The special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted Roger Stone, a longtime Republican strategist who was an informal adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Mueller charged Stone with one count of obstruction, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering, according to a Justice Department filing on Thursday.
Stone was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday following the indictment, according to Mueller’s office.
“This country is literally run by a rogue prosecutor who has more power than the president,” he said in a statement relayed by his lawyer to his colleagues at the far-right conspiracy website Infowars.
At the center of Mueller’s investigation into Stone is the investigation into Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee, and WikiLeaks’ subsequent dissemination of stolen Democratic emails.
Stone previously testified under oath before Congress that he had communicated with WikiLeaks through intermediaries.
Thursday’s filing repeatedly referred to Stone’s contact with “Organisation 1,” believed to be WikiLeaks, which had “posted documents stolen by others” from the US government and citizens.
The filing said it “released tens of thousands of documents stolen from” people including the Democratic National Committee and the personal email account of the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Stone’s texts and emails, revealed
Mueller’s office also published correspondence between Stone, “Person 1,” and “Person 2.” Person 1 is believed to be Jerome Corsi, a far-right political commentator. Person 2 is believed to be the radio host Randy Credico, whom Stone referred to as his “intermediary” to the head of Organisation 1, during the 2016 campaign.
The messages clearly mentioned undermining the Clinton campaign via Organisation 1 (bracketed text appears in the indictment):
- On or about July 25, 2016, Stone sent an email to Person 1 with the subject line “Get to [the head of Organisation 1].”
- The body of the message read, “Get to [the head of Organisation 1] [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [Organisation 1] emails . . . they deal with Foundation, allegedly.”
- On or about the same day, Person 1 forwarded Stone’s email to an associate who lived in the UK, believed to be the political commentator Ted Malloch.
- On or about July 31, 2016, Stone emailed Person 1 with the subject line, “Call me MON.” The body of the email said Person 1’s associate in the UK “should see [the head of Organisation 1].”
- On or about August 2, 2016, Person 1 emailed Stone saying he was in Europe and planned to return in or around mid-August. Person 1 wrote, “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”
- 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 Foundation debacle.”
- “Starting in early August 2016, after receiving the August 2, 2016 email from Person 1, Stone made repeated statements about information he claimed to have learned from the head of Organisation 1,” the indictment said, citing four separate instances when Stone publicly alluded to his knowledge of WikiLeaks and communications with its founder, Julian Assange.
- “[The head of Organisation 1] has kryptonite on Hillary,” Person 2 said in a text message to Stone on August 27, 2016.
- “Please ask [the head of Organisation 1] for any State [Department, where Clinton worked] or HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] email from August 10 to August 30-particularly on August 20, 2011 that mention [the subject of the article] or confirm this narrative,” Stone said in an email to Person 2 on September 18, 2016.
- “Big news Wednesday … now pretend u don’t know me … Hillary’s campaign will die this week,” Person 2 said in a text message to Stone on October 1.
- Around October 4, 2016, Stone emailed a high-ranking member of the Trump campaign indicating that Organisation 1 would release “a load every week going forward.”
- On October 7, 2016, Organisation 1 released the first set of stolen Podesta emails. Shortly after the release, an associate of a high-ranking Trump campaign official sent Stone a text message that read “well done.”
The newly revealed text messages put Stone’s tweets during the summer and fall of 2016 in new context.
In one tweet that drew increased scrutiny, Stone wrote on August 21, 2016, “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel,” an apparent reference to Clinton’s campaign manager.
On October 1, he tweeted “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done” and “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon” on October 3.
Four days later, WikiLeaks released a trove of Podesta’s hacked emails.
Stone’s false statements
Thursday’s filing also said Stone deliberately obstructed investigations by the FBI, the House Intelligence Committee, and the Senate Intelligence Committee into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
It said this included making multiple false statements to the House Intelligence Committee “about his interactions regarding Organisation 1, and falsely denied possessing records that contained evidence of these interactions.”
He also “attempted to persuade a witness to provide false testimony to and withhold pertinent information from the investigations,” the indictment said.
It began as early as May 2017, when the House committee first sent a letter to Stone asking him to voluntarily testify before the panel.
On May 22, Stone said in a letter to the committee that he had “no documents, records, or electronically stored information, regardless of form, other than those widely available that reasonably could lead to the discovery of any facts within the investigation’s publicly-announced parameters.”
The indictment said that when Stone did appear before the panel, he “made deliberately false and misleading statements” regarding, among other things: his possession of documents relevant to the committee’s investigation; the source of his comments about WikiLeaks in early August 2016; the requests he made for information from Assange; and his communications with Credico.
Prosecutors said Stone also lied about “his communications with the Trump Campaign about Organisation 1.”
Mueller’s team pointed to Stone’s texts, emails, and other communications with Corsi, Credico, and Malloch in 2016 as proof that he misled the committee when he said he didn’t have any documentary evidence to aid their investigation.
Prosecutors also mentioned Stone’s messages to the high-ranking Trump campaign member on October 4, 2016, as proof that he had communicated with campaign officials about WikiLeaks.
The indictment also said Stone misled lawmakers about the timeline of his contacts with Credico and his public statements about WikiLeaks during the summer of 2016. It added that he never disclosed to the committee that he was also using Corsi as an intermediary between himself and WikiLeaks.
The document also said Stone lied to the committee when he was asked whether he discussed his communications about WikiLeaks with anyone on the Trump campaign, and he replied no.
“In truth and in fact … STONE spoke to multiple individuals involved in the Trump Campaign about what he claimed to have learned from his intermediary to Organisation 1,” the indictment said. It alleged:
- “On multiple occasions, STONE told senior Trump Campaign officials about materials possessed by Organisation 1 and the timing of future releases.”
- “On or about October 3, 2016, STONE wrote to a supporter involved with the Trump Campaign, ‘Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.’
- “On or about October 4, 2016, STONE told a high-ranking Trump Campaign official that the head of Organisation 1 had a ‘[s]erious security concern’ but would release ‘a load every week going forward.’
The New York Times reported in November that the former Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon was at least one of the people with whom Stone communicated about his contacts with WikiLeaks. According to The Times, Bannon was the recipient of Stone’s October 4 email predicting “a load every week going forward.”
Since he appeared before the committee in September 2017, Stone amended his testimony three times.
Stone’s alleged attempts to tamper with witness testimony
The indictment also details what it says were efforts by Stone to prevent witnesses from testifying in the Russia investigation.
It started in October 2017, when Stone sent Credico the letter he’d sent to the House Intelligence Committee that falsely identified him as Stone’s intermediary to WikiLeaks.
According to the indictment, Stone “urged” Credico to “falsely confirm” to the committee what Stone had testified to, including that it was Credico who was the basis for Stone’s claims about being in contact with WikiLeaks in early August 2016.
Prosecutors said Credico repeatedly told Stone his testimony was untrue and told him to correct it. Stone didn’t do so, the indictment said, and engaged “in a prolonged effort” to prevent Credico from contradicting his false statements.
Several media reports have detailed Stone’s apparent vitriol toward Credico, and the indictment detailed a series of text messages between the two men after Credico was asked to voluntarily testify before the House committee in November 2017.
- In one text, when Credico told Stone that his lawyer wanted to see him, Stone responded: “‘Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan’ . . . Richard Nixon.”
- Credico told the House Intelligence Committee on November 20 that he would be declining its request to testify.
- The next day, Credico texted Stone, “I wastold that the house committee lawyer told my lawyer that I will be getting a subpoena.” Stone responded, “That was the point at which your lawyers should have told them you would assert your 5th Amendment rights if compelled to appear.”
- On November 30, two days after Credico was subpoenaed and informed Stone of the fact, Stone asked Corsi to write a public post about Credico.
- Corsi replied, “Are you sure you want to make something out of 19 this now? Why not wait to see what [Credico] does. You may be defending yourself too much-raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries. This may be a time to say less, not more.”
- Stone replied, telling Corsi that Credico “will take the 5th-but let’s hold a day.”
Prosecutors also accused Stone of telling Credico on several occasions that he should do a “Frank Pentangeli” when appearing before the House Intelligence Committee.
Frank Pentageli is a character from the film “The Godfather: Part II” who testified before a congressional committee and claimed not to know critical information that he did know.
Prosecutors wrote that on December 1, 2017, Stone texted Credico saying he was “a fool” if he turned anything over to the FBI. When Credico responded and told Stone he needed to amend his testimony before Credico testified on December 15, Stone responded and urged Credico to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
“I guarantee you you are the one who gets indicted for perjury if you’re stupid enough to testify,” he texted Credico.
On December 12, Credico invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in part, prosecutors alleged, to prevent lawmakers from learning Stone had lied to him when he appeared before the committee.
Following Credico’s move, the indictment said, he and Stone texted back and forth frequently about the investigation and what Credico would turn over to investigators. During the course of their discussions, prosecutors wrote, Stone repeatedly tried to prevent Credico from being forthcoming with lawmakers and the FBI.
By SONAM SHETH, ALEXANDRA MA