Roger Stone, a longtime ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, has been arrested by the FBI and charged with seven criminal counts connected to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Stone was taken into custody by FBI agents in a predawn operation on
January 25 at his home in the south Florida city of Fort Lauderdale.
CNN showed footage of an agent pounding on the door of Stone’s residence and shouting: "FBI. Open the door."
Stone, who served as an informal adviser to the Trump presidential
campaign, was charged with one count of obstruction of an official
proceeding, five counts of making false statements, and one count of
witness tampering, according to Mueller's office.
After a court appearance in Florida, Stone was released on $250,000 bond
and later declared his innocence in remarks to reporters outside the
He insisted he had been "falsely accused" of lying to the House of
Representatives Intelligence Committee and asserted that any incorrect
statements were not intentional.
He vowed continued support for Trump, adding that "I have made it clear
that I will not testify against the president, because I would have to
bear false witness against him."
The arrest came a day after Stone was indicted by a grand jury on the
seven counts, according to documents filed by Mueller’s office.
The indictment, which had been expected, does not accuse Stone of
coordinating with the Russian government's election interference in
2016, the key matter under investigation in the Mueller probe.
But it details Stone's discussions about stolen Democratic Party e-mails
posted by WikiLeaks in the weeks before Trump beat Democratic opponent
The indictment alleges that top members of the Trump campaign were in
contact with Stone and sought information on when damaging e-mails
related to Clinton would be made public. It did not disclose the names
of the "senior" campaign officials.
Mueller's office has said those e-mails, belonging to Clinton campaign
chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.
Trump denied any collusion or coordination by himself or his campaign
team with Russians during the campaign after U.S. intelligence officials
concluded that Moscow interfered in the election to benefit Trump and
hurt Clinton's chances.
In a Twitter statement following Stone’s arrest, Trump wrote: “Greatest
Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes,
Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN
to be there [at Stone’s arrest]?”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on January 25 said accusations
that Trump did anything improper were "ridiculous and insulting.”
"This [Stone's arrest] has nothing to do with the president and certainly nothing to do with the White House," she told CNN.
“[T]o accuse the president of the United States of asking someone to
break the law. That is, frankly, it's just insulting. It's just not
true," she added in a Twitter video posting.
Stone is among some 35 people to have faced criminal charges that stem
from Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016
One of the most prominent, Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign
chairman, was convicted in federal court in Virginia in August of bank
fraud and tax evasion connected to his work in Ukraine. He later pleaded
guilty in a separate case to two counts of conspiracy to avoid a second
trial in Washington, D.C.
At least 12 Russian intelligence officers have been indicated for their
roles in hacking into the Democratic Party and leaking stolen e-mails
and other information during the 2016 campaign.
They were identified as members of the Main Intelligence Directorate of
the Russian General Staff and are not in custody. Known as the GRU, the
directorate is one of Russia’s primary intelligence agencies.
In a case not directly related to the Russia probe, longtime Trump
lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making hush-money payments --
allegedly at Trump's direction -- to women who claimed to have affairs
with Trump to ensure their silence during his 2016 White House bid.
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