Special counsel Robert Mueller has another notch in his belt. Richard Nixon-tattooed Roger Stone, professional “ratfucker” and long-time pal of President Donald Trump, has been arrested on seven counts including obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements, and one count of witness tampering. He was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he is expected to make a first appearance later today.
Stone has long been a target of Mueller’s investigation of the 2016 DNC hack, Russian military intelligence, WikiLeaks, along with individuals like right-wing author Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico, the alleged and denied intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Recall that the Washington Post reported in Dec. 2018 that Mueller asked the House Intelligence Committee for an “official transcript” of Roger Stone’s testimony. Legal experts opined that this suggested Mueller was ready to bring a charge related to testimony, which in turn suggested that false statements may be the charge:
One justification offered in the report for a possible false statements charge was that “if prosecutors want to bring a charge of lying to investigators, they must obtain a certified ‘clean’ copy from the transcriber or clerk who took the statement to present as an exhibit to a grand jury.”
Stone signaled that Mueller might be going after him for lies when he said “I don’t think any reasonable attorney who looks at it would conclude that I committed perjury, which requires intent and materiality.” It was also notable that Mueller has gotten many high-profile guilty pleas on the false statements charge. Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Michael Cohen would have something to say about that.
Corsi and Credico, with whom Stone communicated about WikiLeaks and Hillary Clinton dirt, have also been in the sights of the special counsel. Here is a timeline of Stone’s WikiLeaks statements and interactions with Corsi and Credico, just for reference.
Credico, after declaring he was no “rat,” eventually appeared before a Mueller grand jury. Credico, a radio host and comedian acquaintance of Stone’s, declined to be interviewed by Mueller voluntarily when approached, but things changed after he was subpoenaed. Corsi went public in advance of any indictment to accuse Mueller of trying to force him into lying about Stone and WikiLeaks in exchange for a plea deal. Since that time, Corsi hired Larry Klayman to be his attorney and filed a lawsuit against Mueller to the tune of $350 million. Mueller also subpoenaed Corsi to appear before the grand jury. He also complied with the subpoena.
Others connected to Stone who received subpoenas along the way included former aide Kristin Davis, the so-called “Manhattan Madam,” and former Stone aide Andrew Miller, who memorably resisted the subpoena by not showing up so he would intentionally be held in contempt. Davis met with Mueller’s team for a voluntary interview in August 2018.
Stone has consistently railed against the Mueller investigation as “frivolous word games,” “hairsplitting about semantics over nonmaterial matters,” “gotcha word games,” “perjury traps” and “process crimes.” Stone has also said Mueller is attempting to “frame” him.
“Robert Mueller is coming for me,” he said. Stone claimed to be on a “hit list” and later said in a text that Mueller “may frame [him] for some bogus charge […] to silence me or induce me to testify against the president.”
In recent months, a “series” of late-night phone calls allegedly made between then-candidate Donald Trump and then-adviser Stone during the 2016 presidential election campaign, “threatening emails” sent to Credico, and recordings were all reported as being on Mueller’s radar.
[Image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]