Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker dissects CNN’s presence during raid
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker described the revelation, that a team of CNN reporters was somehow present at the early morning FBI raid and arrest of former Trump associate Roger Stone on January 25, as “deeply concerning” during a Justice Department oversight hearing on Friday.
“It was deeply concerning to me as to how CNN found out about that,” Acting AG Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee.
CNN, a network often hostile toward President Donald Trump, had a camera crew set up outside Stone’s Ft. Lauderdale residence prior to the raid on his home.
The outlet posted “exclusive footage” of the raid, involving nearly 30 armed FBI agents, from outside the 66-year-old’s home at around 6:30 a.m. on the Friday morning.
“Watch exclusive CNN footage of the FBI arresting longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. Stone has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller,” the newtwork boasted in a tweet.
“FBI. Open the door.”
Watch exclusive CNN footage of the FBI arresting longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. Stone has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. https://t.co/5QHKDB2mfA pic.twitter.com/UeKo7CmXWo
— CNN (@CNN) January 25, 2019
According to the Daily Caller, Stone has alleged that CNN was tipped off to his indictment and arrest, while the network has denied the claim.
CNN says it sent reporters to Stone’s home after its Washington-based journalists noticed a flurry of activity at the federal courthouse on the day Stone was indicted.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham asked for an FBI briefing on the raid Tuesday.
Graham asked whether CNN had advance knowledge of the raid and whether the FBI used the appropriate force to conduct the arrest.
Whitaker says he was concerned that a CNN crew was camping out outside Roger Stone’s house when he was arrested pic.twitter.com/V3RSmSuzkx
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) February 8, 2019
Whitaker did not say whether the Justice Department has evidence that CNN was tipped off to Stone’s indictment.
“The court had a sealed indictment that after Mr. Stone’s arrest was unsealed,” said Whitaker.
“Consistent with all its prior indictments, the DOJ’s basic policy for transparency in criminal cases is that the indictment is posted on the DOJ website, probably after it is unsealed, and then media outlets were notified.”
“I do not know of any other special counsel’s office notice or DOJ notice to media outlets regarding Mr. Stone’s indictment, or his arrest,” he said.