‘Robert Mueller is coming for me’, Trump adviser sends email to raise funds for legal defense
By John Swaine | The Guardian | August 27, 2018
Roger Stone, the longtime associate of Donald Trump, has predicted that he may soon be indicted as part of Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In an email urging supporters to donate to his legal defence fund, the veteran Republican operative said he expected imminent action against him from the special counsel, who has secured a conviction and guilty pleas from other Trump allies.
“Robert Mueller is coming for me,” Stone wrote, before asserting that his name was next on what he called Mueller’s “hit list” of targets. Stone denied wrongdoing and said he faced legal peril simply because he had advised Trump for several decades.
Asked on Monday whether he expected criminal charges, Stone said in a text message that he believed Mueller “may frame me for some bogus charge in order to silence me or induce me to testify against the president”.
Stone, 66, has been known for his controversial campaign tactics since working on Richard Nixon’s notorious committee to re-elect the president in 1972. His former business partner and fellow Trump adviser, Paul Manafort, was last week convicted in Virginia of financial crimes and faces another trial in Washington next month.
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Stone has confirmed that he exchanged messages during the 2016 campaign with “Guccifer 2.0”, who publicly purported to be an independent hacker. Mueller alleges that Guccifer was in fact a front for Russian intelligence operatives who stole and leaked emails from senior Democrats, throwing the party into turmoil at the height of the 2016 campaign.
Several times during July 2016, Stone said that he thought Russia was behind the email hacking, before abruptly denying that this was the case. Stone also claimed to have communicated with Julian Assange, who published the Democratic emails through his site WikiLeaks, but later claimed to have been joking.
Mueller’s team has spent months looking into Stone’s circle of friends and aides. Several of them have testified to a grand jury, including Stone’s protege Sam Nunberg, his former social media adviser Jason Sullivan, and his housemate Kristin Davis. Prosecutors appear to be reviewing Stone’s actions during the 2016 campaign as well as his finances more generally.
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Davis, known as the “Manhattan madam” since once running a high-end prostitution service, has said she was asked about a tweet Stone posted in August 2016 predicting “it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel”. Emails stolen from the account of John Podesta, campaign chairman for Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, were subsequently published.
Nunberg told MSNBC earlier this month that he expects Stone to be indicted on “some broad charge that he was part of a conspiracy to defraud America” and that this would be combined with “a bunch of financial charges”.
Another Stone associate, Andrew Miller, has been held in contempt of court after refusing to comply with a subpoena from Mueller’s team. Miller, who ran political action committees for Stone and initially cooperated with Mueller’s inquiry, is appealing against the ruling and may take his case to the supreme court. He claims Mueller’s appointment is unconstitutional.