While most media outlets focus their attention on the continuing shambles that is Brexit, over in the USA the investigation headed by Special Counsel Rober Mueller has been inexorably rumbling on towards its conclusion. And today’s instalment of Mueller Time featured Roger Stone, best known as being (a) a serial teller of tall tales, (b) a close pal of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, and (c) also a pal of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage.
Squeaky FBI knock at the door finger up the bum time
Stone, whose involvement in political dirty tricks Stateside began with the re-election of Richard Nixon in 1972, was arrested this morning by the FBI. Someone tipped off CNN - Trump’s least-liked broadcaster - so the event was captured on video. So far, so routine, but it is who else the Stone arrest may drag in that will interest observers in the UK.
As the BBC has reported, “The indictment includes one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness-tampering. The charges are linked to an alleged Russian-led hack into the emails of Democratic Party officials. The information contained in the emails was released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 US presidential election campaign”. And there was more.
“Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta, who was targeted in the email hack, accused Mr Stone of knowing about it beforehand. More than a month before the emails were made public, Mr Stone tweeted it would soon be Mr Podesta's ‘time in a barrel’, which some critics say was a reference to his prior knowledge of the hack”.
Worst Naked Gun reboot ever
Vox takes up the Wikileaks angle. “As October  began, Stone took on a new role - as WikiLeaks’ hype man. He again claimed inside knowledge, saying a ‘friend’ of his met with Assange and learned ‘the mother lode is coming Wednesday.’ He tweeted: ‘Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.’ And when nothing came on Wednesday, Stone tweeted, ‘Libs thinking Assange will stand down are wishful thinking. Payload coming. #Lockthemup.’ Assange published the Podesta emails two days later”.
Also, as Mother Jones observed, “Nigel Farage, the British politician who led the Brexit movement in Great Britain, is a ‘person of interest’ in the FBI investigation of interactions between Trump associates and the Russian government. The [Guardian] reported that Farage was under FBI scrutiny because he had relationships with both the Trump camp and WikiLeaks”. And then came the Wikileaks back channel.
Carole Cadwalladr at the Observer noted that Stone “told a local CBS reporter about ‘a back-channel communication with Assange, because we have a good mutual friend … that friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk’. Asked directly by the Observer if Nigel Farage was that friend, his spokesman said: ‘Definitely not.’”
But Farage was caught trying to sneak in and out of the Ecuadorian embassy - where Assange is holed up. And, as Kyle Griffin has pointed out, “CNBC is reporting that, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, one of the senior Trump campaign officials who reached out to Roger Stone was Steve Bannon”.
And if Farage is not the “UK-based associate” named in the Stone indictment, then who is? I’ve said before that Farage was in line for getting his collar felt. The Stone arrest brings that point closer. We may be breaking out the popcorn very soon.
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