Washington: Roger Stone, a confidant of US President Donald Trump, was arrested on Friday morning in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe. The seven-count indictment against Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster”, is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller and provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates were aware in the summer of 2016 that emails had been stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign and wanted them released.
It alleges unnamed senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when the stolen emails might be disclosed. The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them.
Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment. The indictment lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about stolen Democratic emails posted by WikiLeaks in the weeks before Trump, a Republican, beat Clinton.
Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers. It says the Trump campaign directed a senior campaign official to contact Stone after the July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and other groups.