SALT LAKE CITY — Roger Stone, a longtime associate of President Donald Trump, was arrested Friday morning in an early-morning raid of his Florida home.
Stone was indicted on seven different counts.
The indictment “accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks' release,” according to The Associated Press. “Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, prosecutors allege.”
This is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller.
A number of columnists throughout the media landscape shared their thoughts on the Stone indictment in opinion pieces and columns Friday morning.
We’ve collected a few of them and shared them below.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin asks what this means for President Donald Trump and the Mueller investigation.
- “Regardless of the luridness, no one — including Trump’s dead-enders in the right-wing media — should fail to recognize how serious this is. We have collusion between Stone and WikiLeaks about a crime, stealing emails, and between Stone and a Trump campaign senior official about that activity. We will see which characters, if any, committed which crimes. But the president is a hair’s breadth from being implicated in collusion (or knowledge of collusion). His efforts and all these associates' lies now make more sense.”
CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza called the indictment “a huge moment in the Russia probe.”
- “Bottom line: The indictments and arrests just keep piling up. And with each new one, it becomes clearer and clearer just how many ties members of Trump's orbit had to the Russian effort to sway the election for their candidate.”
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent wrote that the new Stone indictment connects deep into Trump’s inner circle.
- “So we can’t yet know the full legal significance of this latest news. But it’s obvious the notion there was ‘NO COLLUSION!’ is becoming tougher and tougher to sustain.”
In an analysis piece, Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider asks why Stone would “lie to Congress about the existence of such written communication?”
- “Is it because he has delusions of grandeur? Does he think he's a character in some mob film playing out in his head?”
Bloomberg’s Timothy L. O’Brien wrote in an opinion piece that the indictment raises questions about who allegedly directed Bannon and Stone to seek information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign from WikiLeaks.
- “It was likely someone in the very upper reaches of the campaign — possibly a member of the Trump family or Trump himself. Regardless, the indictment’s 24 pages offer one of law enforcement’s most thorough descriptions to date of how intimately Trump’s closest advisors worked with WikiLeaks and Russian-sponsored hackers during the 2016 campaign. The indictment also draws a very full portrait — via testimony, public statements, email and other evidence — of just how readily and actively the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power in its bid for the presidency.”
Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, told Fox News on Friday morning that such large arrests — FBI officials knocked on Stone’s door with guns drawn — are done to intimidate a witness.
- “Normally, the situation is you call the lawyer and you tell the lawyer, ‘Look, he’s been indicted. Please show up at the federal court tomorrow at 10 o'clock. And maybe they can keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t run away.' In cases like this you don’t typically see arrests of this kind.”
- He added, “This is something that prosecutors do a lot in order to intimidate a witness. When they want to get people to testify, they’re very heavy handed. They make the point very clearly: it’s not about you. You can save yourself, your family, your friends. Just give us what we want hear about the president. That’s why the president always has to be a little nervous.“
Becket Adams wrote for The Washington Examiner that the media romanticized Stone as a “trickster” even though this indictment proves he’s a liar.
- “Why reporters have spent the last decade or so giving Stone, a ruthlessly dishonest actor, the kid-glove treatment is anyone’s guess. It’s not that the press has a difficult time calling a liar a liar (see: Media’s coverage of Alex Jones and President Trump). It’s that newsrooms for some reason love themselves some Roger Stone.”
Adam Davidson of The New Yorker wrote that there are plenty of questions to answer about the indictment.20 comments on this story
- "Who did this directing? Why did Mueller avoid naming the person? Could it possibly have been Trump? Or — as one must still allow — was Trump, somehow, an innocent dupe surrounded by scheming scoundrels?"
CNN’s Elie Honig wrote that there might be an “ugly political brawl” on the way with all of these indictments surrounding Mueller.
- “Mueller is far from done. 2019 promises to be another cataclysmic year for Trump and his inner circle. Keeping in mind an immutable truth of this investigation — Mueller knows more than we do — here's a look ahead at what to expect.”