Two more high-ranking Congressional Republicans are asking FBI director Christopher Wray to explain the bureau’s show of force when arresting Roger Stone, a longtime adviser and confidant of President Trump, last week at his Florida home.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the ranking member of the Government Operations Subcommittee, sent a letter to Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to request a briefing on the tactics employed during the raid. The letter also raised concerns about CNN’s “apparent advanced knowledge of the raid.”
“These raids are dangerous, and they pose serious risks to the officers, the arrestee and his family, and the community," the two lawmakers said in their letter. "Given Stone's advanced age and the nature of charges against him, as well as his statement that he would have surrendered voluntarily, it is unsettling that the Justice Department chose to use agents in full tactical assault gear to arrest Stone.”
The letter continues: ‘”[T]he presence and proximity of television news cameras during Stone's arrest raise questions about whether any Justice Department or FBI personnel alerted the media about Stone's imminent arrest.”
After his arrest, Stone said Friday, "At the crack of dawn, 29 FBI agents arrived at my home with 17 vehicles, with lights flashing, when they could have contacted my lawyer. But the FBI agents were extraordinarily courteous.”
The letter from Jordan and Meadows comes a day after Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, penned his own letter to Wray questioning the show of force in apprehending Stone and follows a public reprimand from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., of the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller during an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
"The bottom line is, this seems to me over the top, and I don't know what message was being sent," Graham told Fox News' "Hannity" Wednesday night. "But I personally didn't like it. You know, I've been a prosecutor, a defense attorney. It seemed to be sending the wrong message, that if you cross [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, look what's going to happen to you.
"Mueller, do your job," Graham added, "but these tactics are unacceptable given the level of threat here."
A growing chorus of Republican lawmakers and strategists have emerged to criticize the FBI over Stone's arrest.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie calling it “overkill” and a former FBI agent comparing it to a “pre-dawn ‘knock-and-announce’ arrest warrant of a meth lab somewhere in the United States.” Stone himself drew a parallel between the level of force displayed during his arrest and that used to capture alleged Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Stone on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to felony charges in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation after a publicity-filled few days spent slamming the probe as politically motivated.
The indictment does not accuse Stone of coordinating with Russia or with WikiLeaks on the release of hacked Democratic emails. But it does allege that he misled lawmakers about his pursuit of those communications and interest in them. The anti-secrecy WikiLeaks website published emails in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election that the U.S. says were stolen from Democrats by Russian operatives.
Mueller's team and lawyers with the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia are jointly prosecuting the case against Stone. They did not push for Stone to be jailed or for U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson to impose a gag order in the case.
Stone remains free on $250,000 bond.
Fox News' Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed reporting to this piece.