UPDATED with Roger Stone presser: “As I have always said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about,” Roger Stone said outside federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida following his arrest in a pre-dawn FBI raid on his house.
“After a two year inquisition, the charges today relate in no way to Russian collusion, Wikileaks collaboration or any other or any other illegal act in connection with the 2016 campaign,” Stone said, as a rowdy crowd engaged in competitive yelling, with some shouting “Lock Him Up!” while others hollered “We’ve Got Your Back Roger!” and USA!”
“I am falsely accused of making false statements during my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. That is incorrect. Any error I made in my testimony would be both immaterial and without intent,” Stone insisted.
“This morning at the crack of dawn, 29 FBI agents arrived at my home with 17 vehicles, with their lights flashing, when they could simply have contacted my attorney and I would have been more than wiling to surrender voluntarily,” he blasted. The agents needlessly terrorized his wife and his dogs, he charged, while adding, “I have to say, the FBI agents were extraordinarily courteous.”
CNN, which was present at the time of the arrest, put the number at about a half dozen police vehicles, with lights flashing but no sound, that pulled in front of Stone’s home, from which about a dozen FBI agents emerged, “wearing tactical vests and with large weapons.”
At his courthouse presser, Stone said stoutly, “I will plead not guilty to these charges. I will defeat them in court,” and that he believes it to be a “politically motivated investigation.”
Maybe knowing President Donald Trump would be watching the TV spectacle, Stone added, “As I have said previously, there is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the President, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself. I look forward to being fully and completely vindicated.
As Stone walked away he turned, threw both his arms into the air and flashed Nixonian-farewell V’s with his hands.
Previous: “This has nothing to do with the President and certainly nothing to do with the White House,” President Donald Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said after FBI’s pre-dawn arrest of longtime Trump ally/former campaign adviser Roger Stone.
“This is something that has to do solely with that individual and not something that affects us her in this building,” she said from the White House lawn.
“Roger Stone has been a consultant for dozens of Republican presidents, candidates and members of Congress,” Sanders said. “Conversations between those individuals have nothing to do with what these charges are about and that’s about whether he made false statements.”
Asked if, as a member of Trump’s campaign, she had been aware of any effort to get in touch with Wikileaks, Sanders shot back. “I was a member of the campaign. That’s why I know…there was no collusion and no wrongdoing.”
Similarly, Stone’s attorney Grant Smith issued a statement asserting “They found no Russian collusion or they would have charged him with it,” saying his client is “vindicated by the fact there was no Russian collusion. “
Stone received no materials from Wikileaks ahead of public release, Smith said in the statement, and Stone’s misstatements were “due to forgetfulness” and were “immaterial.”
Meanwhile, Kristin Davis, who shared a New York City duplex with Stone, reported getting a call at 6 AM from FBI to let her know they had a search warrant for that residence and were on the way.
Stone becomes the sixth Trump associate charged in the Russia probe, joining Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, and George Papadopoulos.
Previous: TV news operations trashed their Friday morning lineups when Roger Stone was taken into custody early today. Stone was not given the chance to turn himself in: CNN had “exclusive” footage of the FBI nabbing him, pre-dawn, at his Florida home.
President Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser was indicted on seven counts by a grand jury out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office. The indictment says Stone sought stolen emails in coordination with Trump campaign bigwigs.
That hefty indictment includes one count of witness tampering, one count of obstruction, and five counts of making false statements.
In the pre-dawn maneuver, law enforcement vehicles with lights flashing pulled in front of Stone’s Ft. Lauderdale home around 6 AM ET, CNN reported with video. About a dozen officers with heavy weapons and tactical vests fanned out across Stone’s lawn.
shined a flashlight into Stone’s front door and one officer knocked, shouting “FBI! Open the door!” Seconds later, the officer added: “FBI. Warrant!” CNN described. A second-floor light turned on; Stone appeared at the front door moments later, CNN added.
In October, the Washington Post reported Mueller was taking a long, hard look at Stone, Wikileaks and possible links to the Trump campaign.
Mueller’s office said in a statement that a senior Trump campaign honcho contacted Stone after the July 22, 2016, release of stolen DNC emails by “Organization 1” – aka Wikileaks – to inquire about additional releases and other damaging information Wikileaks might have on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Citing an unnamed source, CNBC reported Friday morning that the previously unnamed senior Trump official was Steve Bannon.
Back in December, Trump tweeted praise of Stone after he said he would never testify against POTUS. “Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’,” Trump crowed:
As part of a settlement, Stone agreed to buy newspaper ads and publish a statement on his Facebook and Instagram accounts apologizing to Guo Wengui for falsely claiming the Chinese businessman had been convicted of financial crimes and violated U.S. election law by making political donations to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“All of these statements are not true,” Stone acknowledged as part of the settlement first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Stone acknowledged that he should have done his own research, and instead he relied on information from former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg.
In an interview with the Journal, Guo claimed Stone had been paid to make false claims about him on Alex Jones’ InfoWars, identifying Chinese-American media tycoon Bruno Wu as the source. Stone, in his statement, identified Wu as the “apparent source” of the false information.