During a Justice Department oversight hearing on Friday, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker delved into the “deeply concerning” revelation that a team of CNN reporters were somehow present at the early morning FBI raid and arrest of former Trump associate Roger Stone on January 25.
“It was deeply concerning to me as to how CNN found out about that,” Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee.
CNN, a network often hostile to President Donald Trump, posted “exclusive footage” from Stone’s Ft. Lauderdale residence at around 6:30 a.m. on the Friday morning the 66-year-old was raided by nearly 30 armed FBI agents.
“Watch exclusive CNN footage of the FBI arresting longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. Stone has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller,” boasted a tweet from the network.
“The court had a sealed indictment that after Mr. Stone’s arrest was unsealed,” explained Whitaker, according to The Daily Caller. “Consistent with all its prior indictments, the DOJ’s basic policy for transparency in criminal cases is that the indictment is posted on the DOJ website, probably after it is unsealed, and then media outlets were notified.”
“I do not know of any other special counsel’s office notice or DOJ notice to media outlets regarding Mr. Stone’s indictment, or his arrest,” the acting AG added.
As suspicions grew over an apparent tip-off to the network, a CNN producer amazingly claimed their team of reporters were at Stone’s residence at that time due to “reporter’s instinct.”
“It’s reporter’s instinct,” said CNN producer David Shortell, as reported by The Washington Examiner. “The whole Russia team thought maybe something was happening.”
“There was some unusual grand jury activity in Washington, D.C. yesterday,” said Shortell. “Robert Mueller’s grand jury typically meets on Fridays. Yesterday, Thursday, there was grand jury activity.”
“We also had some other signs that maybe something was going on this angle, the Roger Stone angle,” the producer added. “So we showed up at his house this morning, we were the only ones there, and lo and behold, the FBI agents did come.”
“Stone has been indicted on seven counts: five counts of making false statements, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction. None of the charges include conspiring with Russian agents or WikiLeaks; instead, they are charges related to the process of the investigation, as is the case with most of the charges thus far brought by Mueller,” reported The Daily Wire on January 25.
The Stone indictment “provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates were aware in the summer of 2016 that emails had been stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign and wanted them released. It alleges that unnamed senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when the stolen emails might be disclosed,” reported the Associated Press, adding, “The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. … Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment.”