Roger Stone, a longtime GOP operative and associate of President Donald Trump, was arrested at his Florida home this morning following a grand jury indictment on one count of obstruction, one count of witness tampering, and five counts of providing false statements.
The last post on Stone’s website before his arrest declared that he was “Donald Trump’s last man standing.”
Stone acted as an official campaign adviser in the early phases of Trump’s 2016 campaign and maintained contact with associates surrounding the campaign well after he departed in late 2015. The indictment alleges that Stone lied to federal officials about his communications with senior Trump campaign officials about the release of John Podesta’s hacked emails by Wikileaks during the summer before the 2016 election.
In recent months, Stone has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, telling right-wing media allies in broadcasts that he was the target of a “witch hunt” because he supported the president. One month ago, he reassured Newsmax TV that he did not fear being indicted in the Mueller investigation. On January 21, he claimed that the Mueller investigation was a plot to invalidate the 2016 election, appoint House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the presidency and install Hillary Clinton as her vice president.
Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet, which features Stone as a frequent on-air personality, had spent recent months rhetorically brutalizing former Infowars Washington Bureau Chief Jerome Corsi, whom Infowars staff suspected of cooperating with Mueller after his ties to Stone ensnared him in the investigation, even as Infowars continued to pay Corsi $15,000 per month after his departure from his job with the site around June of last year. On January 2, Stone said that he believed Corsi was working for Mueller, describing Corsi’s alleged relationship with the Mueller team of being “treachery.”
Infowars is still going to bat for Stone this morning, as are his allies on the pro-Trump internet (many of whom he has mentored in their careers). Stone also received the support of those among the far-right, including the violent “Proud Boys” hate group, which he has hired as his personal goon squad at political events. Right-wing bloggers and pundits who cultivated relationships with Stone during the campaign began churning out conspiracy theories that allege that CNN and the FBI worked together during Stone’s arrest.
And this baseless theory that Mueller tipped off CNN is now being hyped in the banner of Drudge and is spreading through the right-wing media universe. pic.twitter.com/72OxhKCwmQ
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) January 25, 2019
By the time Stone appeared in court this morning, Trump had tweeted out the conspiracy theory.
Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2019
Stone told Infowars, “I intend to fight for my life. There [are] no circumstances under which I would plead guilty to these charges.”