CNN Rebuts Claims Spread by Trump, Conservative Media About Roger Stone Exclusive

Roger Stone-Getty-H 2019
Alex Wong/Getty Images

CNN was the only network to capture Stone's early morning arrest, leading some critics to accuse the network of being "tipped off" by the FBI.

CNN is attempting to rebut claims that it was "tipped off" to the Friday morning arrest of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone after being the only network to film the FBI coming to the door of Stone's Florida home.

The claim spread through conservative social media channels like wildfire Friday morning, culminating — as it often does — in a tweet from President Trump. "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?" he wrote.

In response, CNN wrote 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."

CNN crime and justice producer David Shortell had appeared on the morning show New Day to explain that the network had staked out Stone's house after noticing unusual grand jury activity in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, connected to Robert Mueller's Russian collusion investigation and suggesting that another indictment could be imminent

"Why were you there in position?" CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota asked him. "Alisyn, it's reporter's instinct," he said. "The whole Russia team thought maybe something was happening."

Some major conservative media personalities accused the network of getting a gift from the federal prosecutors. 

"The @FBI arrest of Roger Stone at dawn, with dozens of helmeted agents, brandishing weapons, was totally unnecessary," Fox News opinion host Laura Ingraham wrote on Twitter. "Treated him like El Chapo. Political motives clear w/ @CNN tip-off."

"TIPPED OFF?" asked a headline on The Drudge Report about CNN's footage of the arrest.

"It is curious why Mueller's office tipped off CNN instead of trying to quietly arrest Stone," wrote former Fox News (and CNN) host Greta Van Susteren in a Friday morning tweet that went viral.

"In a miraculous bit of totally-unplanned coincidence, CNN cameras just happened to be on the scene about an hour before the raid took place," wrote former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. "So, who tipped them off?"