Move comes as president faces intense scrutiny after the arrest of key ally Roger Stone in Mueller’s Russia inquiry
All right, folks. Thanks for tuning in on an eventful day. The East Coast team will be back bright and early tomorrow with the latest:
Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime adviser who was arrested, indicted and released earlier today, has just spoken to a sympathetic Tucker Carlson on Fox News. He said he was a “little tired”, but glad to be on the show.
Stone said his early-morning arrest by the FBI was unnecessary:
I had no firearm in the house. I don’t have a permit for a firearm. I don’t own a firearm. Only my wife, three dogs and two cats were at home … I’m not a flight risk … Frankly, they could have just contacted my attorney, and I would have voluntarily turned myself in.
It’s disconcerting that CNN was aware that I would be arrested before my lawyers were informed, so that’s disturbing.
This is about silencing me. There’s a war on alternative media … There’s a war where they’re trying to criminalize free speech … I intend to plead not guilty. I believe I will be vindicated … The press is not coming out and standing up against this war against free expression.
I’m in for the fight of my life. I will not quit. I will not fold. I will not bend … I’m 66 years old, and I’m essentially broke … Every dollar I scrape up has to go this fight.
Yahoo News is reporting that “two sources with direct knowledge” of the Vermont senator’s plans say that Bernie Sanders is set to announce that he will run for president in 2020.
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, was a frontrunner in the 2016 Democratic primary before ultimately conceding to Hillary Clinton. He gained massive popularity during this time, and remains one of the country’s most well-known politicians.
No decision is imminent. Enjoy your weekend. https://t.co/v3tMRxztsP
Mr. Stone, during his time as a student at George Washington University, was a junior scheduler on the Nixon reelection committee. Mr. Stone was not a campaign aide or adviser. Nowhere in the Presidential Daily Diaries from 1972 to 1974 does the name “Roger Stone” appear. 2/2
Brutal. Even the Nixon Library is pulling an “I don’t know her” with Roger Stone. https://t.co/msIQzOR1LP
Multiple US executive branch websites and email servers have been hit in an attack that altered the domain name system records and have redirected and intercepted web and mail traffic, Ars Technica reported Friday.
The Department of Homeland Security issued an emergency directive about the attack, directing administrators to audit their public domain name system records, update their passwords, and implement multi-factor authentication for all accounts.
Roger Stone’s television tour continues.
Roger Stone will be on with Chris Cuomo tonight @ 9pm.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Elliott Abrams as a new special envoy to Venezuela. The move follows President Trump’s decision to recognize the country’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as interim president.
.@SecPompeo announced today that Elliott Abrams will lead @StateDept efforts on #Venezuela to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country. #EstamosUnidosVE pic.twitter.com/iUFHnRhi8x
President Trump’s right-wing base reacts to the reopening of the government:
Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.
Trump’s Problem: Approval rating sank to 37% during government shutdown
Trump’s Solution: Sign CR with NO wall funding, alienating the ‘base’ that makes up 35 of that 37%
Who told him that alienating the base would be the way to fix that problem? Seems like basic arithmetic
Much of Trump’s base is in complete meltdown over his Rose Garden speech right now.
Beto O’Rourke is still mulling over whether he wants to throw his hat into an already very crowded ring and run for president in 2020, Politico reports.
And the former Texas congressman has no real idea of when he might be ready to make that decision.
Hey all, Vivian Ho on the West Coast taking over for Erin Durkin. Well, today has been … a day. Stay tuned for what happens next.
The House and Senate will vote today on the bill to reopen the government and fund it for three weeks, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said.
“Hopefully now the president has learned his lesson, “ Schumer said.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Have I not been clear on the wall? I have been very clear on the wall.” Translation: On or after Feb 15, it’s highly likely we will be back where we were yesterday and President Trump will have to decide whether he wants to declare a national emergency.
The Republican candidate in the nation’s last undecided congressional election says he’s in the hospital recovering from infections attacking his internal organs, the Associated Press reports:
Mark Harris said in a Facebook statement Friday that what he called “a relatively uncommon form of strep bacteria” infected his bloodstream and liver. The post’s authenticity was confirmed by campaign spokesman Jason Williams.
Harris said his health scare began more than a week ago with what his doctor initially thought was bronchitis. He says his health is improving with rest and fluids.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who three weeks ago said it would be “the end of his presidency” if Donald Trump signed a government funding bill without wall money, now has a different take.
Hope Congress – in a bipartisan fashion – will work with the President and take advantage of this moment.
Last best chance to take a major step toward fixing broken borders and a broken immigration system.
Thank you Mr. President.
Let’s make this a win-win for America!
“He’s not going to sign a bill that doesn’t have money for the wall… if he gives in now, that’s the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective president. That’s probably the end of his presidency.”
– Lindsey Graham, January 2
House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff says the committee will send special counsel Robert Mueller full transcripts of all interviews in the committee’s investigation into Russian election interference.
Roger Stone, arrested today, was the second person charged with lying to the committee. Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to the Congressional committee.
Most significant in the Stone indictment is new info that a senior campaign official was “directed” in July 2016 to contact Mr. Stone about additional Wikileaks releases.
This was at same time candidate Trump was publicly calling for Russia’s help in obtaining Clinton’s emails. pic.twitter.com/wtDDmHwyWt
Richard Ojeda of West Virginia has ended his campaign for president just ten days after he quit his seat in the state Senate in order to make a White House run.
So, uh, Richard Ojeda left his state senate seat to concentrate on running for president. TEN DAYS later he quit the presidential race. In the meantime, WV’s GOP governor replaced him with a more conservative senator. https://t.co/lMINPeoUed
What could be behind Donald Trump’s sudden willingness to fund the government for a few weeks without money for a border wall?
There’s today’s air travel trouble, with flights at three major East Coast airports delayed because of a shortage of air traffic controllers. It’s been called a tipping point in American’s willingness to tolerate the shutdown.
.@HallieJackson on ground stop and air delays: That may be the tipping point. Sources have been indicating that that may be what it takes on day 35 of the shutdown.
Say what you want about Roger Stone but it looks like he got the federal government running again.
Rep. Mark Meadows, head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, won’t oppose the funding bill, according to NBC News.
House Freedom Chair Mark Meadows doesn’t oppose this 3wk CR – even though he did in December and was adamant the President not sign the CR to avert a shutdown – but also says executive action under consideration pic.twitter.com/XFoHkeYea8
Right wing commentator Ann Coulter is not pleased with Donald Trump’s decision to re-open the government without the border wall money he demanded.
Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell expresses his support for the resolution to re-open the government for three weeks.
INBOX: McConnell Supports President’s Plan to Re-open the Government pic.twitter.com/TioNkQCDxP
Here’s Trump’s full speech on ending the government shutdown.
Chuck Schumer has just been speaking on the Senate floor. He sounds positive.
“I believe there is good faith on both sides” to achieve an agreement, Schumer says. Both House and Senate will be involved.
How pathetic. On Dec. 19, the Senate unanimously passed essentially the same legislation that we will vote on today. We are back to exactly where we started. Thank you, Mr. President, for shutting down the government and holding 800,000 federal employees hostage. All for nothing!
Let’s not forget this. Untold numbers of people will never recover 4 weeks of lost pay. https://t.co/QJ6xhmqyMe
Art of the Deal: hold out 35 days to end up where you could have been on Day 1. Only you’ve pissed off the opposition and let down your allies and killed your poll numbers
A shutdown that lasted 35 days for no wall funding.
•Donald Trump has agreed to reopen the government, without receiving any money for his border wall. It brings to an end a 35-day shutdown which has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay.
•Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said he was “very proud” to end the 35-day shutdown. But he held out the potential for a national emergency, saying: “I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn’t want to use it at this time.”
We’re into Trump rally territory now.
America has “the strongest economy in the whole world”, Trump says. We have the lowest employment numbers ever. Companies are moving back to the US.
TelePrompTer has now frozen as Trump does extended riff on duct taped women,’accounts that trafficking experts say aren’t grounded in reality.
Trump says he has “seen and heard from enough Democrats and Republicans that they are willing to put partnership aside, I think, and put the security of the american people first”.
But any suggestions of bipartisanship go out the window as Trump sets off on a hardsell of his much-desired wall.
Trump strides up to the lectern in the Rose Garden.
“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump says.
Trump is currently running 40 minutes late. His team has gathered though. (Outside, in the cold.)
Mike Pompeo and Kirstjen Nielsen laughing and joking on the edge of the rose garden. Ben Carson, Elaine Chao, Wilbur Ross and others also gathered.
Polling news: 58% of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump’s performance as president, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News survey.
According to the poll just 37% of respondents approve of the job Trump is doing, while 53% blame Trump and congressional Republicans for the shutdown. 34% blame Pelosi and Democrats.
Our man David Smith is waiting for Donald Trump’s speech at the White House rose garden, where he’s caught a glimpse of Trump’s deputy communications chief.
In the White House rose garden. Spotted: Bill Shine. pic.twitter.com/MwI56b0aTX
Roger Stone will be back on TV the night of his arrest and indictment.
Roger STONE will be on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show tonight at 8pm.
FBI director Christopher Wray, addressing bureau staff in a video, says of the government shutdown: “It takes a lot to get me angry, but I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time.”
WOW from FBI Director Wray: “Tons of you are feeling the anxiety and the emotional strain of this shutdown. And 100% of you are feeling the financial strain…It takes a lot to get me angry, but I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time.”https://t.co/ZXFIUuJEQa
The Washington Post reports that the impending deal will reopen the government for three weeks with no wall money:
Congressional leaders, Trump have reached a tentative deal to temporarily reopen the government without wall funds, according to Hill officials.
With President Trump’s approval, the pact would reopen the government for three weeks while leaving the issue of $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall to further talks.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirms that Donald Trump will make remarks about the shutdown in the Rose Garden at 1:30.
The President will make remarks regarding the shutdown in the Rose Garden today at 1:30pm. This will be an open press event.
The indictment against Roger Stone features some particularly colorful exchanges between Stone and Randy Credico, a comedian, gadfly, and frequent also-ran candidate for office in New York.
Delicious portrait of honor among thieves from the Stone indictment, as Stone bullies Person 2 not to testify—threatens to “take that dog away from you”: pic.twitter.com/srCcyzxzpy
Having your text message threatening someone with “I guarantee you are the one who gets indicted” IN YOUR INDICTMENT https://t.co/sFNLqnBJ54
It’s also wonderfully cinematic that Roger Stone decided to invoke “The Godfather” and Frankie Five Angels’ decision to lie to Congress to protect Michael Corleone: pic.twitter.com/wtLw3CSVdV
Here’s Randy Credico with his dog, Bianca, who is mentioned in the Stone indictment pic.twitter.com/mmuJDIpyl6
CBS News is reporting that Donald Trump is expected to support a short-term funding bill to reopen the government, without money for a border wall. It may last two or three weeks.
Senior administration officials expect @realDonaldTrump to endorse short-term funding bill to reopen government in next hour. Final details being worked out in WH convos now. Unclear if 2 or 3 weeks. Border debate will continue. Stress on Govt systems was increasing.
The Drudge Report is reporting that an agreement has been reached to end the government shutdown, and an announcement is expected at 1pm.
Drudge says that the government will re-open “temporarily.”
Roger Stone has said he will not “bear false witness” against Donald Trump during a news conference outside court.
Speaking before a mix of reporters and protestors – chants of “lock him up” could clearly be heard – Stone said:
To chants of “lock him up” and “traitor” from protestors, Roger Stone emerges to address the medua pic.twitter.com/UVHsLnvj7v
Roger Stone has apparently called into InfoWars, the website-cum-radio show of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
The InfoWars website seems to be having some problems, so I couldn’t listen in. But Paul Joseph Watson, InfoWars editor-at-large and noted crank, says Stone told the website:
Stone says just before 6am 29 agents burst into home w weapons, allowed him to dress, scared death out of his wife, taken to FBI Miami Dade, where he says agents treated him very well, then did bond hearing – shackled hands and feet – Special Counsel and US atty there, $250k bail https://t.co/HyKA5Fmmlt
Of course, Roger Stone wasn’t the only Trump ally appearing in federal court this morning.
Around the same time Stone was shuffling into Fort Lauderdale court in chains, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was in the US District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington DC.
His eyes tired and his hair streaked with grey, Paul Manafort looked morose and walked gingerly, with a limp, during his first court appearance in months on Friday.
The former Donald Trump campaign chairman, imprisoned in Virginia as he awaits sentencing, wore a suit and was not handcuffed during the hour-long hearing at the US District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, which focused mainly on procedure.
This is from Guardian reporter Richard Luscombe, who was in court to witness Stone’s appearance this morning:
Shackled at the waist and hands, Roger Stone shuffled into federal court in Fort Lauderdale for a 10-minute hearing that ended with his release on bond.
His hair still disheveled from his 6am wake up call courtesy of a heavily armed FBI squad, Stone looked a sorry figure dressed in a blue polo shirt and pants.
News coming thick and fast this morning. Stone has just been released on a $250,000 bond.
According to CBS Evening News Stone will have travel restrictions “that would only allow him to travel to court appearances in Florida, Washington DC or New York”.
The president speaks:
Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?
Roger Stone has arrived at court in Fort Lauderdale. An official outside the court just told reporters there that Stone will speak outside in 45 minutes to an hour.
“He’s wearing a blue polo, and has disheveled hair,” according to CNN, who add that “the gallery is overflowing”.
Senator Mark R Warner, the Democratic vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says Stone’s contacts with WikiLeaks, “happened at least with the full knowledge of, and appear to have been encouraged by, the highest levels of the Trump campaign”.
“It appears Stone also lied to Congress and tampered with witnesses in order to obstruct these investigations into the Trump campaign – yet another example of senior Trump officials concealing the truth about their Russia-related contacts during the 2016 election,” Warner said in a statement:
Roger Stone has been indicted for covering up his engagements with Wikileaks, an organization that U.S. intelligence officials and the Senate Intelligence Committee have publicly designated as a hostile intelligence service, regarding the public release of emails stolen by the Russian government. It is clear from this indictment that those contacts happened at least with the full knowledge of, and appear to have been encouraged by, the highest levels of the Trump campaign.
Roger Stone and Donald Trump have known each other for nearly forty years. Mr. Stone played a key role in recruiting Paul Manafort to run the Trump campaign, and he publicly claimed on several occasions to remain in regular contact with then-candidate Trump throughout the 2016 presidential race, even after he formally departed the Trump campaign. It appears Stone also lied to Congress and tampered with witnesses in order to obstruct these investigations into the Trump campaign – yet another example of senior Trump officials concealing the truth about their Russia-related contacts during the 2016 election.
This statement is from Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president. Apparently there’s nothing to see here:
“The indictment today does not allege Russian collusion by Roger Stone or anyone else. Rather, the indictment focuses on alleged false statements made to Congress.”
Staff shortages are also causing delays at Philadelphia and Newark airports, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA website says there is a minimum one hour delay at both airports.
I just called the FAA press office but got this message: “Due to the lapse in federal funding we are unable to respond to your call.”
JUST IN: FAA releases statement amid air traffic delays at LGA, EWR, PHL; agency says it has “experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities” https://t.co/jzYjmherf9 pic.twitter.com/HPDTCEfM9d
Air control traffic staffing issues, likely caused by the government shutdown, are causing delays at New York’s LaGuardia airport this morning.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the airport is experiencing ground delays and departure delays due to what it says are “staffing” problems.
BREAKING: FAA says it is halting flights into New York’s LaGuardia airport due to air traffic control staffing issues. https://t.co/jn8limUSe7
Nancy Pelosi speaks! Per the Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis.
>@SpeakerPelosi comments upon entering Capitol this morning:
On Stone… “It’s very interesting to see the kinds of people that the president of the United States has surrounded himself with.”
On shutdown talks… “We’ll see what happens today.” pic.twitter.com/GIKlznLQyh
Paul Manafort has arrived in court in Washington DC, according to our reporter on the scene. US district judge Amy Berman Jackson will be presiding, we’ll have news as it develops. Robert Mueller has alleged Manafort continued to lie to investigators after agreeing a plea deal.
Donald Trump representative Rudy Giuliani has downplayed the Stone arrest in an interview with the Washington Post. The former mayor and current bungler has told other outlets that Trump’s lawyers will be releasing a statement soon.
“Another false statement case? God almighty,” Giuliani tells WashPost, when asked about what the indictment reveals about the Mueller probe. “I thought they were taking all this time with Stone to try to develop something on him, not to have a lot about ‘I don’t remember this.'”
Giuliani declined to discuss the indictment’s mention of a Trump campaign official being directed to contact Stone and said he wanted to “go back and read that again, and then get back to you.”
Meanwhile, in Fox News world:
Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted yet this morning, which is rare. But Trump posted this back in December. We might soon find out if it holds true.
“I will never testify against Trump.” This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about “President Trump.” Nice to know that some people still have “guts!”
• Roger Stone, a longtime Donald Trump ally, has been charged with obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
• The indictment alleges that Stone spoke to senior Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks “and information it might have had that would be damaging to the [Hillary] Clinton campaign”.
The Stone indictment potentially implicates Donald Trump in Russian collusion.
The indictment describes a senior Trump campaign official being “directed” to contact Stone regarding releases damaging to the Clinton campaign:
After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by Organization 1, a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases.
This is from MSNBC journalist Kyle Griffin. The Stone indictment alleges that Stone communicated with “senior Trump campaign officials” regarding “Organization 1” – widely acknowledged to be WikiLeaks.
Stone discussed the information Organization 1 “might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign” with Trump campaign officials, according to Robert Mueller.
CNBC is reporting that, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, one of the senior Trump campaign officials who reached out to Roger Stone was Steve Bannon. https://t.co/jaywDTcDdz
So the day hasn’t started well for Donald Trump. But it could get worse. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, is also due in court later on.
Manafort will face accusations in Washington DC that he lied to Robert Mueller after agreeing to cooperate with the special counsel’s office.
“Mueller, arrest me!”
Be careful what you wish for…
This aged well for you, Roger Stone
The Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone caused quite a splash when it aired in 2017. The film examined Stone’s pervasive influence in Republican politics over several decades.
Stone has had a perma-tanned hand in just about every nefarious deed carried out by the forces of the American conservative movement in the past half century, from Watergate right up to the election of perhaps the least qualified man in history to hold the office of US president. He also practically invented the modern political attack ad and engaged in the dirtiest of dirty tricks. There’s a reason Stone has the acquired the eye-opening nickname, “Ratfucker”.
In an early morning exclusive, CNN were already outside Roger Stone’s house in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when FBI agents arrived. A reporter on the scene said on air that there had been some unexpected grand jury activity relating to Stone in Washington DC, yesterday. A so-called grand jury is often convened in big cases in the US, typically of 23 people selected to hear evidence in camera and examine the strength of allegations against a suspect or suspects before a case proceeds to trial.
The cable news channel had personnel at the house in the pre-dawn hours when a large team of FBI agents arrived and fanned out silently across the lawn in front of Stone’s house. After they banged on the front door, a light went on upstairs and after some moments, Stone appeared at the door. He was apparently dressed in some form of “sleepwear”, according to the CNN team on the ground, although he was partially obscured by armed and armored agents swarming the home.
Here’s exclusive footage from CNN showing FBI agents arriving to arrest Stone. An agent can be heard banging on the door and shouting: “It’s FBI. Open the door.”
“FBI. Open the door.”
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. https://t.co/5QHKDB2mfA pic.twitter.com/UeKo7CmXWo
Politico’s Kyle Cheney is tweeting some of the most damning accusations from Stone’s indictment.
Indictment also shows Stone tried to get Randy CREDICO to mislead Congress too. And he made a Godfather reference to do it. pic.twitter.com/54QO6MMMYL
This is the business-like press release sent from the special counsel’s office to reporters on Friday.
“Roger Jason Stone, Jr, 66, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was arrested in Fort Lauderdale today following an indictment by a federal grand jury on Jan. 24, 2019, in the District of Columbia,” the statement reads.
The Guardian’s Jon Swaine has been covering the Russia collusion inquiry and sends this background on Stone’s situation.
Stone, 66, has been a friend of Trump’s for decades and served as an informal adviser to the president’s successful campaign for the White House. He was also involved in creating campaign groups that supported Trump’s bid with outside spending.
He confirmed he exchanged messages during the 2016 campaign with “Guccifer 2.0”, who publicly purported to be an independent hacker. Mueller’s team alleges that Guccifer was in fact a front for Russian intelligence officers who stole and leaked emails from senior Democrats, throwing the party into turmoil at the height of the 2016 campaign.
CNN had reporters outside Stone’s house when he was arrested. It appears to have been quite a scene, with officers carrying “heavy weapons” descending on the Fort Lauderdale property.
A number of law enforcement vehicles with silent sirens flashing pulled in front of Stone’s home on a darkened Fort Lauderdale street just after 6 am. Friday morning. About a dozen officers with heavy weapons and tactical vests fanned out across Stone’s lawn. Law enforcement shined a flashlight into Stone’s front door before one officer rapped against it, shouting, “FBI. Open the door.” Seconds later, the agent shouted, “FBI. Warrant.”
A floor light turned on and moments later, Stone appeared in the front entryway. He confirmed who he was to law enforcement.
Roger Stone, a longtime ally of Donald Trump, has been arrested on seven charges, special counsel Robert Mueller’ office has announced.
The charges include witness tampering, obstruction and giving false testimony, according to the indictment.