(Sorry I can't offer my own worthless comments, as I am limited for time, but here are good articles)
Trump associate Roger Stone arrested for witness tampering, false statement charges
By ERIC TUCKERThe Associated Press
Fri., Jan. 25, 2019
WASHINGTONâ€”Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested Friday morning in the special counselï¿½s Russia investigation and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe.
The seven-count indictment against Stone, a self-proclaimed ï¿½dirty trickster,ï¿½ is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller and provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates were aware in the summer of 2016 that emails had been stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign and wanted them released. It alleges that unnamed senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when the stolen emails might be disclosed.
ï¿½I had no contact with Assange,ï¿½ Roger Stone says
Trump aides caught in web of deception over Russia contacts
Roger Stone pal Jerome Corsi refuses plea deal from Mueller
The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaksï¿½ release. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment.
The indictment lays out in detail Stoneï¿½s conversations about stolen Democratic emails posted by WikiLeaks in the weeks before Trump, a Republican, beat Clinton. Muellerï¿½s office has said those emails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.
It says the Trump campaign directed a senior campaign official to contact Stone after the July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and other groups. That official, who is not named in court papers, asked Stone about additional releases and ï¿½what other damaging informationï¿½ WikiLeaks had ï¿½regarding the Clinton campaign,ï¿½ the indictment says.
Stone is scheduled to appear in court in Florida later Friday. The indictment had been expected. Stone has said for months he was prepared to be charged, though he has denied any wrongdoing. A grand jury for months had heard from witnesses connected to Stone. And the intelligence committee last year voted to release a transcript of Stoneï¿½s testimony to Mueller as a precursor to an indictment.
to Mueller as a precursor to an indictment.
Stone has publicly denigrated the Mueller investigation and echoed the presidentï¿½s descriptions of it as a witch hunt. But he has long attracted investigatorsï¿½ attention, especially in light of a 2016 tweet that appeared to presage knowledge that emails stolen from Podesta would soon be released. Stone has said he had no inside information about the contents of the emails in WikiLeaksï¿½ possession or the timing of when theyï¿½d be released.
He has said he learned from Randy Credico, a New York radio host, that WikiLeaks had the emails and planned to disclose them. Stone has released emails that he says support that assertion.
Prosecutors had offered a plea agreement to Stone friend Jerome Corsi that would have required the conspiracy theorist and conservative author to admit that he intentionally lied to investigators about a discussion with Stone about WikiLeaks. But he rejected the offer.
In a tweet Friday, Podesta wrote that it was now ï¿½Rogerï¿½s time in the barrel.ï¿½ That was a play on Stoneï¿½s own words. Stone had tweeted cryptically before the Podesta emails were disclosed that it would soon be Podestaï¿½s ï¿½time in the barrel.ï¿½
Then, a superb article from just before the bombshell arrest this morning.
The Washington Post has done some of the best journalism on this and other issues.
By Manuel Roig-Franzia and
Rosalind S. Helderman January 24 at 5:21 PM
Over the past several months, author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi has emerged as one of special counsel Robert S. Mueller IIIï¿½s most vexing witnesses in his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
Corsi ï¿½ perhaps best known for promoting the false idea that former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States ï¿½ has released internal special counsel documents, fulminated against alleged plea-deal offers and published a hastily written e-book outlining his account of interactions with his onetime ally, the longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, a subject of intense scrutiny in Muellerï¿½s probe.
At the same time, Corsi says, he has been collecting what he describes as $15,000-a-month payments from Infowars, a website that has attacked the special counsel investigation as a deep-state conspiracy designed to topple President Trump.
An attorney for Infowars confirmed that these payments continued for the past six months as severance since Corsi lost his post as the websiteï¿½s Washington bureau chief ï¿½ a job that Stone helped arrange, according to both Corsi and Stone.
The revelation of Corsiï¿½s arrangement with Infowars offers new context to the now-frayed relationship between Corsi and Stone, and how the on-again, off-again alliance between two of Americaï¿½s foremost conspiracy theorists has drawn the attention of Muellerï¿½s investigators.
[Special counsel examines conflicting accounts as scrutiny of Roger Stone and WikiLeaks deepens]
Stone has said that research conducted by Corsi informed his predictions in 2016 that WikiLeaks would publish material damaging to Hillary Clintonï¿½s presidential campaign. Mueller has charged Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic emails and providing them to WikiLeaks. For months, he has been investigating whether Stone was working in coordination with the group, which Stone adamantly denies.
As part of the investigation into Stone, Muellerï¿½s prosecutors have interviewed a number of his associates and zeroed in on his relationship with Corsi, including emails between the two men in which Corsi indicated he had insight into WikiLeaksï¿½ plans, according to Corsi.
On Thursday, Corsiï¿½s stepson, Andrew Stettner, appeared before a grand jury hearing evidence in the case for about an hour. Afterward, his attorney Larry Klayman told reporters that Stettner had been questioned about his handling of Corsiï¿½s computers.
Investigators have also asked questions about Corsiï¿½s payments from Infowars, according to a person familiar with the special counsel investigation. Muellerï¿½s team appears to be exploring whether the payments were made to ensure that Corsi would offer investigators a version of events favorable to Stone, the person said.
Corsi said in an interview that he does not remember being asked by Muellerï¿½s investigators about the payments. But he added that his brain was ï¿½mushï¿½ after 40 hours of questioning over several days and that he may have forgotten.
ï¿½Itï¿½s really pretty far-fetched,ï¿½ Corsi said of the notion he was paid to keep quiet. ï¿½Iï¿½m the guy who has talked the most. I havenï¿½t been hushed by anything.ï¿½
Stone, who has said he has not been contacted by the special counsel, called the suggestion that he helped Corsi get work to silence him ï¿½both ridiculous and false.ï¿½
The extent of the special counselï¿½s interest in Corsiï¿½s arrangement with the website is unclear. An attorney for Infowars said the site has not received any request for information from Mueller. A spokesman for the special counselï¿½s office declined to comment.
After The Washington Post made inquiries about the payments last week, Corsi said he learned from Alex Jonesï¿½s father, David, that the payments would stop, according to a legal complaint Corsi filed this week against The Post.
An Infowars attorney disputed that, saying that Corsi was fired in June and was paid the remainder of a one-year contract that ended this month. His Infowars pay had already been scheduled to end this month, the attorney said.
ï¿½Any claim that he stopped receiving those payments because of The Washington Post asking questions does not appear to be supported by any facts I know of,ï¿½ Infowars attorney Marc Randazza said.
In a letter to Corsi dated Jan. 18 ï¿½ a day after The Post first interviewed him ï¿½ David Jones wrote that he had agreed to pay the remainder of Corsiï¿½s contract after he was terminated in June ï¿½because of our history and contract considerations.ï¿½
ï¿½As I discussed with you some time ago I cannot indefinitely pay your salary continuation,ï¿½ Jones wrote in the letter, which was posted online by Stone. Jones added that he would terminate the contract as of Jan. 31.
In an interview last week with The Post, Corsi offered two explanations for the payments that have drawn the interest of prosecutors. Initially, he described them as consulting fees related to the ï¿½exploratoryï¿½ phase of a ï¿½fake newsï¿½ project that he and David Jones ï¿½ a former dentist who is the director of human resources for Infowars ï¿½ were considering launching. Corsi said that the payments were ï¿½not directly related to Infowars.ï¿½
Corsi later described the payments as severance after he left his post of Washington bureau chief for Infowars over the summer, a position that Stone helped him secure in early 2017 after Trump took office.
Stone, Corsi and Alex Jones all said that the Infowars job and the payments Corsi received after leaving are not related to Corsiï¿½s role in the Mueller probe.
ï¿½I assisted him because he was constantly whining about being broke,ï¿½ Stone said in an interview.
Corsi declined to comment on Stoneï¿½s characterization of his finances.
In an Infowars column published Jan. 18, Jones wrote that ï¿½hiring Corsi had nothing whatsoever to do with WikiLeaks or any kind of ï¿½hush moneyï¿½ operation, which is an absurd claim.ï¿½
He noted that Corsi was hired almost two years before being interviewed in the special counselï¿½s investigation and he described payments to Corsi as ï¿½routine six months severance payï¿½ following Corsiï¿½s departure from Infowars in June.
Corsi filed a complaint Monday against The Post; its owner, Jeffrey P. Bezos; and Manuel Roig-Franzia, one of the authors of this article, who had interviewed Corsi about his relationship with the website. The complaint amended a previously filed lawsuit that names as defendants Mueller, the FBI, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. It seeks $1.6 billion in damages, including at least half of that from Bezos.
In the lawsuit, Corsi claimed The Postï¿½s reporting amounted to ï¿½tortious interferenceï¿½ with his business relationship with Infowars.
A Post spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Corsi and Stone, who have become intertwined in the Mueller probe, were first brought together by Donald Trump.
Stone has previously told The Post that he first became aware of the conspiracy theorist and conservative writer when Trump posed a question to him in 2011: ï¿½Who is this guy, Jerome Corsi?ï¿½
When Stone asked Trump why he wanted to know about Corsi, Trump responded: ï¿½Iï¿½ve been talking to him.ï¿½
Corsi had recently published a book titled ï¿½Whereï¿½s the Birth Certificate: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President.ï¿½ Trump became the most ardent public proponent of Corsiï¿½s theory, staging splashy public appearances to taunt Obama to provide more proof about his birth.
Both men were ardent supporters of Trumpï¿½s 2016 campaign and collaborated in hopes of getting the New York developer elected to the nationï¿½s highest office.
[Trumpï¿½s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe]
During the campaign, Stone has said he hired Corsi to conduct research about the Clintons and the Democrats. Later, they would offer conflicting accounts of their work together.
A key moment came on July 22, 2016, when WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of internal emails from the Democratic National Committee. The cache revealed tensions within the party during the primary contest between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Hillary Clinton. The revelations resulted in the resignation of the party chairwoman.
There was widespread speculation about what else WikiLeaks might have and when the group would release it. Stone saw an opportunity.
On July 25, 2016, Stone emailed Corsi and asked him to try to make contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and get copies of hacked emails in his possession, according to a draft court document drawn up by Muellerï¿½s investigators. In November, Corsi publicly released the document, which he said he been provided by the special counselï¿½s office during failed plea negotiations.
Stone has said he was reacting to claims Assange had made on television about having damaging material about Clinton, characterizing his interest in the potential disclosures as no different from that of journalists and political operatives at the time.
When investigators first asked Corsi about the email, he claimed that he told Stone that trying to reach Assange could result in an investigation and they should wait for WikiLeaks to release material publicly, according to the draft court filing.
Corsi provided early alert to Stone about WikiLeaks release, according to draft special counsel document
But, according to the filing, Corsi actually forwarded Stoneï¿½s email to a London-based associate and later wrote Stone an email about WikiLeaksï¿½ plans. ï¿½Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,ï¿½ Corsi wrote Stone on Aug. 2, 2016, according to the draft filing.
Corsi has said he surmised what WikiLeaks would do based on public reporting at the time but did not make contact with Assange.
That same month, Corsi has said in interviews, he told Stone that he believed ï¿½ based on his own analysis of the DNC emails released in July ï¿½ that WikiLeaks had hacked emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
He has said he believes his tip is why Stone tweeted ï¿½it will soon [be] the Podestaï¿½s time in the barrelï¿½ on Aug. 21, 2016 ï¿½ about six weeks before WikiLeaks began releasing Podestaï¿½s emails.
Stone has denied that Corsi told him WikiLeaks had Podestaï¿½s emails and said his tweet was based on unrelated research Corsi had provided him about John and his brother Tony Podestaï¿½s financial ties to Russia.
Stoneï¿½s tweet was one of several statements he made before the election suggesting he was in contact with Assange and had advance knowledge of WikiLeaksï¿½s plans to release hacked emails ï¿½ comments now under scrutiny by the special counsel.
Since the election, Stone has insisted he had no contact with Assange and did not know what the group planned. He has denied all wrongdoing and said he has been unfairly targeted by Mueller.
Stone and Corsiï¿½s relationship continued after Trumpï¿½s election victory.
Stone suggested that they both go to work for Infowars, Corsi said in an interview. Randazza, the Infowars attorney, told The Post that Corsi was one of about 15 people whom Stone recommended to Jones as possible chiefs of the new Washington bureau for the conspiracy site. Randazza said Jones believed Corsi was the best and most experienced of the list.
Stone became a co-host and frequent commentator on the site, a position he maintains to this day. Corsi got the bureau chief job in Washington.
Corsi, who has a securities license, said he also took an interest in the business operations of the site, approached Alex Jones about financing options for Infowars.
ï¿½Alex was not wanting investors,ï¿½ Corsi said in an interview. ï¿½We had some differences. Those differences, over time I think, led to our parting of the ways.ï¿½
In the column published by Infowars, Alex Jones wrote that Corsiï¿½s employment with the company ended in June after Corsiï¿½s ï¿½failure to adequately establish a Washington bureau, his failure to maintain White House press credentials and his generally poor work performance.ï¿½
Corsi said in an interview that he could not remember if he ï¿½was fired or I quit.ï¿½
ï¿½We just kind of mutually ï¿½ without talking about it ï¿½ decided I wasnï¿½t working there anymore,ï¿½ Corsi said.
Three months after his split with Infowars, Corsi was subpoenaed in the Mueller probe. At the time, Corsiï¿½s attorney said that he would cooperate fully with the investigation.
It wasnï¿½t long before his role as a witness caused friction with Stone and the two began attacking each other publicly. In November, Corsi asserted in interviews that Stone had urged him to come up with a cover story to explain the Podesta tweet by sending a research memo nine days after the tweet had been posted.
Stone has said that the memo was simply memorializing conversations they had had before the tweet and called Corsiï¿½s claim ï¿½both categorically false and ludicrous ï¿½ not to mention illogical.ï¿½
Corsi also said in November that heï¿½d been cooperating with Muellerï¿½s team but had decided to reject a plea deal proposed by prosecutors because it included a requirement that he admit to lying about his interactions with Stone.
Conservative author and Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi says he is rejecting plea deal from special counsel
From their respective corners of the Internet, the two conspiracy maestros have spent the months since then in verbal combat with Mueller and each other.
In his lawsuit, Corsi declared that Mueller and the media were in cahoots to set in motion a ï¿½legal coup dï¿½etatï¿½ to either indict Trump or remove him from office. On Infowars last week, Stone and Alex Jones discussed a grand scheme by prosecutors and the media to arrest both of them, as well as Jonesï¿½s father, Trump and Vice President Pence, to install House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as president and Hillary Clinton as vice president. Stone then predicted that Pelosi would resign and Clinton would become president.
As their feuds with each other and with the special counselï¿½s office have deepened, both Corsi and Stone have taken to appealing to a higher power.
Corsi took to Twitter recently to accuse Mueller and the ï¿½Deep Stateï¿½ of trying to destroy him and his family.
ï¿½If I can hold a pen, I will not be silenced,ï¿½ he tweeted. ï¿½In the end, God always wins.ï¿½
On Instagram, Stone declared that Corsi, a friend turned enemy, would suffer for not standing by him: ï¿½God will strike this liar down.ï¿½
Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.
This is convoluted, and the issue seems to be based on inaccurate comments before congress and Mueller.
Corsi says he simply could not remember everything exactly as it happened, and he did not lie.