Ghoulish political operative Roger Stone was arrested by FBI agents early Friday morning, and now faces multiple charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.
According to Mueller’s 24-page indictment, Stone, an honest to god Batman villain and longtime confidante of Trump, has been charged with one count of obstruction, five counts of giving false statements to Congress, and one count of witness tampering. Last month, Mueller specifically requested Stone’s fall 2017 testimony before the House, foreshadowing Friday’s arrest.
Among the more telling allegations in Mueller’s indictment is the claim that during the 2016 election, Stone served as a de facto go-between for the Trump campaign and Wikileaks—a charge he has emphatically denied. However, per Mueller (emphasis mine):
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.
The indictment does not elaborate on who the campaign official was, or who was directing them to contact Stone.
The indictment also claims Stone actively encouraged a confidant to mimic an iconic scene from Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather: Part II, in order to confound the investigations into Trump.
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, whose political career began as an operative for President Richard Nixon (whose face Stone has tattooed across his back) has insisted that he would never turn on Trump. “There is no circumstance in which I intend to be pressured in order to testify against the president,” he told CNN last August.
Trump, for his part, lauded Stone’s refusal to flip as recently as this past December, praising his “guts” and insisting that any effort to turn Stone against him was the work of a “rogue and out of control prosecutor.”
Stone is set to appear in court at 11:00 a.m. on Friday.
Update, 5:03 p.m., ET: Stone has been released from jail on a $250,000 signature bond. Leaving the courthouse on Friday, Stone flashed Richard Nixon’s iconic double “victory” sign while crowds chanted “lock him up.”
Stone is scheduled to appear on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Friday evening. He will be back in court on Tuesday morning for arraignment.