Roger Stone arrest: Washington reacts to explosive indictment - 'Interesting to see who Trump surrounds himself with'

Republicans largely rallied behind the president while Democrats used the indictment as an example of Mr Trump's judgement

Clark Mindock
New York
Friday 25 January 2019 18:02 GMT
Roger Stone: 'I will plead not guilty'

The attorney for Donald Trump's longtime adviser Roger Stone claims his client has been “vindicated” of any Russian collusion - hours after FBI agents stormed the political adviser’s home.

Mr Stone has been arrested and charged on seven counts, including witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his actions related to WikiLeaks revelations.

But his lawyer Grant Smith said the moves had, in fact, vindicated him: “They found no Russian collusion or they would have charged him with it. Roger Stone is vindicated by the fact there was no Russian collusion".

The reaction of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was swift. Appearing on CNN on Fridady, she said: “My first reaction is real simple: This has nothing to do with the president, and certainly nothing to do with the White House".

In December, Donald Trump praised Stone for his “guts” after he said: “I will never testify against Trump.”

Many right-of-centre commentators drew attention to the scale of the FBI arrest operation, which saw several agents fan out across Stone’s lawn with guns drawn.

Lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a frequent defender of Mr Trump, told Fox News that he thought the move was for show, and potentially to FBI typically calls a defendant’s attorney and ask them to bring a defendant in.

Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and frequent antagonist of the president, chimed in on Twitter to suggest that the president would have been the one to order members of the campaign to seek illegally obtained material from the Russians.

"Dear [Ms Sanders] It is reported that Steve Bannon was the ... official who WAS DIRECTED to contact to get Clinton info from Wikileaks", Mr Lieu wrote. "If true, who could have directed Bannon? Wouldn't have been Melania. That doesn't leave too many more suspects, does it?"

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had a quick statement on the indictment and the arrest, saying simply that the arrest suggests that Mr Trump surrounds himself with shady characters.

"It is very interesting to see the kinds of people that the president of the United States has surrounded himself with," Ms Pelosi told reporters

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