Panic and chaos are hitting the Trump administration this morning, after longtime Trump friend and campaign aide Roger Stone was arrested during an early-morning FBI raid on his home. New reporting shows that former Trump adviser Steve Bannon may also be implicated in the charges against Stone.
Speaking on CNN after Stone’s arrest, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the indictment and arrest of Stone had nothing to do with her boss.
CNN’s “New Day” tweeted the following exchange:
@JohnBerman: “Did the President direct someone to contact Roger Stone about stolen emails?”
@PressSec: “The specific charges that have been brought against Mr. Stone don’t have anything to do with the President.”
Berman: “We don’t know that, though.”
.@JohnBerman: “Did the President direct someone to contact Roger Stone about stolen emails?”@PressSec: “The specific charges that have been brought against Mr. Stone don’t have anything to do with the President.”
— New Day (@NewDay) January 25, 2019
Special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday night had obtained a 24-page indictment against Stone in Washington, alleging that Trump’s longtime friend committed numerous federal crimes due to his involvement with the president’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Mueller formally charged Stone with one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering, leading to this morning’s arrest.
CNBC reported that the detailed indictment describes communications between Stone and high-ranking campaign officials, including former campaign CEO Bannon. It alleges that Stone spoke often with top Trump campaign aides about his efforts to get published the Democratic emails stolen by Russian hackers. The emails, which were very damaging to Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton, were put on the internet by WikiLeaks.
Stone lied about his contacts with the Trump campaign to federal investigators and also during his testimony under oath before Congress.
CNBC’s report states that campaign CEO Bannon had reached out to Stone about using the stolen emails to help Trump get elected.
Emails published last year by the New York Times prove that there were numerous communications between Bannon, Breitbart’s Washington editor Matthew Boyle and Stone.
According to the Times:
“Mr. Bannon then contacted Mr. Stone directly, asking for insight into Mr. Assange’s plan. Notably, Mr. Stone did not tell Mr. Bannon anything that Mr. Assange had not said publicly. He did explain that Mr. Assange was concerned about his security, and he said in an interview that Randy Credico, a New York comedian and activist whom Mr. Stone has identified as his source about WikiLeaks, also gave him that information.”
Stone then reportedly asked Bannon to have wealthy GOP donor Rebekah Mercer send money to his political organization, which was structured to keep contributors secret.
Other than Sarah Sanders’ brief comments on CNN, the White House has issued no communications concerning the indictment and arrest of Stone.
It does appear, based on language in the indictment, that several senior officials in the Trump campaign, including possibly Donald Trump himself, were involved in the discussions and arrangements to get the stolen emails published by WikiLeaks to hurt Hillary Clinton.
Last fall we reported that Donald Trump was told by Stone about the WikiLeaks emails, thus possibly implicating the president in Stone’s crimes.
Make no mistake, the indictment and arrest of Roger Stone brings Robert Mueller a giant step closer to the White House, and it is likely that his next indictments might be directed to the president’s children, and possibly to Donald Trump himself.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.