Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to President Donald Trump, was arrested by the FBI early Friday morning on criminal charges relating to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The indictment is the first in 2019 as Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians.
A political operative steeped in Washington’s dark arts, Stone has known Trump since at least 1980, according to the New York Times.
When Reagan won the presidency in 1980, Stone started a firm with Charlie Black and none other than Paul Manafort, who would later go on to become Trump’s campaign chairman and also play a key role in the special counsel’s investigation.
When Trump was considering a third-party run for the presidency in the lead-up to the 2000 election, Stone directed the exploratory committee.
At the time, Stone was an on-again-off-again adviser to Trump.
Still, Stone continued working with Trump and as the 2016 cycle drew closer, he was ready to jump in to help his friend start a presidential bid for real this time.
When Trump announced he would run for president in June of 2015, Roger Stone served as one of his top political strategists.
Trump initially announced he was firing Stone, but Stone soon disputed this, say he quit the campaign over controversial comments Trump made about Megyn Kelly.
But even though Stone no longer had an official role in campaign, his feud with Trump did not last long.
The special counsel’s indictment released on Friday furthers this by accusing Stone of giving information about WikiLeaks to the Trump campaign.
According to the indictment, Stone told “senior Trump campaign officials” about hacked emails that could hurt Clinton, and once emails were released on July 22, 2016, the Trump campaign wanted to know more.
“A senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton campaign,” the indictment says, referring to WikiLeaks.
“Stone thereafter told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1.”
The indictment does not accuse Stone of colluding with Assange or Russian officials, but it does say that, after the election, Stone lied to Congress to try to cover his actions.
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