CNN, the network whose new motto is “facts first,” fact-checked Donald Trump’s former campaign associate, Roger Stone, on Monday when Stone claimed that the FBI stormed his home in Fort Lauderdale on Friday.
Stone alleged last Friday that 29 FBI agents had arrived in 17 vehicles, with lights flashing, to arrest him. He also claimed Monday that the FBI had used more force to arrest him than it had used “to take down Bin Laden or El Chapo.” He added: “It’s a raw abuse of power in the fact that a CNN reporter was allowed to film my arrest.”
In the video of the arrest aired by CNN, the network described “pounding” on the door and “shouting” by the FBI. CNN anchors justified the fact that the FBI “showed up in force” by referring to the allegations against Stone. The CNN reporter on the scene explained that Stone had not been dressed in his “usual attire,” but in “sleepwear.”
(CNN has denied that it was tipped off about the arrest and credited its scoop to clever observation of court proceedings.)
Brooke Baldwin, anchor of CNN’s Newsroom, mocked Stone’s claims. “The layup of fact-checks,” she said.”The FBI knocked on his door.”
Last week, however, CNN described Stone’s arrest as an “early morning FBI raid“:
A number of law enforcement vehicles with silent sirens flashing pulled in front of Stone’s home on a darkened Ft. Lauderdale street just after 6 a.m. Friday morning.
About a dozen officers with heavy weapons and tactical vests fanned out across Stone’s lawn.
Law enforcement shined a flashlight into Stone’s front door before one officer rapped against it, shouting, “FBI. Open the door.”
Seconds later, the agent shouted, “FBI. Warrant.”
A second-floor light turned on and moments later, Stone appeared in the front entryway. He confirmed who he was to law enforcement.
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan wrote on the network’s website, in an article titled, “Roger Stone must have made Mueller really angry,” that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had used “an FBI arrest team worthy of a Navy SEAL operation.”
In a dramatic predawn raid, FBI agents placed Roger Stone, the Republican king of darkness under arrest at his Florida home on charges related to the Robert Mueller investigation. The televised raid looked like one designed to apprehend a terrorist rather than the pajama-clad 66-year-old Trump campaign advisor renowned for his “dirty tricks” approach to presidential campaigns and the large Richard Nixon tattoo adorning his back. The aggressive raid suggests that it might be time to trade in the Nixon tattoo for a bullseye, especially given the ferocity of the arrest tactics employed by Mueller’s FBI agents.
The approach to this arrest makes clear that Roger Stone and possibly his attorneys have done something provocative enough to make the usually low profile and careful special prosecutor extraordinarily angry. Stone was not afforded the customary voluntary surrender option usually seen in white collar criminal cases. Most likely, the raid was intended to send a clear message to other witnesses and potential defendants …
Baldwin described Stone’s claim as “the lay-up of fact checks.” And indeed it was.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.