President Donald Trump Confidant the longtime Republican political operator Roger Stone has been arrested in Florida after being indicted on seven counts including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements in connection with the Russian attack on the 2016 election.
The indictment, issued by a grand jury impaneled by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, is the first to charge an American in connection with one of the best-known aspects of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election: the theft and release of emails that embarrassed political targets including significant figures in the Democratic Party.
In the the court document, the special counsel’s office alleges that Stone was in regular contact both with WikiLeaks, listed as “Organization 1,” and the Trump campaign during critical times around the release of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and a top Clinton campaign official.
“After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by Organization 1, 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.
“Stone thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1,” the indictment also says.
Stone told the Trump campaign that WikiLeaks had more ammunition for use against Democrats, prosecutors allege.
Just weeks before election day, on October 4, 2016, WikiLeaks was set to make a major announcement that wound up being a bust. The indictment describes people connected with the Trump campaign — including a senior official — reaching out to Stone to ask what happened.
Stone reassured them that WikiLeaks would come through and the material it released next would be damaging to Hillary Clinton, prosecutors write. Then, three days later, at a particularly dark moment for the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks released the first of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails.
“On or about October 7, 2016, Organization 1 released the first set of emails stolen from the Clinton campaign chairman. Shortly after Organization 1’s release, an associate of the high-ranking Trump campaign official sent a text message to STONE that read ‘well done,’ ” the indictment says.
“In subsequent conversations with senior Trump Campaign officials, Stone claimed credit for having correctly predicted the October 7, 2016 release,” the prosecutors continued.
Stone is scheduled to make an initial appearance at 11 a.m. at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
You can read the full indictment below:
The Criminal Charges and the indictment are devastating for President Donald Trump and his inner circle as more evidence emerges that Trump campaign’s orbit colluded with Russian’s election interference.