U.S.

Roger Stone Indictment Is Evidence of Trump Campaign, Russia Coordination, Former DNI James Clapper Says

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Friday that the arrest of Roger Stone—a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump—seemed to hint at coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. 

Clapper was asked by CNN if he felt the Stone indictment and communications between the so-called "dirty trickster" and Wikileaks showed evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“Well, it does to me," Clapper responded. "I say that not as an attorney, but just as a layman. I think clearly it does show connection, coordination, synchronization, whatever you want to call it."

The White House, predictably, worked to distance itself from Stone, who pushed Trump toward politics for decades. 

"This has nothing to do with the president and certainly nothing to do with the White House," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on CNN after the news of Stone's arrest broke. "This is something that has to do solely with that individual and not something that affects us in this building."

Asked on the same network to respond to Sanders's comments, Clapper wasn't buying what the White House was selling. 

"I think the White House denials are getting increasingly hollow and they simply don't pass the giggle test," Clapper said. "So I think that to assert that this had nothing to do with the president, either as a president, or as a candidate, or as a White House is just silly." 

Trump tweeted about Stone's indictment Friday morning, furthering a conspiracy theory that CNN was tipped off to the early morning arrest by the FBI. 

Trump tweeted: "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?"

For their part, CNN responded on Twitter: "CNN’s ability to capture the arrest of Roger Stone was the result of determined reporting and interpreting clues revealed in the course of events. That’s called journalism."

clapper trump stone Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, on January 10, 2017. Clapper said Friday that the arrest of Roger Stone seemed to hint at coordination between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Editor's Pick