Former-Advisor to President Trump Indicted
Roger Stone, a longtime political advisor to President Donald Trump, was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller on charges of obstruction, lying to Congress, and witness tampering on January 25.
Mueller alleges that Stone was in indirect communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange regarding emails stolen from John Podesta, the chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The indictment claims that Stone instructed commentator Jerome Corsi, referred to as “Person 1” in the indictment papers, to acquire Podesta’s emails from Assange.
This exchange was the beginning of communication among Trump’s 2016 campaign, Stone and his associates, and WikiLeaks. According to the indictment, this chain of communication extended, via WikiLeaks, to Russia’s military intelligence agency. The charges Stone faces revolve around his testimony to the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Stone announced that he would fight the charges in court and promised to tell the full truth about his communications with Trump. Stone has repeatedly reiterated that he will not testify against the president, saying that to do so would be “to bear false witness against him.” As Stone was making his remarks, a group of protesters chanted, “Lock him up, lock him up.”
Stone remarked, "If there's wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is I would certainly testify honestly.”
When asked if Trump would consider a pardon for Stone, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the question “ridiculous” but did not rule out the possibility that one might occur. Stone has claimed that he has never discussed a pardon with the president.
Stone’s arraignment on January 29 lasted approximately 15 minutes. After leaving the courtroom, Stone gave President Richard Nixon’s infamous victory sign with no verbal comment.
With Stone’s indictment, Mueller’s investigation has now charged 34 people with various criminal acts. Of those 34, only one other defendant, the Russian company Concord Management and Consulting, is attempting to fight the charges, while seven have so far pled guilty. The other 26 indicted Russian companies and individuals have yet to appear in U.S. court to discuss their charges.
Following Stone’s indictment, Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker said that Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is “close to being completed.” This announcement was delivered on January 28, the same day new bipartisan legislation was filed that would require Mueller to summarize his findings in a public report.