The big news on Friday was the dramatic arrest of former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone on charges related to his involvement with Russian hacking during the 2016 election, with CNN showing footage of the FBI raiding Stone’s Florida home in the wee hours of the morning.
It was a dramatic turn of events in the ongoing saga that is the Mueller probe and observers were naturally curious how President Trump would react to the news of one of his confidantes and most vocal supporters being snatched up.
Unsurprisingly he did not react well, taking to Twitter to fire off an angry tweet decrying the treatment of Stone and/or others in the focus of Mueller’s probe and stoking a conspiracy theory that CNN had inside information about the investigation that allowed them to to be on the scene for Stone’s arrest.
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?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2019
The reason this assertion is wacky is that there was already a strong hint that a big arrest was coming on Friday due to the fact that Mueller convened his Grand Jury unconventionally on a Thursday, suggesting that he was preparing to bring someone in.
There was already heavy speculation that it would be Stone.
Since this is already becoming a conspiracy theory, CNN’s @ShimonPro reported on air last night Mueller left a “big clue” this might happen today. The network then staked out his home. It’s just good reporting. https://t.co/lZygJBpMC3 https://t.co/XiUkB1axqo— Jon Passantino (@passantino) January 25, 2019
Beyond that, the fact that a news organization would be prepared to jump on a story when it breaks should surprise no one.
Journalists do research, follow reports, and anticipate breaking news so they can report it as quickly as possible. None of this is hard to understand…unless you’re Donald Trump and are desperate to push your narrative that the nefarious media are the “enemy of the people.”
The president is asking, who alerted CNN to be there?— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) January 25, 2019
Journalists don't have to be alerted. It was expected for weeks that Roger Stone would indicted.
It's called a stakeout and a reporter doing their job. https://t.co/bgZ7MpM7n4
CNN was staking out the house because their reporters were suspicious something was going to happen due to unusual grand jury activity they'd observed. But the president doesn't understand how journalism works, so he's just spreading conspiracies instead. https://t.co/zKzo5ee2fb— David Mack (@davidmackau) January 25, 2019
The fantasy mingled with desperation is strong with this one https://t.co/9yVHxBD4Sr— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) January 25, 2019
Well, I'm convinced. I think it's time to put this behind us and move on. Thank you for your honesty and candor, Mr. President. https://t.co/ZtOzFrdM8A— Eugene Mirman (@EugeneMirman) January 25, 2019
Portrait of Man Running Off in All Directions https://t.co/YsYriBoRVl— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) January 25, 2019
Despite these easily-explained reasons why people, including the news media, were already prepared for there to be Roger Stone news today, the right wing mediasphere quickly picked up Trump’s conspiracy theory and ran with it, with the oversized headline on the Drudge Report screaming: “DRAMATIC PRE-DAWN RAID…CNN AIRS FOOTAGE OF ARREST..TIPPED OFF?”
Even some well-known journalists helped to spread the theory that something fishy was going on between Mueller’s team and CNN behind the scenes.
And there it is, the birth of a conspiracy theory.@Greta tweets that Mueller told CNN about Roger Stone arrest without evidence. CNN says they staked Roger Stone’s house. She “corrects” herself but keeps tweet up (8400 RTs and counting!)— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) January 25, 2019
Trump tweets about CNN. pic.twitter.com/6g1t4GNOy2
If those in Trump’s shady orbit thought the shutdown would save them from investigation they were wrong as these FBI agents were apparently happy to raid Roger Stone’s house for free.
OMFG here's the video of the FBI going in to arrest Roger Stone. 🤣— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) January 25, 2019
(BTW: these FBI agents are furloughed d/t the government shutdown.)#muellerFriday #fridaymotivation #wikileaks #muellertime #indictmentfriday #fridaythoughts pic.twitter.com/GAxBt6Nwz7