25, January 2019
US President Donald Trump’s longtime ally and presidential campaign adviser, Roger Stone, has been arrested over charges that he obstructed US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump election campaign and Russia before the 2016 US presidential election.
Stone was arrested Friday by FBI agents at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after being indicted by a grand jury on Thursday, according to Mueller’s office.
He was also charged with making false statements and witness tampering.
Stone, who has repeatedly said in interviews that he was likely to be indicted, is scheduled to appear at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale later on Friday, Mueller’s office said.
Stone has faced scrutiny for his support for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he suggested he had access to information obtained by hackers that could damage the campaigns of Democratic Party presidential candidates, including Trump’s rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton.
In the summer of 2016, WikiLeaks began publishing Democratic emails that Mueller has previously alleged were obtained by Russian government hackers in an effort to interfere with the presidential election and embarrass Clinton.
Stone “took steps to obstruct” investigations by intelligence committees in the House of Representatives and Senate into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, prosecutors said.
He also tried to persuade a witness to provide false testimony and withhold information from the congressional investigations, the indictment said.
The indictment goes to the heart of Mueller’s investigation and could pose serious risk to Trump.
In the indictment, Stone is alleged to have had advance notice that WikiLeaks would release personal email stolen from the account of Clinton election campaign chairman John Podesta.
Trump has repeatedly denied collusion with Russia and slammed the federal investigation as a “witch hunt.” Russia also has rejected any cooperation with Trump’s campaign.
US intelligence agencies say Moscow interfered in US politics in the 2016 election in an effort to boost Trump’s chances of winning the election.