Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced on Friday an indictment handed down by Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation which accused a dozen Russian intelligence officials of interfering and meddling in the 2016 election, specifically with regard to the “hack” and dissemination of information obtained from the Democratic National Committee server.
Long-time friend and associate of President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, admitted to CNN that he suspected he was “probably” one of the “unnamed” Americans that was mentioned in the indictment.
Rosenstein made clear in the announcement that no American citizens were accused or indicted of being directly involved in the “hack” of the DNC or any other criminal activity, though there were unnamed Americans who may have unwittingly played a role or engaged in conversation with the wrongdoers.
A small part of a big controversy
Stone had initially denied having any involvement whatsoever in the activities laid out in the indictment, but later shifted course, and admitted that he may have had an “innocuous” conversation with a person or entity that has now been labeled a front for Russian intelligence.
Stone told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that his reversal in thinking came after he had taken the time to actually read the entire indictment, and noticed a familiar exchange of messages mentioned that he had been a part of.
“Earlier today, before I had a chance to read the indictment, I wasn’t sure… but I certainly acknowledge that I was in touch with Trump campaign officials and I have testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that I certainly had a 24-word exchange with a persona ‘Guccifer 2.0’ over Twitter direct messages,” Stone said.
He added: “Any objective person who reads that exchange — which is included in the indictment — will see that based on content, context and timing, it’s benign, it’s innocuous, so in that respect I probably am the person referred to.”
A turn of events
Cuomo then pressed that Stone had flatly “denied” being involved in the matter after previously disclosing the conversation.
But Stone pushed back, explaining that he had merely misunderstood initial reports that had emerged prior to his actual reading of the indictment.
Stone later added that he would like to see the charged Russians extradited to the U.S. so they could stand trial, at which point the “hacked” DNC server could be examined as evidence and the charges proven or disproven.
Roger Stone may very well have been in contact with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 election, but they certainly didn’t identify themselves as such and Stone really had no way of knowing the true identities of the online personas he conversed with briefly.
However, as the indictment made clear, Stone has not been charged with any sort of crime, nor has any other member or associate of President Donald Trump’s team, and the media’s incessant narrative of “collusion” has taken yet another devastating blow.