Published: Sat, January 26, 2019
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

Russian Federation probe nets Trump ally Roger Stone

Russian Federation probe nets Trump ally Roger Stone

A self-described "agent provocateur" of the American right and Republican veteran of Washington and New York City politics, Stone has a tattoo of the face of late president Richard Nixon on his back.

Stone is now expected to appear in court on Friday afternoon. He says any error he made in his testimony wasn't intentional.

The indictment referred to an October 2016 email from the "high-ranking Trump Campaign official" asking Stone to inquire about future releases of emails by "Organisation 1".

Following his court appearance in Fort Lauderdale, Stone told reporters he would plead not guilty to all the charges against him and would not testify against Trump.

On Friday morning, President Donald Trump's campaign adviser Roger Stone was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Fort Lauderdale on charges of obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering by special counsel Robert Mueller, in connection with his attempts to cover up his involvement in coordinating between the Trump campaign and stolen Democratic Party emails that were published by WikiLeaks.

USA officials have repeatedly stated, and indeed this was the basis for launching the Mueller probe, that Russian intelligence agents were responsible for hacking Hillary Clinton's and other Democrats' email accounts and then giving them to WikiLeaks for public consumption. That fed questions about his Trump campaign contacts with WikiLeaks during the campaign and into possible coordination in disseminating the emails, which US intelligence officials say were stolen by Russian Federation.

It alleges that unidentified senior Trump campaign officials contacted Mr Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.

The indictment does not name the official or say who directed the outreach to Stone.

Stone has denied any wrongdoing, saying any misstatements he made were "immaterial and without intent".

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Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign and the 34th person overall.

The US House of Representatives can, at any point, start a process bringing charges against a civil officer of governments for crimes alleged to have been committed.

Stone is the sixth Trump aide or adviser charged by Mueller and the 34th person overall.

Stone has claimed to both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee he had no direct contact with WikiLeaks, but only via an intermediary, which he later identified as a radio host, Randy Credico. It describes "Organization 1" as an outfit that "had previously posted documents stolen by others from US persons, entities, and the USA government, released tens of thousands of documents stolen from the DNC and the personal email account of the chairman of the USA presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton", and that it is led by an individual who was "located at all relevant times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London".

Gates had a longtime business relationship with the campaign's chairman, Paul Manafort, who once ran a Washington lobbying firm with Stone.

"Categorically not, no. Absolutely not", Stone said. He left Trump's campaign in August 2015, but maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump campaign through the 2016 election. "The whole Russian Federation investigation is a distraction from the real crimes of the Clintons and the Obamas", Stone said. The process is not much different from a grand jury issuing an indictment.

While the indictment provides some new insight into the Trump campaign, it deals largely with what prosecutors say were Stone's false statements about his conversations with conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi and NY radio host Randy Credico.

The indictment filed on Friday include communications with others suggesting he may have had advance knowledge of plans by Wikileaks to release hacked emails.

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