screengrab from https://youtu.be/dWTzCNY7_YY
Early this morning, long time Trump crony Roger Stone was arrested by the FBI on a federal arrest warrant that charged him with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering (read it here). This is the scene:
There are few things notable about this.
First, there is actually a SWAT team, complete with automatic weapons, employed to make this arrest. This if for a 67-year-old man with no criminal record, no history of violence, and no passport on a bunch of hardcore chickensh** charges.
Second, like the Manafort arrest, this was carried out in a way calculated to cause maximum inconvenience and spectacle.
Third, somehow CNN had a camera crew pre-positioned at the scene for exclusive video.
This is quintessential Mueller, or perhaps I should say Weissmann. They’ve picked their target and now they are out to extract maximum humiliation and pain as a way of making their prey plead guilty and, as part of the guilty plea, they won’t be allowed to complain about the way they were treated. It is bullying. It is modeled on now the CHEKA, the NKVD, and KGB operated.
I am not a law enforcement officer but I can read policies by law enforcement agencies and see that this was far outside the circumstances that would justify Mueller’s office not simply calling Stone’s attorney and arranging for him to surrender. Stone was released on $250,OOO bail (showing the judge doesn’t think this is much of a crime and Stone isn’t a flight risk), he is allowed to travel to New York, DC, Florida, and Virginia (all of this implies that he is allowed to use air travel and the judge doesn’t think he’s a flight risk), and Stone doesn’t have a passport (did I mention he’s not a flight risk). The FBI did not, as far as I can tell, serve a search warrant and the indictment is not something that involves evidence that could be destroyed.
— reason (@reason) January 25, 2019
This was simply Mueller’s office not liking a particular defendant and doing this to try to humiliate him (I don’t think they know their man all that well).
Then we get to the second part: How did CNN get the word? Greta Van Susteren hit the nail on the head earlier today before she went into the fetal position and starting crying when she was criticized:
CNN cameras were at the raid of Roger Stone…so FBI obviously tipped off CNN…even if you don’t like Stone, it is curious why Mueller’s office tipped off CNN instead of trying to quietly arrest Stone;quiet arrests are more likely to be safe to the FBI and the person arrested
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) January 25, 2019
Of course, the were tipped off by the FBI. If you want a good guess at the source, it isn’t all that hard to figure out.
After van Susteren was beaten into submission, CNN floated their explanation.
Then Jim Sciutto:
No. Our reporters who cover this story everyday noticed unusual activity at Grand Jury and went to his home. That’s good journalism, which I know you respect. Not a tip. And anyone who covers Mueller knows Mueller’s office does not tip. https://t.co/H3guIr94uK
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 25, 2019
And this guy who apparently works at CNN:
The FBI didn't tip off CNN about Roger Stone's arrest. Here's the backstory on how good instincts and old-fashioned shoe leather led to the exclusive video today: https://t.co/DRhj5HrBIj
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) January 25, 2019
Does anyone believe this crap? Any of it?
And that led to this epic exchange:
This was catnip to CNN’s rotund spinmeister Brian “Tater” Stelter
You're revealing your ignorance about the news business again. This is how newsgathering works.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 25, 2019
In retrospect, not a good move.
Sean’s right. There is no ding on CNN if the FBI did tip them off. I can’t imagine any news organization turning down that exclusive. The problem here is how deeply corrupted Mueller’s investigation has become and how it is now clearly focused on simply inflicting pain because it knows it is ending and it didn’t find anything substantive. I find Stone and Manafort to be odious and detestable beings who should spend the rest of their lives in prison. But I also believe that Mueller’s team has acted in such a disgraceful manner that I really hope Trump pardons everyone they’ve indicted…including the freakin Russians.
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