Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to US President Donald Trump, was arrested Friday under an indictment issued by the special counsel examining possible collusion with Russia.
Stone was charged with seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements and witness tampering, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
The indictment concerns Stone’s communications with with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose group leaked tens of thousands of stolen Democratic Party emails that embarrassed Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton in an apparent bid to influence the election.
It was the first indictment in months by the special prosecutor probing Russian efforts to tip the 2016 US election toward Trump and whether he and his people tried to obstruct justice.
FBI agents arrested Stone at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before dawn, and he is due in federal court there later in the day. His lawyer did not immediately respond to questions for comment.
Stone, who launched his career as a campaign aide to Richard Nixon and has a tattoo on his back of the first US president to resign from office, has spent decades advising various US political campaigns.
He was one of the first members of Trump’s team when the billionaire real estate magnate formally announced he was seeking office, but he left months later over a dispute.
The two men, however, remained in close contact, the indictment underlying that Stone “maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump Campaign through the 2016 election.”
– Ready to testify? –
Stone had previously said he was ready to face possible charges from Mueller’s team, and publicly taunted the special counsel, echoing Trump’s claims of a “witch hunt.”
“This was supposed to be about Russian collusion, and it appears to be an effort to silence or punish the president’s supporters and his advocates,” he told NBC’s “Meet The Press” in May.
“It is not inconceivable now that Mr Mueller and his team may seek to conjure up some extraneous crime pertaining to my business, or maybe not even pertaining to the 2016 election,” Stone said. “I would chalk this up to an effort to silence me.”
Stone has also previously insisted that he would never testify against Trump.
“There’s no circumstance under which I would testify against the president, because I’d have to bear false witness against him,” he told ABC’s “This Week” in December. “I’d have to make things up, and I’m not going to do that.”
Fox News commentator Sean Hannity appears to be knee-deep in Trump’s Ukraine scandal — despite his denials
Fox News host Sean Hannity raved that he never spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about ousted Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch after a third witness confirmed the alleged call to impeachment investigators.
David Hale, the undersecretary of State for political affairs, testified under oath that Yovanovitch was the victim of a baseless smear campaign led by Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney of President Donald Trump, which led to her ouster. According to a transcript of the closed-door deposition released Monday, the smears originally stemmed from the conservative columnist John Solomon, who wrote in The Hill that former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko had claimed that Yovanovitch gave him a “do not prosecute list.” Lutsenko later retracted that claim.
Will Sondland turn on Trump? Watch live coverage of Day 4 of the Trump impeachment hearings
On Wednesday the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold its fourth public impeachment hearing looking into allegations that President Donald Trump abused his office by attempting to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing an investigation that would benefit the president politically in return for releasing $400 million in much-needed security aid.
A historian explains why Robert E. Lee wasn’t a hero — he was a traitor
There’s a fabled moment from the Battle of Fredericksburg, a gruesome Civil War battle that extinguished several thousand lives, when the commander of a rebel army looked down upon the carnage and said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” That commander, of course, was Robert Lee.
The moment is the stuff of legend. It captures Lee’s humility (he won the battle), compassion, and thoughtfulness. It casts Lee as a reluctant leader who had no choice but to serve his people, and who might have had second thoughts about doing so given the conflict’s tremendous amount of violence and bloodshed. The quote, however, is misleading. Lee was no hero. He was neither noble nor wise. Lee was a traitor who killed United States soldiers, fought for human enslavement, vastly increased the bloodshed of the Civil War, and made embarrassing tactical mistakes.