Indictment Against Trump Advisor Points Evidence Toward President
The indictment Friday of political advisor Roger J. Stone alleges a pattern of lies that casts serious doubt on the credibility of President Donald Trump.
It accuses Stone of falsely telling Congress that he did not inform Trump campaign officials about his efforts to dig up negative information on former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by contacting Wikileaks.
Wikileaks, an investigative journalism website, released emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman in 2016 that implied she abused her authority as the former Secretary of State.
When the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigated a year later, Stone allegedly engaged in witness tampering by asking a radio talk show host who arranged the meeting with Wikileaks to cover up the details.
“‘Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan … Richard Nixon,” Stone allegedly wrote the witness, Randy Credico, in an email.
After Credico testified truthfully about Stone using the radio talk show host as an intermediary in discussions with Wikileaks, Stone allegedly sent him messages calling him a “rat” and a “stoolie.”
Stone told the committee that he never asked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for specific damaging information about Clinton, but the Justice Department indictment says he lied.
He also lied when he denied sending text messages and emails about his contacts with Wikileaks, prosecutors say.
One of Stone’s emails to Credico quoted in the indictment says, “Please ask [Julian Assange] for any State or HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton) email from August 10 to August 30…”
The indictment and arrest of Stone resulted from the ongoing investigation of Trump’s alleged “collusion” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian government is accused of trying to influence the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor, partly through use of social media that criticized Clinton but praised Trump.
In addition, U.S. intelligence officials say the emails critical of Clinton were stolen by Russian intelligence agents after hacking the Democratic National Committee.
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller also is investigating allegations Trump was negotiating with the Russian government to build a large hotel in Moscow even while he ran for president.
The indictment against Stone does not directly implicate Trump but leaves little doubt that he is under suspicion.
“After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen [Democratic National Committee] emails by [Wikileaks], a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information [Wikileaks] had regarding the Clinton Campaign,” the indictment says. “Stone thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by [Wikileaks].”
Stone was charged with seven criminal counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statement and witness tampering.
He was arrested by the FBI at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday morning and made a first appearance before a federal judge in the city. The trial is scheduled to be heard in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
During an interview Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” television talk show, former CIA Director John Brennan predicted more indictments within 60 days, including “a significant number of names that will be quite familiar to the average American.”
Brennan said the Mueller investigation already has demonstrated collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. The only remaining question is how high in the organization the wrongdoing will reach.
He said investigators will make “the determination about whether what they did crossed that threshold from collusion — which I think is quite evident — to criminal conspiracy.”
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