Federal agents stormed Roger Stone’s Florida home before dawn Friday, arresting the longtime Republican strategist on charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Meanwhile, officials were spotted seizing materials from Stone’s apartment in Manhattan.
A federal grand jury convened by Mueller indicted Stone on seven counts relating to communications with WikiLeaks, the Russia-connected outfit that released material stolen in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee servers.
Stone, an eccentric veteran of several Republican presidential campaigns, was instrumental in President Donald Trump’s early campaign effort. He continued to serve as an informal adviser to the Trump campaign after departing in August 2015, and is known to have the ear of the president.
According to the indictment, Stone spoke with unnamed “senior Trump campaign officials” about materials WikiLeaks had that could be damaging to the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The 24-page indictment accuses Stone of obstructing investigations by congressional intelligence committees and the FBI, making false statements and tampering with a witness.
Here are some of the indictment’s wildest parts:
Stone evoked “The Godfather Part II” as he pressured someone else with knowledge of the WikiLeaks hack to lie to Congress.
According to the indictment, Stone worked hard to prevent an unnamed individual ― referred to as Person 2 in the indictment but identified through context as radio host Randy Credico ― from contradicting testimony that Stone gave before the House intelligence committee in September 2017. Stone lied to the committee about discussions he had about WikiLeaks’ DNC hack, the indictment says, and the committee wished to speak to Credico two months later.
The two men apparently discussed a scene from “The Godfather Part II” in which the mobster Frank Pentangeli pretends to be ignorant of certain information.
From the indictment:
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.
... He also suggested emulating Richard Nixon.
When Credico texted Stone about the House intelligence committee’s request for voluntary testimony in November, Stone, who worked for Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, quoted his former boss.
He wrote: ”‘Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan’ ... Richard Nixon.” When Credico told Stone that he was facing a subpoena, Stone pressed him to assert his 5th Amendment rights ― and he did.
In related news, many photos of Stone’s Nixon back tattoo emerged Friday on Twitter.
And Stone threatened a dog.
The relationship between Stone and Credico subsequently took a downward turn, with Stone threatening the radio host’s dog, Bianca.
“Prepare to die,” Stone wrote.
From the indictment:
On or about April 9, 2018, STONE wrote in an email to Person 2, “You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds.” STONE also said he would “take that dog away from you,” referring to Person 2’s dog. On or about the same day, STONE wrote to Person 2, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die [expletive].”
A Trump campaign official “was directed” to get in touch with Stone about the hack.
The indictment does not name specific Trump campaign officials or suggest what Trump himself may have known about Stone’s connection to WikiLeaks. But if an already “senior” official “was directed” to contact Stone, few would presumably have the authority to do such directing.
The Trump campaign was very interested in what WikiLeaks may have mined from DNC servers.
From the indictment:
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.
Someone with knowledge of the DNC hack suggested putting out the message that Clinton was “old, memory bad, has stroke.”
In early August 2016, another person who knew about the WikiLeaks hack, referred to as Person 1, emailed Stone to say that the group planned two more information dumps. Right-wing author and birther conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi told MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Friday that the indictment referred to him.
“Impact planned to be very damaging,” Corsi wrote, suggesting the Trump campaign push the idea that Clinton was in bad health. Trump himself peddled doubts about his opponent’s health on the campaign trail, fueling a right-wing conspiracy theory.
Ryan Goodman, former special counsel to the general counsel of the Department of Defense, said on Twitter that the idea could have “significant” legal implications if it could be used to show coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.
From the indictment:
Person 1 added in the same email, “Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed w 5 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 [Clinton] Foundation debacle.”
The day Stone swore he had not texted or emailed with “Person 2,” the two men exchanged 30 texts.
According to the indictment, the very day Stone testified before the House intelligence committee that he never sent or received written communications with Credico, the pair “exchanged over thirty text messages.”
This article has been updated to include Randy Credico’s name as Person 2.
Clarification: Language in this story has been amended to clarify that WikiLeaks did not itself hack the servers of the DNC but released the material stolen in that hack.