Mueller Team, FBI Suspected of Leaking Roger Stone’s Arrest to CNN
CNN reporter who camped outside Stone's house claims 'reporter's instinct'
Investigators within Robert Mueller's Russia probe team and the FBI have come under suspicion of leaking information to CNN ahead of Roger Stone's arrest after the news network had a reporter camping outside the political operative's home when federal agents took him into custody early on Friday morning.
David Shortell, CNN's crime and justice producer, said on Friday that the network camped outside Trump ally Stone's house with a camera crew after “noticing unusual grand jury activity” related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation the previous day.
According to Shortell, "reporter's instinct" led them to the conclusion that this "unusual" activity meant that Roger Stone was about to be arrested by the FBI.
CNN producer @davidgshortell describes the moment Roger Stone was taken into custody by the FBI. The longtime Donald Trump associate has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller https://t.co/wUJEIkKDTw pic.twitter.com/AJ3JWWSHs3— CNN (@CNN) January 25, 2019
A partial transcript is as follows:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Tell us everything that transpired this morning.
DAVID SHORTELL: Alisyn, an extraordinary morning. We were here since 5:00 a.m. waiting for whatever was going to happen. It was dark. 6:00 a.m., just after the hour, about a half dozen police vehicles with sirens, but no sounds, pull in front of this Fort Lauderdale home, where Roger Stone was presumably asleep. The lights were off in the house. About a dozen officers, FBI agents wearing tactical vests and with large weapons fanned out across his front lawn. One went up to the house and rapped on the door, shined a flashlight inside, said “FBI, open the door.” Moments later, as you heard in the video, it say “FBI warrant,” that’s what the agent said. We then saw a light go on the second floor and moments later, there was Roger Stone in the doorway.
CAMEROTA: What’s so fascinating is that we’ve talked to his attorney, the attorney didn’t know it was coming. Clearly, Roger Stone didn’t know this was coming. You were staked out at his house, you didn’t know that this was coming. Why were you there in position?
SHORTELL: Alisyn, it’s a reporter’s instinct. The whole Russia team thought maybe something was happening. There was unusual grand jury activity in Washington, D.C. yesterday. The grand jury, Robert Mueller’s grand jury, typically meets on Friday — yesterday, a Thursday, there was grand jury activity. We also had some other signs that maybe something was going on this angle, the Roger Stone angle. So we showed up at his house this morning, we were the only ones there, and, lo and behold, the FBI agents did come and arrest him.
President Trump responded to the news by questioning whether someone tipped off CNN to be present at the exact time and location that his former associate Roger Stone was arrested.
“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?” Trump posted to Twitter Friday.
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
According to Washington Examiner, just after 6 a.m. Friday, armed FBI agents raided Stone’s Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home, claiming to have a warrant.
Stone was taken into custody and indicted on seven charges, including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress.
A CNN camera crew was there to capture the moment when the FBI agents descended on Stone’s home and banged on his door yelling, “FBI, open the door. FBI, warrant.”
CNN producer David Shortell credited "reporter's instinct" for why he and a camera crew were staked out at Stone's home.
"The whole Russia team thought maybe something was happening" because of "unusual grand jury activity in Washington, D.C.," Shortell said Friday.
CNN's @davidgshortell was on the ground when Roger Stone was arrested in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., this morning. He says he was monitoring the situation because of "unusual grand jury activity in Washington D.C. yesterday." https://t.co/Ljjyb8zTVN pic.twitter.com/O5rSFqbOcZ— New Day (@NewDay) January 25, 2019
Trump said that Stone was being treated worse than those entering the country illegally from the southern border.
The dozen agents who arrested Stone and surrounded his home are not currently being paid in light of the continuing government shutdown — a shutdown that continues because Democrats will not agree to pass a bill that includes money to build a border wall.
Trump maintains that a border wall is needed to ensure national security and stop drug dealers and human traffickers from easily entering the U.S.