Donald Trump associate Roger Stone arrested, according to reports


It was the first move in months by the special prosecutor probing Russian collusion in the 2016 United States election and whether Trump and his people tried to obstruct justice.

Days after his indictment, a defiant Roger Stone continued his media blitz Sunday, defending himself against charges of lying to Congress and witness intimidation. Stone told the Fort Lauderdale assembly, "I am one of [Trump's] oldest friends". He did not enter a plea.

"I will plead not guilty to these charges", he said after flashing the President Nixon V-signs. "Open the door", CNN said.

"The indictment was not unexpected, but it is still significant because it alleges coordination between the Trump Campaign and WikiLeaks", said Barbara McQuade, a former US Attorney for the Eastern District of MI.

It alleges that an unidentified senior Trump campaign official was "directed" to keep in contact with Stone about when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.

Stone said the raid was an "overreach" by Mueller, and was concerned about the impact it had on his wife and his dogs.

Instead the prosecution mirrors other Mueller cases in alleging cover-ups and deception, accusing Stone of lying to lawmakers about WikiLeaks, tampering with witnesses and obstructing a House intelligence committee probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation to tip the election. Special Counsel Mueller reportedly asked for a transcript of that appearance in December.

The indictment reflects a case built nearly entirely on piecing together numerous statements, e-mails, text messages and interviews by Stone over the past two years, then comparing some of those to testimony he reportedly gave before a House of Representatives committee in September 2017 and concluding - surprise! - that there appear to be conflicting statements. "What about the fake and unverified 'dossier, ' a total phony con job, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary to damage me and the Trump campaign?"

Armed FBI agents showed up at the door of Stone's Fort Lauderdale home just before 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning and led him away in handcuffs. Fortunately for Giuliani and Trump, Stone, using mob-speak, has said he will "never roll on Donald Trump".

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Though not uncommon for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to make early-morning arrests of targets under indictment, it's the first time Mueller has used that tactic.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the Stone indictment was unrelated to the president.

Hours after his arrest, Stone appeared in court in a blue polo shirt and jeans.

Stone has publicly denigrated the Mueller investigation and echoed the president's descriptions of it as a witch hunt.

Stone is also accused of witness intimidation tactics to sway the testimony before Congress of radio host Randy Credico, who was in contact with Assange in 2016.

A self-described "agent provocateur" of the American right and Republican veteran of Washington and New York City politics, Mr Stone has a tattoo of the face of late president Richard Nixon on his back.

Those people include former close associates of Trump such as his one-time lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as well as 12 Russian intelligence officers.

"As I have always said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about", Stone said to reporters and the raucous crowd heckling him. Mueller has indicted several Trump-campaign associates but has not charged anyone for colluding with Russian Federation.

Stone is the sixth Trump associate charged by Mueller, joining a cast of Trump's former national security adviser, his campaign chairman, his former personal lawyer and two other campaign aides.