The US authorities on Friday arrested former US President Donald Trump’s adviser, Roger Stone, on charges of special prosecutor Robert Mueller, media reports said.
Seven charges have been filed, including the obstruction of official procedure, false statements and manipulations of witnesses, the New York Times and other media reported, quoting Mueller’s office, which leads the investigation linked to Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election.
Stone, 66, was arrested early on Friday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, “after being indicted by a federal grand jury on January 24, 2019”.
Stone, who has been close to Trump for at least three decades, is due to appear before a Florida court at 11:00 am (1600 GMT).
“It has nothing to do with the president and certainly has nothing to do with the White House”, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told CNN.
CNN showed scenes from FBI agents showing their arms encircling Stone’s house before dawn.
According to a judicial document, “Stone secretly and publicly claims to have contacted the organization” in August 2016.
In October 2016, WikiLeaks published private messages pirated from the Democratic camp in order to influence the chances of Hillary Clinton’s election.
But WikiLeaks denies any direct contact with Stone.
The document added that Stone was a member of the Trump campaign team “until August 2015 and maintained constant contact with them and public support until 2016”.
“During the summer of 2016, Stone discussed with senior officials in the Trump’s campaign and the information it can obtain and will damage the Clinton campaign”, the document revealed.
Roger Stone denied in December 2018, any continuation during the presidential campaign with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
“I would never testify against Trump”.
This is a recent statement by Roger Stone, “I’m happy to see that some people remain steadfast”.
Stone, an informal adviser to Trump, is also accused of “taking action to block” investigations into Russian intervention in the 2016 US election.
He is also accused of making “many false statements” before the House Intelligence Committee about his contacts with WikiLeaks.
Mueller and his team have been trying for a year and a half to see whether there is collusion or cooperation between the Trump and Moscow campaign team in 2016.
The new accusation in these complex investigations is bad news for Trump, who has always denied any cooperation with Moscow.
So far, the investigations led by Mueller have not directly targeted Trump, but have led to multiple charges and convictions of advisers close to President 45 of the United States.
The former Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison for violating laws on campaign financing.
Paul Manafort, who was the Trump campaign manager, was found guilty of financial transactions linked to Ukraine ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Michael Flynn, a former Trump security adviser, admitted lying to investigators about his links with Russian officials.
Trump frequently criticizes the investigation and considers it a “chilling pursuit”, accusing Mueller of serving the Democrats.