When I published my piece yesterday morning on the pre-dawn raid resulting in the arrest of Roger Stone, there was one question which stuck out like a sore thumb. It had to do with how CNN just happened to be in place for the big show. Allahpundit offered a plausible answer later in the day, at least in theory. There were some irregularities in the coming and goings of Mueller’s team that suggested they might be getting ready to do something with Stone. But upon further consideration, those answers seemed rather thin and even AP admitted that it didn’t rule out the possibility that there still might have been a tip sent to CNN in addition to all the “clues.”
I wasn’t the only one asking this question. Other bloggers and journalists were wondering the same thing. Heck, even the President got in on the act.
President Trump took to Twitter Friday after news broke his longtime associate Roger Stone had been arrested, asking why CNN cameras were there during the raid.
“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?” Mr. Trump tweeted.
The network clearly knew that plenty of people were asking how they came to be on the scene, prompting CNN’s Jeremy Herb to publish a lengthy explanation. In addition, David Shortell, the reporter who was on the stakeout, went on New Day to explain how it was just a case of good journalism and examining the clues.
But in all of these defensive maneuvers, there was one thing still missing. Unless I missed it somewhere along the line, there’s one sentence we never heard uttered. “We didn’t receive a tip about this.”
As far as all of the investigative reporting work that went into it, I suppose you can make the case for that, but it’s worth noting a couple of things. First of all, as AP pointed out and I noted above, even if you accept the idea that CNN was watching the grand jury and thought something might be coming, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that they were tipped off anyway.
Further, the clues they were following weren’t exactly definitive. CNN is basing their explanation of how Shortell “figured it out” based on the fact that the grand jury was meeting on Thursday and canceling their work on Friday. But they also admitted that there was another entirely plausible reason for that. There was a court appearance for Paul Manafort scheduled on Friday.
Second, and probably far more importantly… why would they think the possibility of a coming indictment would translate to a pre-dawn arrest raid? It hadn’t happened in most of the other arrests. There’s still no reason offered to explain why Stone needed to be arrested Mob Boss Style and not just asked to surrender himself through his attorney. That’s how the previous arrests were handled. Why stake out his house instead of the local office where he would have turned himself in?
One final question to ponder overshadows the entire discussion. Just for the sake of argument, let’s forget all of the points I made here and just assume that CNN’s explanation is 100% on the up and up. The clues where there, they solved the puzzle and sent a crew down to Florida to stake out Stone’s house before dawn on the exact day he was going to be arrested. If that’s the case, why weren’t the New York Times and the Washington Post there with photographers? Where were NBC, CBS and ABC’s news crews? Where was Fox? You’re telling me that nobody else in the news business was watching the comings and going at the grand jury or they were all too incompetent to put the pieces together?
The entire Mueller investigation has been leaking like a sieve since the beginning. There are people on the inside who have created a cottage industry out of sending tips to the media. Not all of them have worked out swimmingly, as Buzzfeed can attest to, but people have been talking out of school, and almost always about things that paint the White House in the worst possible light. Call them deep state actors. Call them rats. Call them concerned citizens who think the public should be informed. Call them whatever you like, but reporters have had a direct line into this investigation and published countless news items based on “sources close to the investigation who spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter in public.” The idea that nobody would drop a dime to their friends at CNN about such a juicy story seems highly implausible at best.