Trump associate Stone arrested, faces obstruction charge

Spencer Platt via Getty Images Roger Stone on the campaign trail
Spencer Platt via Getty Images Roger Stone on the campaign trail

29 January, 2019

Stone faces charges of tampering with witnesses and obstructing a House intelligence committee probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation to tip the election. While the arrest came as a part of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged collusion between Donald Trump and Russia, Stone stands accused of a bunch of process crimes.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrived at Stone's home in Fort Lauderdade, Florida early Friday to take him into custody, CNN said.

Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone will be arraigned in Washington, D.C., ON Tuesday, following his arrest in South Florida on Friday. In a separate interview with CNN, Stone said he's never been in touch with Trump about a possible pardon.

"Roger Jason Stone, Jr., 66, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was arrested in Fort Lauderdale today following an indictment by a federal grand jury on January 24, 2019, in the District of Columbia", a statement released by the Special Counsel states.

Stone, as a long-time ally of Trump, is one of the closest to the president to be arrested.

His staff also linked to a fundraising page for people to help Stone pay his hefty legal fees.

The indictment showed Stone using language evoking mob bosses - and even citing a "Godfather" movie - as he called an unnamed associate facing Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiries "a rat" and "a stoolie" in a series of profanity-laced messages. A person familiar with the investigation also tells CBS News' Pat Milton the FBI is executing a search warrant at Roger Stone's NY residence.

During Trump's elections campaign, Stone repeatedly boasted about having links to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, yet later backtracked on such statements.

How does he know Donald Trump? The campaign said at the time that Stone had been fired, but Stone maintained that he'd left on his own.

Now Roger Stone stands accused of obstructing a congressional inquiry and of witness tampering.

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Stone said he "categorically" had not destroyed or discarded communications devices, hard drives or other evidence.

The charges mark the first time the Trump campaign has been publicly tied to WikiLeaks by Mueller's team and add to pressure on the president as the newly installed Democratic majority in the House of Representatives plans to step up investigations of him.

After news of his old friend's arrest, President Donald Trump slammed the Russian Federation investigation once again on Twitter, calling it the "Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country!" "STONE was contacted by senior Trump campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1", the indictment reads. The almost two-year-old probe has exposed multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russian Federation during the campaign and transition period and revealed efforts by several to hide those communications.

He began his career working on Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election bid, and has a tattoo of the 37th president across his shoulder blades.

Widespread press coverage has focused on the indictment's allegation that one such campaign official was directed to contact Stone regarding allegedly stolen Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails which were eventually obtained and released by state secrets publisher Wikileaks.

"Roger is a stone-cold loser", Trump declared.

"That's a question I'll have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion", Stone told ABC's "This Week" when asked if he'd tell Mueller the truth.

The high-ranking official is Steve Bannon, Mr Trump's former campaign chairman, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The text message said "well done".

Roger Stone, a longtime political operative who was an official on the Trump campaign, is charged with 7 counts.

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