The FBI rejected The Federalist’s Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request for emails made between the agency and CNN on the same day as Roger Stone’s arrest.
According to The Federalist, “CNN was the only network present at the Fort Lauderdale home of Roger Stone.” RedState said that CNN claimed they were “lucky” to know when exactly the arrest would occur.
“For some reason the FBI (and Robert Mueller’s team) thought it necessary to act like they were taking down a drug kingpin, complete with SWAT teams and guns drawn,” RedState wrote. “This was all highly unusual given Stone had no passport, was not a flight risk, and then was immediately released on bail anyway.”
Early in the morning on Jan. 25, the FBI arrested Stone, a political consultant who assisted with the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign. RedState said the warrant, “charged him with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.”
The Federalist submitted a FOIA request the same day. The publication also found it suspicious that CNN was able to arrive at the scene of the arrest despite the fact that it was supposed to be a surprise raid.
“The pre-dawn arrival of CNN at what was supposed to be a surprise raid of Stone’s home raised questions about whether the network had been tipped off about the impending FBI arrest of Stone,” The Federalist wrote.
CNN producer David Shortell said that the network wasn’t tipped off. According to the Washington Examiner, Shortell pinned the perfect timing of CNN’s team on “reporter’s instinct.”
"There was some unusual grand jury activity in Washington, D.C., yesterday," he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. "Robert Mueller's grand jury typically meets on Fridays. Yesterday, Thursday, there was grand jury activity… We also had some other signs that maybe something was going on this angle, the Roger Stone angle. So we showed up at his house this morning, we were the only ones there, and lo and behold, the FBI agents did come."
The FBI told The Federalist that they rejected the letter because it was “overly broad,” and didn’t comply with federal regulations. They gave similar reasons to a second request made by the publication for emails between the agency and Josh Campbell, CNN’s law enforcement analyst who used to work for the FBI.
“The FBI did not explain how a request noting a specific date, specific character string, and specific sender or recipient did not satisfy federal regulations covering open records requests made pursuant FOIA,” The Federalist wrote.