it?
It’s Robert Mueller, you’re going to prison.
That is almost literally the scene that played out in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Friday morning just after 6 a.m. at the home of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone.
Stone, a notorious rabble-rouser, has long known he would likely find himself in handcuffs before the special counsel probe was all said and done. As the New York Times notes, his cartoonish antics ironically shielded him from the kind of around-the-clock media coverage that blanketed the other usual suspects. “His brash behavior made him less of a subject of news media scrutiny than other current and former aides to President Trump — like the character in a whodunit who readers immediately dismiss as too obvious to have committed the crime”, the Times quips.
Agents reportedly pounded on his door before dawn on Friday. “FBI. Open the door”, one said. Here, we’ll let CNN describe the scene:
A number of law enforcement vehicles with silent sirens flashing pulled in front of Stone’s home on a darkened Ft. Lauderdale street just after 6 a.m. Friday morning.
About a dozen officers with heavy weapons and tactical vests fanned out across Stone’s lawn.
Law enforcement shined a flashlight into Stone’s front door before one officer rapped against it, shouting, “FBI. Open the door.”
Seconds later, the agent shouted, “FBI. Warrant.”
A floor light turned on and moments later, Stone appeared in the front entryway. He confirmed who he was to law enforcement.
The incorrigible Stone faces a seven count indictment, that includes: obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements and witness tampering. Here are some excerpts from the indictment which references Stone’s contacts with Wikileaks.
ROGER JASON STONE, JR. was a political consultant who worked for decades in U.S. politics and on U.S. political campaigns. STONE was an official on the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) until in or around August 2015, and maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump Campaign through the 2016 election. During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials about Organization 1 and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1. By in or around early August 2016, STONE was claiming both publicly and privately to have communicated with Organization 1. By in or around mid-August 2016, Organization 1 made a public statement denying direct communication with STONE. Thereafter, STONE said that his communication with Organization 1 had occurred through a person STONE described as a “mutual friend,” “go-between,” and “intermediary.” STONE also continued to communicate with members of the Trump Campaign about Organization 1 and its intended future releases.
The indictment goes on to accuse Stone of taking “steps to obstruct” multiple investigations into Russian interference in the election. Mueller cites probes by the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence and the FBI itself.
“Among other steps to obstruct the investigations, Stone “made multiple false statements to HPSCI about his interactions regarding Organization 1, and falsely denied possessing records that contained evidence of these interactions”, the special counsel’s office says, adding that Stone also “attempted to persuade a witness to provide false testimony to and withhold pertinent information from the investigations.”
The indictment also references an “online political commentator” and a “radio host” and contains this rather disconcerting passage about the Trump campaign:
After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC 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.
The special counsel details e-mails Stone exchanged with associates, including one exchange which found him instructing “Person 1” to “Get to [the head of Organization 1] [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [Organization 1] emails . . . they deal with Foundation, allegedly.” That’s obviously a reference to Assange.
Stone has repeatedly changed his story regarding what he knew about Wikileaks, the DNC and when.
“On or about the same day, Person 1 forwarded Stone’s email to an associate who lived in the United Kingdom and was a supporter of the Trump Campaign”, the indictment reads.
The full document is embedded below and if you read the above and come away thinking this isn’t the best news for Donald Trump at a time when the president is already struggling to fend off the Moscow Tower headlines, you would be correct.
One thing we know for sure is that Roger (and his Nixon tattoo) is in a whole lot of trouble and we’re about to find out whether his notorious balderdash and penchant for thumbing his nose at US law enforcement will hold up under pressure or whether he, like everyone else Mueller has turned the screws on, will fold up like a wet ostrich jacket.