Shouting “FBI, open the door,” authorities arrested Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, before dawn Friday in a criminal case that revealed that senior members of the Trump campaign sought to benefit from the release of hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton.
The seven-count indictment against Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” with a long history with Trump, is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller. Stone appeared at court in shackles later in the morning and was released on a $250,000 bond. He did not enter a plea.
The indictment provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates in the summer of 2016 actively sought the disclosure of emails the U.S. says were hacked by Russia, then provided to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. It alleges that unidentified senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.
The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked the emails. Instead it mirrors other Mueller cases in alleging cover-ups and deception, accusing Stone of lying to Congress about WikiLeaks, tampering with witnesses and obstructing the probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Kremlin to tip the election.
Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, prosecutors allege.
In referring to Trump campaign officials and their desire to leverage hacked emails, the criminal case brings Mueller’s investigation into the president’s inner circle but it does not accuse the president of any wrongdoing or reveal whether he had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks trove.
CNN aired video of the raid at Stone’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home, showing FBI agents in body armor using large weapons and night-vision equipment, running up to the home and banging repeatedly on the door.
“FBI open the door!” one shouts. “FBI, warrant!” Stone could then be seen in the doorway in his sleepwear before he was led away.
Though not uncommon for the FBI to make early-morning arrests of targets under indictment, it is the first time Mueller has used that tactic. Stone had been predicting his indictment for some time.
Hours later, he appeared in court in a blue polo shirt and jeans. In releasing him on the bond, Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow told Stone he could not travel outside of South Florida, Washington, and New York City and ordered him to avoid contact with witnesses.
Stone is the sixth Trump aide or adviser charged in Mueller’s investigation and the 34th person overall. The nearly two-year-old probe has exposed multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign and transition period and revealed efforts by several to conceal those communications.
Stone was one of Trump’s earliest political advisers, encouraging both his presidential runs. He briefly served on Trump’s campaign, but was pushed out amid infighting with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Stone continued communicating with Trump on occasion and stayed plugged into the circle of advisers — both formal and informal — who worked with and around Trump.
The indictment says Stone repeatedly discussed WikiLeaks with campaign associates and lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about stolen Democratic emails posted in the weeks before Trump beat Clinton. Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.
Updates to come as this story develops.