January 25, 2019
Stone allegedly made multiple attempts to contact Wikileaks via intermediary about hacked Democratic emails

Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to Donald Trump, has said he will not testify against the president after he was arrested by the FBI on Friday morning and indicted on seven criminal charges.
Stone, a veteran Republican operative, appeared in federal court in Fort Lauderdale charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering. He was released on $250,000 bail and denies wrongdoing.
Mueller alleged in a long-anticipated indictment that Stone, 66, was asked by Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to get inside information about emails that were stolen from Democrats by Russian government hackers and passed to WikiLeaks.
A senior campaign official “was directed” to tell Stone to find out what damaging information WikiLeaks had about Hillary Clinton even after it was reported that the material being published by the group came from Russia, the indictment said.
The allegations were the first to connect Trump’s campaign to the explosive release of the emails stolen by Russian operatives. Their release disrupted Clinton’s campaign and led the Democratic party’s chairwoman to resign.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia’s interference was aimed at damaging Clinton’s campaign and helping Trump. Mueller is investigating whether any Trump associates coordinated with the Russian effort.
Appearing outside the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale after his hearing, Stone smiled and said he would resist pressure from Mueller to turn on Trump. “I will not testify against the president because I would have to bear false witness,” he said.
The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, repeatedly declined to say if the order for Stone was given by Trump himself. Sanders claimed the charges against Stone, an early adviser to Trump’s campaign, had “nothing to do with the president”.
But Dianne Feinstein, a senior Democratic senator, noted that the phrase “Trump campaign” appeared 24 times in Stone’s indictment. “It’s time for President Trump and his top aides to be truthful with the American people,” Feinstein said.
Mark Warner, the Democratic vice-chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said the new charges showed Stone’s activities “happened at least with the full knowledge of, and appear to have been encouraged by, the highest levels of the Trump campaign”.
Stone shuffled into court at 11am shackled at the waist and hands. Dressed in a blue polo shirt and jeans, he appeared disheveled after his 6am wake-up call from the FBI. Protesters gathered outside the courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale, some booing and waving “Impeach Trump” placards.
The indictment, which was issued in Washington DC, alleged that in June or July 2016, Stone told senior Trump campaign officials that he knew WikiLeaks had damaging information on Clinton.
Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, first publicly hinted that the group had information to release on Clinton on 12 June, in an interview on British television. Two days later it was first reported that Russia had hacked Democratic computer systems.
Mueller said that after WikiLeaks began publishing the first leaked Democratic emails on 22 July, Stone repeatedly attempted to get to WikiLeaks through intermediaries, and then “told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material”.
First he sent emails urging Jerome Corsi, a rightwing commentator, to get their mutual friend Ted Malloch, a London-based academic, to visit Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up for more than six years. Corsi sent back what he said was inside information.
Then Stone began messaging with Randy Credico, a friend and eccentric radio host who had his own connections to WikiLeaks.
Mueller said that on 1 October 2016, Credico told Stone that there would be “big news” from WikiLeaks later that week. “Now pretend you don’t know me … Hillary’s campaign will die this week,” he said.
On 7 October, WikiLeaks began publishing emails stolen from John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s campaign.
Mueller said on Friday that soon after the first Podesta emails were published, an associate of Trump’s campaign boss Steve Bannon sent a text message to Stone that said: “Well done.” Stone took credit for passing on inside information in later talks with senior Trump campaign staff, Mueller said.
Although Stone did not hold an official position for much of Trump’s 2016 campaign, he is perhaps the president’s longest-serving informal political adviser, stemming from a close association in New York spanning more than a decade.
Stone has attracted intense scrutiny from Mueller and other investigators, after a tweet and other public statements he made in the summer of 2016 indicated that he had knowledge the emails stolen from Podesta would soon be released. Late last year he predicted he would be indicted.
“Robert Mueller is coming for me,” Stone wrote to supporters in August. Stone denied wrongdoing and said he faced legal peril simply because he had advised Trump for several decades.
A self-proclaimed “dirty trickster”, Stone has been a controversial figure in Republican political circles stretching back to the 1970s, when he worked on Richard Nixon’s notorious committee for re-election. He has a tattoo of Nixon’s face on his back.
The indictment also said Stone made false statements when questioned by the intelligence committee of the House of Representatives. When asked if he had no emails or other communications relating to WikiLeaks and the hacked Democratic documents, Stone allegedly said: “That is correct. Not to my knowledge.”
In fact, the indictment said, Stone “sent and received numerous emails and text messages during the 2016 campaign in which he discussed” WikiLeaks, Assange, and their possession of hacked emails.
It was Stone who first recommended that Trump’s team hire as its campaign manager Paul Manafort, his former business partner. Manafort has since been found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes and is said to have breached a plea agreement with the special counsel.
Manafort made his first court appearance in months on Friday as prosecutors and defence lawyers argue over whether he intentionally lied to investigators.
Mueller’s team say Manafort repeatedly lied to them even after he began cooperating last September. Manafort’s lawyers say he simply forgot some details.
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