Takeaways from indictment of Donald Trump adviser

The 24-page, seven-count indictment against Roger Stone accuses the longtime Donald Trump adviser of making false statements, witness tampering and obstruction in an alleged attempt to throw off investigators regarding his communications with the Trump campaign over WikiLeaks’ dissemination of stolen emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign. 

While it does not mention WikiLeaks by name, referring to the group instead as “Organization 1,” the indictment makes clear that the outfit, headed by Julian Assange, is at the heart of the case.

Here are the top takeaways from the full indictment:

Connecting the dots: From WikiLeaks to Trump campaign 

Much of the background involves his alleged efforts to find out the timing and content of the stolen emails and refers to Assange by description as the individual holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London during the height of the furious exchanges.

The grand jury indictment, released by special counsel Robert Mueller, refers repeatedly to Stone’s alleged interaction with senior Trump campaign officials to keep them posted on the content of stolen emails and the timing of their release.

It charges specifically that Stone, a personal friend of Trump and a Republican operative dating to the Richard Nixon era, was “contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1” (WikiLeaks) in the summer of 2016. 

“On multiple occasions, Stone told senior Trump Campaign officials about materials possessed by (WikiLeaks) and the timing of future releases,” the indictment says.

At one point, Stone purportedly gets an email from a person described as a “high-ranking Trump Campaign official” asking about the status of future releases. Stone replies that he expects WikiLeaks to release “a load every week going forward.”

At another point, in a text with a supporter involved with the Trump camp, Stone asks if the person wants to switch to a “secure line” such as Whatsapp.

After the first release of emails in October 2016, an associate of the high-ranking Trump official sent a text to Stone that read: “Well done.” 

The charges involve Stone’s alleged response to the opening of investigations by Congress and the FBI into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, including looking into Stone’s claims of contact with WikiLeaks.

“In response, Stone took steps to obstruct these investigations,” the indictment charges. 

How Stone allegedly obstructed probe 

The indictment accuses Stone of making “multiple false statements” to Congress and an attempt to persuade a witness to provide false testimony and withhold “pertinent information” from the investigation.

It alleges that Stone periodically directed other individuals to get in touch with WikiLeaks, and Assange, who took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy following efforts by Swedish prosecutor to investigate rape allegations against him.

In July 2016, according to the indictment, Stone emailed “Person 1,” who is described as a political commentator who worked with an online media publication, to go to the Ecuadoran embassy “and get the pending” WikiLeaks” emails … they deal with (the Clinton) Foundation, allegedly.” 

At one point, Stone, referring to WikiLeaks and Assange, received an email saying, in part, that, “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps.” The email continues, “Time to let more than (the Clinton Campaign Chairman) to be exposed as in bed with the enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC,” referring to Democratic presidential nominee Clinton.

“Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke – neither he nor she well” Person 1 added. “I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle”

Similar interaction and emails between Stone and others were particularly active beginning in August, the indictment says.

It alleges that there was a flurry of emails surrounding WikiLeaks and an unnamed individual purportedly in touch with Assange and the organization.

At one point, according to the indictment “Person 2” emails Stone to report that WikiLeaks was canceling a “highly anticipated” announcement because of “security concerns,” prompting Stone to text back to ask did WikiLeaks “back off.”

While the indictment does not name Stone’s intermediaries, Person 2, described as a “radio host who had known Stone for more than a decade,” appears to refer to Randy Credico. 

In early October, Stone, according to the indictment, wrote to a supporter involved with the Trump campaign, saying, “Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.”

Stone accused of multiple false statements  

The events at the core of the charges against Stone unfolded in 2017 after Donald Trump took office and the congressional and FBI investigation ramped up.

The indictment charges that Stone, in testimony before the House intelligence committee “made deliberately false and misleading statements” including his possession of documents pertinent to the committee’s probe, the source for his statements in August 2016 about WikiLeaks, his communications with an intermediary to WikiLeaks and his communications with the Trump organization regarding WikiLeaks.

Among them, the indictment says Stone falsely told the committee that he did not have any emails, texts or documents concerning the allegations of hacked documents from the Clinton campaign.

It further charges that he falsely denied having any text or email contacts with an intermediary to WikiLeaks.

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In addition, the indictment charges he lied to the committee in saying that he did not have any conversations with the Trump campaign regarding his conversations with the WikiLeaks intermediary.

The indictment charged that Stone had  spoken to “multiple individuals involved in the Trump Campaign” about what he claimed to have learned from the intermediary.

Regarding charges that Stone tried to influence others, the indictment alleges that he engaged in a “prolonged effort” to prevent one unnamed individual from contradicting his purportedly false statements to the committee.

In December, Stone texted one of the intermediaries to say that he should amend his testimony to the committee before Stone’s appearance.

Stone urges radio host to stay silent  

According to the document, Stone told randy host and standup comic Credico in December 2017, that he should do a “Frank Pentangeli” before the committee to avoid contradicting Stone’s testimony.

Pentangeli is a character in the film “The Godfather: Part II” who testifies before a congressional committee and claims not to know critical information that he does in fact know.

Around the same time, Stone texts Credico, saying “If you turn over anything to the FBI you’re a fool.”

Later that day, Credico responds, “You need to amend your testimony before I testify on the 15th.”

Stone’s reply: “If you testify you’re a fool,” Stone wrote. “Because of tromp (sic) I could never get away with a certain (sic) my fifth Amendment rights, but you can. I guarantee you you are the one who gets indicted for perjury if you’re stupid enough to testify.”

At another point, on Dec. 24, 2017, Credico calls on Stone in a text  to be honest with the FBI.

Stone replies two minutes later, according to the indictment: “I’m not talking to the FBI and if you are smart you won’t either.” 

 

 

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