Read Senator Lindsey Graham's Letter to FBI Chief Slamming 'Media Circus' Tactics of Roger Stone Arrest

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham has demanded answers from the FBI over how Republican strategist Roger Stone was arrested.

The South Carolina senator sent a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray complaining that last Friday's arrest played into a "media circus" surrounding the inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller into claims of Russian cooperation in the 2016 election.

Graham questioned why Stone needed to be arrested in the early morning by so many agents, given that Stone had said he believed he would be indicted. He also questioned why Stone, who "was apparently willing to surrender voluntarily, was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at his home."

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Senator Lindsey Graham holds a media conference at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad on January 20, 2019. He has criticized the way that Republican strategist Roger Stone was arrested. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

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. The American public has had enough of the media circus that surrounds the Special Counsel's investigation," as transcribed by WYFF.

He has demanded that the FBI explain to the Senate Judiciary Committee by February 5 whether correct procedures were followed for Stone's arrest and whether any media outlets were given a tip-off.

Stone's arrest in the raid at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was broadcast by CNN. The broadcaster said it was outside Stone's house after reporters discovered unusual activity at the D.C. federal courthouse and the special counsel's office.

Stone has been charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements, and witness tampering. The indictment revolves around his involvement as a go-between for people linked to the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which was hosting DNC emails hacked by Russians which were seen as damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 election bid.

The FBI often makes early-morning arrests of targets under indictment, but this was the first time Mueller has used that tactic. Prosecutors were worried that if Stone was tipped off to the indictment, he might flee or destroy evidence.

Stone says he is innocent and that the charges were politically motivated. He was released on a $250,000 bond. Stone told Breitbart News Daily radio that the Mueller probe could endanger Trump's presidency, describing it as "speeding bullet heading for his head."

Roger Stone indictment Jerome Corsi
Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, arrives at the Prettyman United States Courthouse before facing charges from special counsel Robert Mueller that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering January 29 in Washington, D.C. A self-described "political dirty-trickster," Stone said he has been falsely accused and entered a plea of not guilty. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The full text of the letter by Senator Graham:

Dear Director Wray:

I write regarding the Bureau's arrest of Roger Stone, which took place during the early morning hours of January 25, 2019. 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.

Since his appointment, I have supported Special Counsel Mueller's ability to conduct his investigation without interference. Moreover, I have always been a strong admirer and supporter of the FBI. However, while I firmly support law enforcement taking into account threats to officer safety, flight risk, and the need to ensure evidence is preserved, 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.

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. 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. Accordingly, I write to seek justification for the tactics used and the timing of the arrest of Mr. Stone.

Please have the Bureau provide the Committee a briefing on Mr. Stone's arrest by no later than Tuesday, February 5, 2019. In addition, prior to that briefing, please provide the Committee with answers to the following questions so that the American public can be reassured that this arrest followed established methods and procedures:

Why was it necessary to arrest Mr. Stone at his home in the early morning hours, rather than working through his attorneys to permit him to surrender voluntarily?

Was the manner of Mr. Stone's arrest consistent with the arrests of, and procedures for the arrests of, similarly charged individuals?

Were usual procedures for obtaining and executing arrest and search warrants followed with regard to Mr. Stone?

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?

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?

Please provide the answers to these questions and have your staff contact Zachary Somers with the Senate Judiciary Committee to set up the requested briefing. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Lindsey O. Graham

Read Senator Lindsey Graham's Letter to FBI Chief Slamming 'Media Circus' Tactics of Roger Stone Arrest | U.S.