WASHINGTON – Roger Stone, a political operative who worked on Republican campaigns from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, has links to several targets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Stone was arrested Friday after a federal grand jury indicted him charges of lying about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He faces a court appearance later in the day in Fort Lauderdale.
Stone’s former business partner from years before they each worked on Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, has been convicted on a variety of bank, tax and witness-tampering charges.
Stone previously acknowledged he is likely the unnamed person in the indictment of Russian military intelligence officers charged with hacking Democratic computers.
One Stone aide during the campaign, Andrew Miller, is fighting in federal appeals court to avoid a subpoena to testify before Mueller’s grand jury. Another Stone associate, Jerome Corsi, has said he expects to be indicted for perjury.
But Stone insisted throughout that he did nothing illegal. In a tweet Oct. 23, Stone said in pungent language for CNN and The Washington Post that he didn’t communicate with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and didn’t receive emails allegedly hacked from Democratic computers.
“The answer is no,” Stone said.
Stone has always been pugnacious, working on presidential campaigns from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump. His web site features pictures of him with Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
Another link leads to a 2008 New Yorker profile, which said he “regularly cross the line between respectability and ignominy.” The profile featured a picture of his tattoo of Nixon on his back.
Stone has worked for decades for a variety of Republican campaigns. During the 1980s, he was a partner in a political consulting firm with Manafort, whose later business dealings became a subject of Mueller’s prosecution. Manafort had worked for Trump’s campaign from March to August 2016 and he served as chairman in the final months.
A Virginia jury convicted Manafort in August of eight counts of bank and tax fraud basically for not reporting millions in income. His sentencing is scheduled Feb. 8. Manafort also pleaded guilty in September to a conspiracy representing a pro-Russia faction in Ukraine and failing to report it, and obstructing justice by seeking to have witnesses provide inaccurate accounts to prosecutors.
Stone said he quit the Trump campaign in August 2015 after Trump suggested a television interviewer was menstruating. But Stone remained an informal adviser to Trump and lingered on the periphery of the campaign.
Mueller’s team charged a group of Russian military intelligence officers in July with hacking into computers of the Democratic National Committee and nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. Tens of thousands of emails and other documents were released online under the fictitious names “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0.”
The indictment was revealed days before Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
The indictment said Guccifer 2.0 “wrote to a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump” on or about Aug. 15, 2016, asking if the person found “anyt(h)ing interesting in the docs I posted?”
Stone has said he thinks he is the unnamed person in the indictment, but that the contact was benign.