On the day that former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone was indicted, one of the strange subplots was that a CNN crew was present for the raid, shooting video that was soon on the air and posted on Twitter. Not only have arrests related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe not usually come in the form of pre-dawn raids, but they haven’t been captured on camera by the news media, either.
This has led to speculation that the special counsel’s office or the FBI had tipped off the news network about Stone’s arrest, but according to CNN, that’s not what happened.
CNN reporter David Shortell was there, and according to one of his colleagues, this was not because of a tipoff straight from the FBI or Mueller’s office, but rather because he had noticed patterns with Mueller’s grand jury that indicated to him that something was up.
“Our reporter on the scene
@davidgshortell reported on air that there was unusual grand jury activity yesterday so decided to stake out — a decision any other reporter/outlet could have made,” CNN political correspondent MJ Lee said on Twitter Friday.
Lee’s tweet was in response to speculation by former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, who alleged in a single tweet both that the “FBI obviously tipped off CNN” and “Mueller’s office tipped off CNN.” (The FBI and special counsel’s office are not one and the same.)
The footage, which has aired on CNN and other networks throughout the morning on Friday, was dark and not especially clear, but it did show a significant FBI force arriving at Stone’s home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Stone coming to the door to receive them.
Stone’s indictment was not exactly a surprise, as Stone himself had stated on more than one occasion in the last year that he expected to be indicted, per the Guardian.
“FBI. Open the door.”— CNN (@CNN) January 25, 2019
Watch exclusive CNN footage of the FBI arresting longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. Stone has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. https://t.co/5QHKDB2mfA pic.twitter.com/UeKo7CmXWo
Stone, a longtime political fixer who was first a formal and then informal advisor to the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, was indicted on seven counts, which include obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements. The indictment alleges that Stone sought material damaging to Hillary Clinton that had been supposedly stolen by Russian hackers and transmitted to Wikileaks, and that Stone attempted to influence the testimony of Randy Credico, his friend and go-between with Wikileaks.
The FBI has also searched another Stone residence in New York City.
CNN also noted Friday morning that the FBI agents who carried out the raid are presently working without pay due to the government shutdown.