Roger Stone, veteran Republican Party operative and a long-time confidant of President Donald Trump, has been indicted on seven felony charges in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Around 5 a.m. EST today, a group of well-armed FBI agents showed up at the 66-year-old Stone’s home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with an arrest warrant. And the charges include five counts of making false statements, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of witness tampering.
Here are some of the most shocking revelations in the indictment and arrest of Trump’s long-time ally.
Stone’s arrest was completely unannounced
Although journalists who have been reporting on Mueller’s probe have been predicting that Stone would be arrested at some point, the way in which he was arrested this morning nonetheless comes as somewhat of a shock. Other Trump associates who have faced felony charges in connection with Russiagate moreless turned themselves in at their convenience; the FBI didn’t show up unannounced in the wee hours. But Stone was the target of the type of pre-dawn arrest that occurs when FBI agents fear that valuable evidence could be destroyed. This was the type of arrest that takes place when the FBI wants to surprise suspects and catch them off guard.
Stone is accused of obstructing the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation
Mueller’s team aren’t the only ones who have been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; the House Intelligence Committee and the FBI, among others, have investigated the matter as well—in fact, they were doing so before Mueller launched his investigation in 2017. And Stone, in the indictment, is accused of obstructing the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation.
The indictment notes, “After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”), the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (“SSCI”), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) opened or announced their respective investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which included investigating STONE’s claims of contact with Organization 1.”
Organization 1 in the indictment is believed to be WikiLeaks
The indictment of Stone specifically mentions an organization that is identified as “Organization 1,” and Organization is widely believed to be WikiLeaks—a major target of Mueller’s probe. In 2016, a hacker who went by Guccifer 2.0 stole the e-mails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and those stolen e-mails were published online by WikiLeaks. Stone is suspected of knowing, in 2016, that the hacking had occurred and that the Democratic e-mails would be published online. Although Mueller believes that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian intelligence official based in Moscow, Stone has claimed that there is no proof that Guccifer was part of the Russian government.
The indictment of Stone states, “By in or around May 2016, the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (“DCCC”) became aware that their computer systems had been compromised by unauthorized intrusions and hired a security company (“Company 1”) to identify the extent of the intrusions…. On or about June 14, 2016, the DNC—through Company 1—publicly announced that it had been hacked by Russian government actors.”
Stone is accused of discussing WikiLeaks’ activities with ‘senior Trump campaign officials’ in 2016
The indictment of Stone states, “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.”
The head of ‘Organization 1’ is believed to be Julian Assange
The person described as the head of “Organization 1” in the indictment is widely believed to be WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. The indictment states, “By in or around June and July 2016, STONE informed senior Trump Campaign officials that he had information indicating Organization 1 had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. The head of Organization 1 was located at all relevant times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, United Kingdom.”
London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, of course, is where Assange has been seeking refuge. The indictment of Stone goes on to allege that in 2016, “STONE also corresponded with associates about contacting Organization 1 in order to obtain additional e-mails damaging to the Clinton Campaign.”