South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday denounced the “media circus” of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and the tactics used to arrest Trump supporter Roger Stone at his Florida home.
Stone was arrested Friday as part of Mueller’s long-running probe into allegations that Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. Stone was indicted on charges of obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering related to comments he made and actions he took regarding the release of information by WikiLeaks in 2016, Fox News has reported.
Stone was arrested by multiple heavily armed agents.
A CNN film crew was there to record the event.
In response, Graham fired off a letter Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“I am concerned about the manner in which the arrest was effectuated, especially the number of agents involved, the tactics employed, the timing of the arrest, and whether the FBI released details of the arrest and the indictment to the press prior to providing this information to Mr. Stone’s attorneys,” Graham wrote.
Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted that he has supported Mueller’s freedom to take his investigation where it needed to go.
“I am leery that a subject of the Special Counsel’s investigation, who had retained counsel, had publicly stated that he believed that he would at some point be indicted, and was apparently willing to surrender voluntarily, was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at his home,” Graham wrote.
“Although I am sure these tactics would be standard procedure for the arrest of a violent offender, I have questions regarding their necessity in this case.”
My questions and full letter to the FBI Director about the tactics used in the arrest of Roger Stone. pic.twitter.com/y1s67DF3Yu
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 30, 2019
Graham then wondered whether the FBI contingent was for security or to grab yet more attention.
“The American public has had enough of the media circus that surrounds the Special Counsel’s investigation. Yet, the manner of this arrest appears to have only added to the spectacle,” he wrote.
To address his concerns he asked for a Senate Judiciary Committee briefing on the arrest, and included some specific questions he wanted addressed.
“Did the Special Counsel’s office issue a press release and release the indictment to the press prior to informing Mr. Stone’s attorneys of the arrest?” he asked.
How did CNN know Roger Stone was going to be arrested at 5am in pitch black darkness and was waiting there with cameras to capture it all before anyone else?
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 26, 2019
On Friday, CNN producer David Shortell told “New Day’s” Alisyn Camerota that it was just “reporter’s instinct” that a crew was present.
Graham’s letter made it clear he was not quite buying that claim.
“Did anyone at the FBI, DOJ, or the Special Counsel’s office alert CNN, any other media outlet, or anyone outside of law enforcement that the arrest was going to occur on the morning of January 25, 2019?” Graham wrote.
Graham’s letter came as Trump told The Daily Caller he was “speaking for a lot of people that were very disappointed to see that go down that way. To see it happen where it was on camera, on top of it. That was a very, very disappointing scene.”
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