Stone Indictment Raises Question Of Whether Trump “Directed” Campaign To Get Information On Hacked DNC Emails
More questions than answers arose Friday over the arrest of former Trump campaign associate Roger Stone. Specifically, the explosive 24-page indictment states that a senior Trump campaign official “was directed” to get in contact with Stone for more information from the organization that published emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election.
The paragraph causing all the commotion reads as follows: “After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen [Democratic National Committee] emails by Organization 1, a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton Campaign.”
Though the indictment leaves out exactly who gave the orders to pursue the stolen emails, the senior campaign official directed to go after them was most likely either Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, or his deputy Rick Gates, due to Manafort’s close ties to Stone and Gates at the time. Both Manafort and Gates, two of the earliest figures to be arrested, have since been charged with conspiracy against the U.S. and other crimes related to tax fraud in 2017.
The indictment from the special counsel also describes another encounter in October of 2016 ahead of another dump of additional damaging information regarding the Clinton campaign by WikiLeaks, between Stone and a “high-ranking Trump campaign official.” A text message by an associate of the official sent to Stone read “well done” following the release of more damaging information on Clinton, the high-ranking official was Steve Bannon, who later served as Trump’s top strategist.
The communications by Trump campaign officials and Stone during the October email dump is especially interesting due to its timing, just one hour after the Access Hollywood tape was released showing Trump making lewd and derogatory comments about women.
“On Oct. 7, the Access Hollywood tape comes out. One hour later, WikiLeaks starts dropping my emails,” John Podesta told Chuck Todd on Dec. 18, 2016. “One could say that those things might not have been a coincidence.”
The indictment references this “coincidence” stating that the conspirators “discussed the release of the stolen documents and the timing of those releases with Organization 1 to heighten their impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
Outside a federal courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday, Stone spoke to a crowd of protesters and reporters over chants of “Lock Him Up.” “I will plead not guilty to these charges,” he said, grinning apparently reveling in the attention. “I will defeat them in court, I believe this is a politically motivated investigation.”
Roger Stone tries to talk about how he is being falsely accused while the crowd chants, “Lock him up! Lock him up!” pic.twitter.com/SL2KQj5A5v
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) January 25, 2019