Roger Stone Investigation Heats Up
The investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters now appears to have put additional pressure on key figureheads, who may have had more of a role than they are willing to admit.
In February, the Department of Justice and the FBI began an investigation into “high-profile right-wing figures” that may have played a role in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. According to sources familiar with the investigation in February, the Justice Department was not only closely scrutinizing the ties between longtime Trump ally Roger Stone and InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, but examining the mindset of those involved, who were radicalized to commit such violent acts.
Now, new footage has surfaced of Roger Stone outside of the Willard Continental Hotel on the morning of Jan. 6, that offers more clues about whether any of Stone’s actions on that day were pre-meditated. In addition to the DOJ’s investigation of Roger Stone’s ties with those participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection, former US Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman has confirmed that Stone is now being looked at by the DOJ for “his role” in the attack.
The prospect of criminal charges for those involved in the attack were considered to be “distant and uncertain” in February by officials involved in the investigation. This latest investigation announcement indicates that not only is Stone still under investigation, but the level of scrutiny for his role as a potential key player in the organization and commencement of the attack has likely increased.
Footage of the Stone video in question (see video above) shows Stone socializing with Trump supporters, taking photos, and shaking hands with Trump supporters. One purported fan asks Stone: "We have this today, right?" Stone, who is surrounded by members of the Oath Keepers far-right militia, tells the man: "We shall see."
Six of Stone’s para-military “security team” from Jan. 5 and 6 were also confirmed to be active participants in the attack on the US Capitol on Jan 6. On March 9, the Justice Department announced the arrest of two Oath Keepers for their alleged role in the Capitol insurrection. Roberto Minuta, one of the men arrested for obstruction and unlawful entry, had worked as a bodyguard for Stone hours before the riots.
Stone maintains that he played "no role whatsoever in the Jan. 6 events" and has repeatedly said that he "never left the site of my hotel until leaving for Dulles Airport" that afternoon — but this latest video appears to contradict that statement directly.
"I had no advance knowledge of the riot at the Capitol," Stone told ABC News about the video in February. "I could not even tell you the names of those who volunteered to provide security for me, required because of the many threats against me and my family."
Stone's affiliations with far-right groups, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, have a long history that has been well documented publicly. Two of the six men seen with Stone in the video above were also present during a protest outside the US Supreme Court the day before the insurrection. Footage of that event showed members of the Oath Keepers present, and two masked people with caps and vests emblazoned with "Oathkeeper" could be seen among an audience of Trump supporters, moving among the crowd and scanning their surroundings.
During that speech, Stone praised Trump supporters for their activism and said protesting in the Nation’s Capitol in this way is "a historic occasion because we're mad as hell and we aren't going to take it." Stone continued, "This is a fight for the future of the United States of America, it is a fight for the future of Western civilization as we know it, it is a fight between dark and light."
Stone then compared the impending attack on the US Capitol as “a fight between the godly and the godless…between good and evil" and then said, “and, we dare not fail, or we will step out into one thousand years of darkness."
On June 10, the Justice Department also announced an indictment against six California men, four of whom were linked to the Three Percenters militia, in connection with the Capitol riots. Officials confirmed in a news release that four of the six men "identify as members of Three Percenter militias," but that all of them chatted on the app Telegram to coordinate their actions on Jan. 6.
On the Telegram account for the organization, the Proud Boys discussed Trump’s call to action when the then-president said, “I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem-this is a left-wing problem.” The group confirmed “message received” by posting the following message on Telegram: "Standing down and standing by sir."
These members of the Proud Boys in question, who were arrested several weeks ago for their role in the insurrection, all face charges, including conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, which carries a 20-year maximum sentence.
While the Justice Department has yet to officially comment on the record concerning a criminal investigation against Roger Stone, the recent statement by Litman about the status of the probe is telling and would be the best way to leak an official statement without making one intentionally.
The fact that several of Stone’s Oath Keepers security team have been arrested and charged and face heavy sentences if convicted should also apply pressure to many of the suspects, who might have more information on Stone to trade for a more lenient sentence.
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Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
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