In a pre-dawn raid that was conveniently taped by CNN, and has been broadcast ad nauseam since former President Donald Trump campaign manager and business associate was arrested at his Fort Lauderdale home by the FBI for process crimes related to Congressional investigations.
The seven-count indictment against Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller.
It provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates in the summer of 2016 were actively seeking to politically benefit from the release of hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It alleges that unnamed senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.
The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment.
The indictment was unsealed with the arrest.
What is interesting about this incident is multi-fold. The nation is in the midst of a partial government shutdown and FBI agents are not being paid. That agency took six cars of agents to make the arrest. CNN, the poster child for fake news, was on the spot to film the whole affair. The crimes in question are supposedly related to the Special Prosecutor probe on Russian collusion, but the crimes outlined in the indictment have nothing to do with working with the Russians.
It’s all very confusing.
Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign and the 34th person overall. The investigation has laid bare multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign and transition period and efforts by several to conceal those communications.
Well-known for his political antics and hard ball tactics, Stone has reveled in being a Washington wheeler-dealer dating back to the Nixon administration. He has also pushed several conspiracy theories and was an early and vocal supporter of Trump’s candidacy.
What comes of this arrest is yet to be revealed. Stay tuned as this story is bound to dominate the news cycle over the weekend.