Fallout is continuing from the FBI’s decision to send 29 heavily armed agents in 19 vehicles to arrest political operative and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone last week following an indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller.
â€œIâ€™ve been busting down doors for 50 Years, and Iâ€™ve never sent that many units, not even to the baddest murderers,â€ former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio told The Western Journal.
In addition to being sheriff of a county that grew to more than 4 million people over the course of his two decades in office, Arpaio was also a military policeman in the U.S. Army, an officer in Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, and spent 20 years as an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Footage from CNN, the only news network on the ground for the raid thanks, many believe, to a tip from either the FBI or Mueller’s office, shows scores of federal agents armed with flak vests and automatic weapons arriving pre-dawn at Stone’s Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home last week.
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Check out this report at the 3:05 mark:
Stone was indicted on seven counts including lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction, to all of which he has pleaded not guilty.
It’s also noteworthy to point out that Stone was not charged with any criminal conspiracy to collude with Russia to steal the 2016 elction for Donald Trump, which was Mueller’s original investigatory mandate.
“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?” the president tweeted the morning of the raid.
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?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2019
Former New York prosecutor and judge Jeanine Pirro, now a Fox News host, agreed with Arpaioâ€™s analysis that the FBI raid was an excessive show of force.
â€œRobert Muellerâ€™s team got an indictment against Roger Stone, but instead of simply contacting his attorney and requesting he bring his client in for arraignment â€“ standard protocol in such cases â€“ the special counsel decided on Gestapo tactics,â€ she said Saturday night on her show.
Stone lying to congress? Dear Hillary…She lies every time she opens her mouth. The only reason Abedin, Mills, Pagliano are not charged with process crimes is because Comey– who should be indicted himself — never bothered to investigate. God help America. pic.twitter.com/aTeynD7jmR
— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) January 27, 2019
â€œAs a former prosecutor, I did this for a living,â€ Pirro noted further. â€œFor 30 years, my police squad worked with the FBI, State Police and local law enforcement when we needed help in arresting or seizing evidence in a potentially dangerous situation where the individual was dangerous or a flight risk.â€
Pirro added that the raid could have actually ended in a tragedy; Stone’s wife is deaf and she could have easily failed to follow agents’ directives, putting her life at risk.
â€œThis show was an attempt to embarrass and to intimidate Stone,â€ alleged Pirro. â€œHe wasnâ€™t a flight risk and he had no guns. His passport was expired, or just about to expire.
â€œMuellerâ€™s intent was to poison the jury pool to make Stone seem like public enemy No. 1, and his indictment is not even for a violent crime. It has nothing to do with Russia or collusion.â€
Mueller observers see one of his his top deputies, Andrew Weissmann, as the ‘mastermind’ behind the raid.
Chris Christie, the former GOP governor of New Jersey, longtime Trump friend and a 2016 presidential contender, also criticized the raid’s heavy-handedness, but he said that the special counsel’s deputy was trying to send a signal.
“There’s no reason except to intimidate [Stone],” said Christie, who served as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey for seven years.
Christie also went on to criticize former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who allowed Justice Department officials with checkered pasts like Weissmann and others who donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign to remain so that Mueller could wind up picking them to work on his investigation.
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“Who you pick as attorney general matters,” Christie said, adding that early on POTUS Trump “got some bad advice” as to whom to pick for key posts.
Critics of the Stone raid note that acting Attorney General Mathew Whitaker and FBI Director Christopher Wray, both Trump appointees, would have know about and likely approved of using FBI assets to arrest Stone.
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