After long-time Republican operative Roger Stone’s arrest on Friday, his staff issued a scathing rebuke of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and defended his innocence.
As IJR previously noted, Mueller indicted Stone, a long-time ally of President Donald Trump, on multiple counts including, five for making false statements.
Early on Friday, his staff used his Instagram account to liken the arrest to tactics used by an infamous, Nazi-era police force:
View this post on Instagram
This morning’s news is deeply saddening. Robert Mueller’s early morning raid was straight out of the gestapo’s playbook. We must fight for Roger Stone… now more than ever. If they can do this to Roger… they are coming for us next! -staff JOIN THE FIGHT –> https://www.stonedefensefund.co
“This morning’s news is deeply saddening,” the staff wrote. “Robert Mueller’s early morning raid was straight out of the gestapo’s playbook. We must fight for Roger Stone… now more than ever. If they can do this to Roger… they are coming for us next!”
The post included a photo throwback to the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” “Who Framed Roger Stone?” the picture asked.
His staff also linked to a fundraising page for people to help Stone pay his hefty legal fees. “His legal fees in this epic fight could top $2 million, threatening to destroy him and his family,” the site stonedefensefund.com read.
Stone’s was yet another controversial indictment in Mueller’s investigation into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. It came just after Stone appeared on Fox News where he told host Tucker Carlson that despite not receiving any formal accusations at the time, he underwent a “draining” process that was “financially devastating.”
Watch his interview below:
He described how the FBI “browbeat” his employees and said he believed all of his 2016 texts, emails and phone calls had been “scrutinized.” “I’ve been under a two-year microscope in which every aspect of my life has been examined,” he said.
He added that the controversy surrounding the investigation had “devastated” his private consulting business, prompted him to lose his health and life insurance, forced him to sell his car, and lose money from the college fund he created for his grandchildren.
The Mueller investigation reportedly took a toll on former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s finances as well. Flynn reportedly tried selling his house last year in order to pay for the legal fees associated with the investigation. His family also set up a defense fund that received thousands of donations supporting him.
As IJR previously noted, the investigation cost taxpayers a large sum as well. The Justice Department reported in December that the probe cost nearly $25 million.
“And today, there is still no evidence of Russian collusion, Wikileaks collaboration, or any other illegal-acting connection with the 2016 election, or anything else,” Stone said on Wednesday.
The Stone indictment said that he tipped off the campaign that Wikileaks — an organization suspected to have ties with Russia — would release potentially damaging information about Trump’s Democratic opponent.
key passage in Roger Stone indictment: he “was contacted by senior Trump campaign officials to inquire about future releases” of stolen information by Wikileaks
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 25, 2019
According to NBC News, the indictment accused Stone of making false statements about his interactions with Wikileaks, thereby obstruction Congress’s investigation into the issue.
Stone previously distanced himself from Wikileaks and claimed he had “no advanced knowledge of the source, content, or the exact disclosure timing” of the releases.
WATCH| Roger Stone in June 2018: "I had no advanced knowledge of the source, content or the exact disclosure timing of the Wikileaks disclosures… I received nothing, including, allegedly hacked emails from Wikileaks… I passed nothing of that nature on to Donald Trump" pic.twitter.com/lu88UC0msA
— Washington Journal (@cspanwj) January 25, 2019
Watch more of his comments below (around 4:40):
On Twitter, some offered conflicting analyses of what the indictment actually showed:
.@chucktodd tells @mitchellreports that Roger Stone's indictment is the "first Mueller indictment that lays out a collusion case … it's collusion between Wikileaks and the Trump campaign with Roger Stone as the conduit."
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 25, 2019
Mueller special counsel indicts Roger Stone on charges that don't involve collusion between @RealDonaldTrump campaign and Russia.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 25, 2019
Sorry to disappoint everyone, but the indictment does not establish that Roger Stone had any privileged access to WikiLeaks, or "coordinated" with WikiLeaks in any other respect. Might want to put away away the party balloons and champagne bottles.
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 25, 2019
A few thoughts on Roger Stone indictment. First, what it's not. No charge of conspiracy or allegation Trump campaign conspired with Russia. Stone not charged with lying to or obstructing Mueller probe. 1/6 https://t.co/hG48ZlE6AK
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 25, 2019
In a statement, Stone’s attorney said his client would fight the charges and that it was unfair to accuse him of lying.
NEW: Attorney for Roger Stone responds to indictment in Mueller probe on charges of obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering: "There was no Russian collusion, it's a clear attempt at silencing Roger…He will fight the charges." https://t.co/WHDdCLNtj9 pic.twitter.com/a1cKmUzQVp
— ABC News (@ABC) January 25, 2019
President Donald Trump appeared to respond on Friday morning, continuing to label the investigation as a “Witch Hunt.”
Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2019
“Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country!” he tweeted. “NO COLLUSION!”