Roger Stone, the colorful former longtime political adviser to President Trump, has been indicted on charges of obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's wide-ranging Russia collusion probe.
For months, Stone has warned that he could be indicted, saying in public he believed Mueller was investigating whether he had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks releasing hacked emails of Democrats during the 2016 campaign. Stone has repeatedly denied the accusation.
A spokesman for Mueller’s office said Stone, 66, was arrested in Fort Lauderdale on Friday morning after being indicted by a federal grand jury a day earlier. Video aired by CNN shows numerous FBI agents with guns banging on Stone’s door and demanding that he come outside -- something the president decried in a tweet.
"Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better," Trump tweeted. "Who alerted CNN to be there?"
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Friday, "This doesn't have anything to do with the president. It doesn't have anything to do with the White House."
And Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said, "The indictment today does not allege Russian collusion by Roger Stone or anyone else. Rather, the indictment focuses on alleged false statements Mr. Stone made to Congress.”
Stone, a self-described political dirty trickster who famously has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, will make an initial appearance later Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
The 24-page indictment alleges that Stone worked to obstruct the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election by making false statements to the committee, denying he had records sought by the committee and persuading a witness to provide false testimony.
The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks' release.
The indictment says Stone spoke to Trump campaign officials during the summer of 2016 about WikiLeaks and information the organization had that might be damaging to the Clinton campaign. It also says Stone was contacted by “senior Trump campaign officials” to inquire about future WikiLeaks releases of hacked Democratic emails.
During an appearance Wednesday night on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Stone insisted he would not turn on the president and cooperate with prosecutors, like former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
“No matter how much pressure they put on me, no matter what they say I will not bear false witness against Donald Trump,” Stone said. “I will not do what Michael Cohen has done and make up lies to ease the pressure on myself.”
In a tweet Friday, former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose emails were hacked, wrote that it was now "Roger's time in the barrel." That was a play on Stone's own words. Stone had tweeted cryptically before the Podesta emails were disclosed that it would soon be Podesta's "time in the barrel."
Stone served as an adviser to Trump for years before he ran for president. He left Trump’s campaign in August 2015, but maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump campaign through the 2016 election.
Mueller’s investigation, which was initially ordered to look into the 2016 election, has gone on for more than a year and half. It has expanded to probe financial crimes of Trump associates before the election, conversations Trump’s national security adviser had with the Russians during the transition and whether Trump obstructed justice with his comments and actions related to the probe.
Twenty six Russian nationals and three Russian companies have been charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election. But none of the Trump associates connected to Trump have been charged with crimes related to collusion.
Other convictions include: former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who both pleaded guilty to making false statements in 2017. Former campaign adviser Rick Gates in 2018 pleaded guilty and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted and later pleaded guilty in a separate financial crimes case dating back before the 2016 election.
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements in a case brought by Mueller in November. Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based lawyer, pleaded guilty to making false statements this year, and Richard Pinedo, a California man, pleaded guilty to identity fraud in 2018.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson, Catherine Herridge, John Roberts, Jennifer Bowman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.