When Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone was arrested by FBI agents at his Florida home Friday, a flood of new information emerged about Stone’s activities during the 2016 presidential election.
Much of what was laid out in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment about Stone’s communication with WikiLeaks already was known, often through public statements made by Stone himself. But the indictment offers new details on the steps Stone allegedly took to conceal his involvement.
Here’s what we learned from the indictment on Friday.
Stone bragged about his involvement with WikiLeaks, then backtracked
First, some background: In August of 2016, Stone claimed publicly during a Republican Party event in Florida that he had “communicated” with Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks. Stone also made a number of other previously reported statements to the Trump campaign predicting the release of hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton.
Mueller’s indictment alleges that after the House, Senate, and Special Counsel’s office began investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, Stone took steps to conceal his involvement with WikiLeaks, including through threats to radio show host Randy Credico, who was allegedly acting as an intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks.
Mueller alleges Stone tried to pressure his WikiLeaks connection not to testify
The witness tampering charge includes the content of text messages and other communications between and Stone and Credico, who hosted Assange on his show in 2016. According to the indictment and the conversations between the two men, Stone’s version, given under oath, was false, Credico wrote to Stone, according to court papers.
“During these conversations, STONE repeatedly made statements intended to prevent Person 2 from cooperating with the investigations,” prosecutors allege. Credico is identified only as “Person 2” in court papers, but dates in the indictment match when Assange appeared on his radio show.
Mueller alleges Credico urged Stone to come clean
According to the indictment, once federal investigators had developed information that contradicted Stone’s testimony, especially about how Stone described Credico’s connection to Assange, Credico repeatedly urged Stone to tell the truth.
“You should be honest w fbi . . . there was no back channel . . . be honest,’’ Credico wrote. “You need to amend your testimony before I testify” to Congress.
But Stone refused, and instead urged Credico to remain silent beginning in November 2017 and continuing in the months that followed, prosecutors allege.
Stone allegedly invoked the Godfather and threatened to take away Credico’s dog
Stone urged Credico to ‘Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan’ . . . Richard Nixon.”
Stone worked for Nixon’s 1972 campaign and the executive branch during his administration.
Stone also reminded Credico about “Frank Pentangeli,” a character from the Mafia movie, “The Godfather Part II,” who perjures himself before a congressional committee, prosecutors allege.
Credico insisted, however, that it was up to Stone to act, and to finally tell the truth. And last April, Stone’s tone turned harsh, denouncing Credico as a “stoolie” who should be “prepared to die.”
“You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds,’’ he allegedly texted Credico April 9. “I am so ready. Let’s get to it. Prepare to die [expletive.]”
Stone also threatened to dognap Credico’s canine, vowing “to take that dog away from you.’
In reply Credico’s tone also sharpened toward Stone. “You should have just been honest with the house Intel committee . . . you’ve opened yourself up to perjury charges like an idiot,’’ he wrote.
Stone said he couldn’t take the Fifth — and cited his relationship to Trump
Stone also seemed to suggest to Credico that he could not invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because of his strong connection to Trump. “If you testify you’re a fool. Because of tromp [sic] I could never get away with a certain [sic] my Fifth Amendment rights but you can,’’ Stone wrote. “ I guarantee you you are the one who gets indicted for perjury if you’re stupid enough to testify.”
Credico, according to the indictment, did assert his Fifth Amendment right when called before a congressional committee in December 2017. Credico currently is not facing any charges.