WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump responded to the news of longtime adviser Roger Stone's early morning arrest on charges of making false statements, witness tampering and obstruction of justice Friday by attacking special counsel Robert Mueller and the news media.
"Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country!" Trump wrote on twitter. "NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?"
Mueller has long been investigating Stone's connection to Wikileaks, the organization that dumped emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and the personal account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta during the 2016 presidential campaign — messages that provided tremendous fodder for Trump's campaign and Republicans in their effort to defeat Clinton.
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Stone was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Friday morning and was spotted in a federal courthouse there shortly after Trump sent his tweet.
Trump has long held that Mueller's investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia and whether he or members of his operation have obstructed the probe is baseless.
Author and former TV host Greta Van Susteren had tweeted earlier Friday that CNN must have been tipped off to have cameras present at Stone's home when he was taken into custody — a claim that was quickly debunked and from which she backed away before Trump tweeted.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tried to distance the president from the seven-count indictment against Stone, who worked on Trump's campaign for a brief period in 2015 and has long been an ally and political adviser to him.
"This doesn’t have anything to do with the president, doesn’t have anything to do with the White House," Sanders told reporters Friday.
Last year, Trump tweeted positively about Stone's statement that he would "never testify against" the president.
Asked Friday whether Trump was encouraging Stone or others to lie by doing that, Sanders took umbrage.
"Look, that is probably one of the more ridiculous and insulting questions to accuse the president of the United States of asking someone to break the law, she said. "That is—frankly it’s just insulting, it’s just not true."