CNN was the only news outlet to capture footage of Trump-confidant Roger Stone’s arrest Friday morning, raising allegations that they were tipped off to the impending raid by the FBI or the grand jury handling the case.
Stone was arrested early Friday morning at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after being indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. Dramatic footage captured by a lucky CNN producer shows the FBI surrounding Stone’s home in an armed raid and pounding on Stone’s front door.
CNN producer @davidgshortell describes the moment Roger Stone was taken into custody by the FBI. The longtime Donald Trump associate has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller https://t.co/wUJEIkKDTw pic.twitter.com/AJ3JWWSHs3
— CNN (@CNN) January 25, 2019
The seemingly too-perfect scenario of CNN being the only outlet on scene as the FBI raided Stone’s home sparked allegations that CNN had been tipped off to the arrest. Many wondered why a raid was necessary in the first place — Jordan Schatchel of Blaze TV called the scenario an “excessive show of force.”
You don’t have to be a Roger Stone fan to be horrified by the stunt the FBI pulled off in conspiring with CNN this morning. The completely unnecessary raid is a routine that is straight out of a third-world police state. There is no defense of such an excessive show of force.
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) January 25, 2019
This is fucked up, regardless of your feelings abt Roger Stone.ornthe president. https://t.co/IvaxIORq7R
— Nick Gillespie (@nickgillespie) January 25, 2019
Veteran journalists and former MSNBC host Greta Van Susteren tweeted, “CNN either acted on a tip…or had been camped out there,” noting that either scenario is “good journalism.”
Van Susteren also speculated about the decision to raid, questioning, “Fear of flight or destruction of evidence or prosecutors really not like Stone?”
It is no conspiracy – CNN either acted on a tip…or had been camped out there (either is good journalism.) What is most interesting is why it was a raid and not a surrender. Fear of flight or destruction of evidence or prosecutors really not like Stone? https://t.co/zxPtxUzzWE
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) January 25, 2019
“Seriously the CNN footage at Stone’s house is fishy,” John Podhoretz of the New York Post wrote.
Seriously the CNN footage at Stone’s house is fishy
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) January 25, 2019
Tony Shaffer, a retired U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, went a step further and claimed that CNN had “special access to the raid,” calling the footage a “dramatic set up allowed by the FBI.”
No matter how one paints it @cnn had special treatment to get access to the raid – as a volunteer member of law enforcement in VA, media, even if “tipped off” would not be allowed to be anywhere near the execution of a raid – this was a dramatic set up allowed by the @FBI https://t.co/BLjxWyiT0S
— Tony Shaffer (@T_S_P_O_O_K_Y) January 25, 2019
CNN employees, however, claimed that the producer, David Shortell, noticed “unusual activity” by the special counsel’s grand jury in DC and guessed that a Stone indictment was incoming. They seemed to deny that he was exclusively tipped off by anyone in the special counsel’s office. (RELATED: CNN Obtains Footage Of The FBI Raiding Former Trump Adviser Roger Stone’s House)
“[Shortell] trusted his instincts” and hopped on a plane to Florida in the hopes of capturing Stone’s arrest, CNN reporter Kate Bennett claimed on Twitter.
. @davidgshortell noted some unusual activity w grand jury in DC yesterday, trusted his instincts, got on a plane and made it to Stone’s house in time to catch the @FBI going in. Also key here, Gil DeLaRosa, one of @CNN’s ace photojournalists. https://t.co/OWxcJ9XA7u
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) January 25, 2019
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 25, 2019
“[Shortell] decided to stake out — a decision any other reporter/outlet could have made,” CNN’s MJ Lee wrote.
Our reporter on the scene @davidgshortell reported on air that there was unusual grand jury activity yesterday so decided to stake out — a decision any other reporter/outlet could have made.
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) January 25, 2019
Shortell said the “unusual activity” he noticed is that the grand jury met on Thursday this week when it usually meets on Fridays.
“Robert Mueller’s grand jury typically meets on Fridays. Yesterday, Thursday, there was grand jury activity,” Shortell explained. “We also had some other signs that maybe something was going on this angle, the Roger Stone angle.”
CNN and an attorney for Stone did not return requests for comment.