WASHINGTON – Roger Stone, a political operative whose work on Republican campaigns spans 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 on charges of lying to Mueller's investigators.
Stone has been a pugnacious and longstanding force in GOP politics, allies say. 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(es) 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 former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, another key figure in the Mueller investigation. Manafort, who worked for Trump’s campaign from March to August 2016, has been convicted on a variety of bank, tax and witness-tampering charges.
The Stone indictment contains seven counts: five charges of false statements, one count of witness tampering and one count of obstruction.
The allegations revolve around Stone's alleged contacts with WikiLeaks, the organization that released thousands of emails about Democrats during the 2016 election in an effort to damage Trump opponent Hillary Clinton. Stone is charged with lying to the House Intelligence Committee during its Russia investigation, and trying to conceal emails and other records the committee had requested.
“I intend to fight for my life,” Stone told Alex Jones during an interview Friday on InfoWars.com.
Stone said he was calling the show after being released on $250,000 bond after being arrested at his home about 6 a.m.
“They would like me to plead guilty to charges that are completely bogus," Stone said. "There is no Russian collusion. There is no Wikileaks collaboration.”
The indictment makes repeated references to Trump’s campaign, but doesn’t accuse the president himself or other officials of wrongdoing.
'Payload is coming'
In the summer of 2016, according to the indictment, a ”senior" official on Trump’s campaign was “directed to contact Stone” to learn about any other damaging information the organization had on Clinton’s campaign.
On Oct. 3, 2016, according to the indictment, Stone emailed an unnamed person involved with the campaign to give them a heads-up about another release of information: “Spoke to my friend in London last night,” he wrote, a reference to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. “The payload is still coming.”
Stone previously acknowledged he is likely the unnamed person in last year's 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 the probe that he did nothing illegal. In a tweet on Oct. 23, Stone said 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.
A Virginia jury convicted Manafort in August of eight counts of bank and tax fraud 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, who graduated from John Jay High School in Westchester County, New York, in 1970, 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 Clinton during the 2016 campaign. Tens of thousands of emails and other documents were released online under the 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.
Roger Stone: I probably am the person in the indictment https://t.co/zOWDTXBFFy— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) July 14, 2018
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is Roger Stone? Longtime Republican operative worked on campaigns from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump