As detailed by a previous Inquisitr report, longtime Republican operative and Donald Trump associate Roger Stone has been arrested by the FBI.
Stone’s Fort Lauderdale home was raided Friday following a grand jury indictment. The Trump associate was indicted in the District of Columbia on seven counts: five counts of false statements, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
According to the indictment, during the 2016 presidential campaign – between June and July of 2016 – Stone told “senior Trump campaign officials” about the stolen emails in possession of whistleblower organization WikiLeaks (“Organization 1” in the indictment). WikiLeaks released the first batch of Clinton emails on July 22, but the Trump campaign sought more, according to the indictment, which alleges that a senior Trump Campaign official was “directed” to contact Stone.
“A senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton campaign,” the indictment states, as per the New York Times.
The document leaves open the possibility that it was Donald Trump who had directed Stone to seek more damaging information, the NYT noted.
Roger Stone’s lawyer Grant Smith described the charges as “ridiculous,” adding that the case is, in fact, about a “minor charge” of giving false statements to the United States Congress. But it is not only Smith who is downplaying the accusations. In an interview with CNN broadcast today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders downplayed Stone’s arrest, stating that it has “nothing to do” with President Donald Trump, reported Vox’s Aaron Rupar via Twitter.
“This has nothing to do with president, and certainly nothing to do with the White House. This is something that has to do solely with that individual, not something that affects us in this building.”
After downplaying the importance of Roger Stone’s arrest and suggesting that it has nothing to do with Trump, Sanders went on to allege that a double standard is being applied, asking if the same standard would “apply to Hillary Clinton.”
Sanders downplays Stone's arrest: "This has nothing to do w/the president & certainly nothing to do with the White House. This is something that has to do solely w/that individual, not something that affects us in this building… will the same standard apply to Hillary Clinton?" pic.twitter.com/sRjHYZdr5k
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 25, 2019
WikiLeaks pointed out via Twitter that Stone’s indictment “reflects existing reporting” on Stone’s “attempts at braggadocio” in response to the organization’s announcements. The indictment, according to WikiLeaks, demonstrates that Stone had no “back channel” and was simply attempting to boast about his alleged connections.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 25, 2019
Donald Trump has continually denied any coordination with Moscow officials during the 2016 presidential election, describing Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference as a “witch hunt” on multiple occasions.