Roger Stone’s Indictment Details Trump Campaign Collusion
After decades of helping to bring the dark underbelly of Republican politics to the mainstream, the self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” is having his time in the barrel. On Friday morning, FBI agents arrived at the house of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone. In a move indicating he may have been a flight risk, Stone was arrested at the scene. This makes Stone the sixth Trump associate to be charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in US democracy.
Mueller charged Roger Stone with seven counts. One count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to investigators, and one count of witness tampering. Although the crimes outlined by Robert Mueller are noteworthy, the most revelatory components of the indictment are the communications it details. This indictment confirms that members of Trump’s campaign at the highest levels were not only made aware of incoming dumps of stolen Democratic emails from Wikileaks, they sought out updates on the leaks and subsequently promoted them.
This is problematic given the fact the source for those stolen Democratic emails was the Russian government, as Mueller’s indictment outlines. This is far different how past candidates of integrity have behaved. When Al Gore was sent George W. Bush’s stolen debate prep book, he immediately turned it into the FBI.
Anyone who looked at Roger Stone’s Twitter feed in 2016 could’ve seen this indictment coming, given his apparent foreknowledge of the October leaks of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails.
Before we start dissecting the highlights of the indictment, let’s dive into the characters referenced in this indictment:
Person 1: Jerome Corsi, conspiracy theorist and one of Stone’s intermediaries to Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange.
Person 2: Randy Credico, radio host and one of Stone’s intermediaries to Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange.
Organization 1: Wikileaks
Head of Organization 1: Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange
Senior Trump Campaign officials: ?
Campaign official who directed a senior Trump campaign official to contact Stone: ?
The high-ranking Trump Campaign official in October: Steve Bannon (NBC has confirmed)
Reporter with connections to High-ranking Trump Campaign Official: Matthew Boyle, Political Editor at Breitbart News
Trump supporter in the UK: ?
You can read the full indictment here. What follows is a concise breakdown of the key takeaways.
What Are Roger Stone’s Crimes?
The obstruction of justice and witness tampering charges pertain to Stone’s withholding of documents from the House Intelligence Committee and attempting to influence the testimony of Person 2 (Randy Credico). The indictment is very detailed, including Stone’s a threat to Credico’s life and a Godfather 2 reference.
On multiple occasions, including on or about December 1, 2017, STONE told Person 2 that Person 2 should do a “Frank Pentangeli” before HPSCI in order to avoid contradicting STONE’s testimony. Frank Pentangeli is a character in the film The Godfather: Part II, which both STONE and Person 2 had discussed, who testifies before a congressional committee and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know.
Stone’s five counts of making false statements involve his communications about incoming email dumps from Wikileaks that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton and his contacts with the Trump campaign about those dumps. And this is where things get interesting.
What Did The Trump Campaign Know About Incoming Wikileaks?
It turns out, they knew quite a lot. After August 2015, Roger Stone was no longer involved in the Trump campaign in an official capacity and was desperate to help in any way he could. The indictment alleges:
During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials about Organization 1 and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1.
Notable that it says campaign officials, indicating it was more than one. The indictment goes on to specify numerous contacts between Stone and senior Trump Campaign officials.
By in or around June and July 2016, STONE informed senior Trump Campaign officials that he had information indicating Organization 1 had documents whose release would be 4 damaging to the Clinton Campaign. The head of Organization 1 was located at all relevant times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, United Kingdom.
And later on, the indictment alleges a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to reach out to Stone about those the incoming stolen email dumps from Wikileaks.
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. STONE thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1.
Two people likely with the power to direct a senior Trump Campaign Official would’ve been Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort (who has a long history with Stone at their political firm) or Donald Trump himself.
The indictment goes on to outline October contacts with a “high-ranking Trump Campaign official” reported to be Steve Bannon.
On or about October 4, 2016, the head of Organization 1 held a press conference but did not release any new materials pertaining to the Clinton Campaign. Shortly afterwards, STONE received an email from the high-ranking Trump Campaign official asking about the status of future releases by Organization 1. STONE answered that the head of Organization 1 had a “[s]erious security concern” but that Organization 1 would release “a load every week going forward.”
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.” In subsequent conversations with senior Trump Campaign officials, STONE claimed credit for having correctly predicted the October 7, 2016 release.
There’s also reference to a Breitbart reporter, which we can assume given his connection to the “high-ranking” official and you we know because of emails obtained by The New York Times.
Also on or about October 3, 2016, STONE received an email from a reporter who had connections to a high-ranking Trump Campaign official that asked, “[the head 9 of Organization 1] – what’s he got? Hope it’s good.” STONE responded in part, “It is. I’d tell [the high-ranking Trump Campaign official] but he doesn’t call me back.”
There is also mention of a Trump supporter involved with the campaign.
Later that day, on or about October 4, 2016, the supporter involved with the Trump Campaign asked STONE via text message if he had “hear[d] anymore from London.” STONE replied, “Yes – want to talk on a secure line – got Whatsapp?” STONE subsequently told the supporter that more material would be released and that it would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign.
There’s also a troubling exchange between Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi that further showcases how much Trump was hitting the same notes as Russian propaganda.
On or about August 2, 2016, Person 1 emailed STONE. Person 1 wrote that he was currently in Europe and planned to return in or around mid-August. Person 1 stated in part, “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.” The phrase “friend in embassy” referred to the head of Organization 1. Person 1 added in the same email, “Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC. That appears to be the game hackers are now about. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke – neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.”
Bottom line: The Trump campaign knew. Given Trump’s micro-managing leadership style, it’s hard to believe he didn’t know as well. This all fits into the bigger picture of Trump-Russia collusion. This all came after Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with Russian lawyer/informant Natalia Veselnitskaya and other Russian operatives on June 9, 2016 in Trump tower after being offered dirt on Hillary Clinton over email. Shortly after the convention in July 2016, Trump was briefed by senior FBI officials about Russia’s effort to infiltrate his campaign. This did not stop him from spreading their propaganda. Trump said the word “Wikileaks” at least 164 times in October 2016 and remained on message with Russia until the day he won. As we know, he governed in their favor thereafter.
Before indicted Roger Stone, Special Counsel Robert Mueller had already indicted 5 other Trump associates. Mueller also indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers (GRU) for hacking the DNC, DCCC, and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign during the 2016 election and leaking through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. This came after 13 Russian entities were indicted earlier in 2018 for their propaganda campaign. We’ve yet to see an indictment of Julian Assange or Wikileaks, but that is reportedly in the works. The evidence detailed in these indictments further bolstered the U.S. Intelligence Committee’s conclusion that Russia’s objective was to help Donald Trump become President Trump.
Mueller has established the underlying crimes on the part of the Russians. What’s next appears to be the indictment of any of the American co-conspirators who are currently unnamed. Some of the conduct outlined in this indictment might make its way into those potential charges.
One thing Stone’s indictment makes even more clear is the fact that Robert Mueller does not take lying to investigators lightly. Donald Trump Jr. should be very concerned.
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