'Conspiracy, collusion, cover-up': What the 4 am arrest of Roger Stone means for the Donald Trump White House

Roger Stone, a longtime Donald Trump aide and Republican operative with a reputation for dirty tricks and political dark arts, was indicted and arrested in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in a 4 am raid at his Florida home Friday, adding to the long trail of breadcrumbs in the alleged Russia collusion that may have influenced the 2016 election result. Former federal prosecutors are unanimous in saying this proves "beyond any reasonable doubt" the Trump campaign's "conspiracy, collusion and cover-up" with generous help from external powers to break the back of the Hillary Clinton campaign, which they succeeded in doing and pulling off the most stunning victory in American political history. Republican strategists are saying Trump should be "remarkably worried".

At least "29 FBI agents and 17 vehicles" reached Stone's house before the crack of dawn Friday.

 Conspiracy, collusion, cover-up: What the 4 am arrest of Roger Stone means for the Donald Trump White House

Donald Trump's confidante Roger Stone. AP

In short, Mueller's latest blow to the White House is making the case that people in the Trump campaign were part of a wider conspiracy allegedly run by the Russians to get WikiLeaks to cough up more.

The message in the 4 am arrest: Mueller is serious about this
Soon after the Stone arrest came the Trump tweet: "greatest witch hunt in the history of our country". The White House is predictably distancing itself from this arrest but the latest bombshell has less to do with the White House reaction and everything to do with the message that the Mueller probe is sending to the White House with the timing and the style of the arrest: armoured cars, under the cover of darkness. We’re serious, Mueller is telling Team Trump. Mueller is connecting the dots here between Wikipedia leaks on the Hillary Clinton campaign and the deep connections and night owl text messages between Assange’s team, the most powerful folks in the Trump campaign and the timing of the email dumps before the stunning election results.

Mueller has all the proof
Robert Mueller's court filing makes it clear that he has documents and texts to prove all his claims. The latest document identifies four people at the heart of the information warfare that changed the 2016 election result: Roger Stone and his immersive involvement with “Organisation 1” ( Julian Assange), Person 1 and Person 2. Here are key extracts from the indictment. The first one explains how it began, the others give us a fairly good idea about the other star players.

“During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials about Organization 1 and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1.”

Who could "senior" Trump campaign officials refer to? Steve Bannon, maybe?

Why Organisation 1 means WikiLeaks and Julian Assange
“From in or around July 2016 through in or around November 2016, an organization (“Organization 1”), which had previously posted documents stolen by others from U.S. persons, entities, and the U.S. government, released tens of thousands of documents stolen from the DNC and the personal email account of the chairman of the U.S. presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton (“Clinton Campaign”).”

Who is Person 1? Jerome Corsi?
“Person 1 was a political commentator who worked with an online media publication during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Person 1 spoke regularly with STONE throughout the campaign, including about the release of stolen documents by Organization 1.”

Who is Person 2?
“Person 2 was a radio host who had known STONE for more than a decade. In testimony before HPSCI on or about September 26, 2017, STONE described Person 2 (without naming him) as an “intermediary,” “go-between,” and “mutual friend” to the head of Organization 1.”

The fascinating backstory of the email dumps that may have changed the 2016 election results is contained on Page 9 of the indictment
- On or about October 3, 2016, STONE wrote to a supporter involved with the Trump Campaign, “Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.”
Also on or about October 3, 2016, STONE received an email from a reporter who had connections to a high-ranking Trump Campaign official that asked, “(the head
of Organization 1) – what’s he got? Hope it’s good.” STONE responded in part, “It is. I’d tell (the high-ranking Trump Campaign official) but he doesn’t call me back.”
- On or about October 4, 2016, the head of Organization 1 held a press conference but did not release any new materials pertaining to the Clinton Campaign. Shortly afterwards, STONE received an email from the high-ranking Trump Campaign official asking about the status of future releases by Organization 1. STONE answered that the head of Organization 1 had a “[s]erious security concern” but that Organization 1 would release “a load every week going forward.”
- Later that day, on or about October 4, 2016, the supporter involved with the Trump Campaign asked STONE via text message if he had “hear(d) anymore from London.” STONE replied, “Yes - want to talk on a secure line - got Whatsapp?” STONE subsequently told the supporter that more material would be released and that it would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign.
- On or about October 7, 2016, Organization 1 released the first set of emails stolen from the Clinton Campaign chairman. Shortly after Organization 1’s release, an associate of the high- ranking Trump Campaign official sent a text message to STONE that read “well done.” In subsequent conversations with senior Trump Campaign officials, STONE claimed credit for having correctly predicted the October 7, 2016 release.

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Updated Date: Jan 26, 2019 02:21:18 IST