Roger Stone, whose decades of political work have earned him a reputation as the Republican Party’s “dirty trickster,” played a central role in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election results and was the architect of the #StopTheSteal campaign, The Washington Post revealed Friday.
The D.C. newspaper’s reporters gained exclusive access to video footage shot by Danish filmmakers for a yet-unreleased documentary titled A Storm Foretold. Clips of the film were published to support the Post’s assertions that Stone played the role of puppeteer in the crucial weeks after Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.
“We are relaunching Stop the Steal,” he told an associate by phone, after instructing them to gather news headlines that would cast doubt on the validity of the election.
The footage also showed how Stone was quick to walk away from the chaos when words inspired action and the coordinated political campaign of lies led to its inevitable conclusion: Thousands of violent Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building. A dramatic video clip shows a disappointed Stone packing his bags at a hotel to leave Washington as rioters descended on the seat of Congress.
Stone, reached by The Daily Beast on Friday morning, pushed back and claimed The Washington Post story had “13 errors of fact.”
“Any claim assertion or implication that I was involved in or knew about or condoned illegal actions at the capital[sic] on January 6 is baseless and categorically false,” he texted. “Those who stormed the capital destroyed a perfectly legal effort to delay certification or the electoral college for 11 days so that irregularities and anomalies in voting Airzona Michigan Wisconsin Pennsylvania and Nevada could be more thoroughly examined.”
The Post story does not assert that he instructed rioters to attack Congress, but the sudden appearance of the “Stop the Steal” movement did, in fact, fuel widespread suspicion and culminate in the insurrection.
When asked if he takes credit for resurrecting #StopTheSteal, Stone pushed back—but acknowledged that he came up with the phrase for another reason years ago.
“No I coined the phrase ‘stop the steal’ back in 2016 as it pertained to the 2016 Republican national convention,” he texted The Daily Beast.
Stone on Friday also took issue with some associations connected to his time at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, where powerful Trump loyalists held a “war room” to coordinate the attempt to buck the U.S. Constitution and illegally keep him in office. For example, Stone distanced himself from Elmer Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, the anti-government paramilitary organization whose members stormed the Capitol while wearing military gear and uniforms.
One member of that group, Joshua James, served as Stone’s golf cart chauffeur and quasi-bodyguard shortly before the assault—and has since pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy, the most serious criminal charge yet used in Jan. 6 cases. Video footage allegedly shows James inside Stone’s hotel suite at the Willard.
“I have never spoken to Stewart Roads [sic] in my life [and] Joshua James was never in my hotel suite,” Stone texted.
Previous reporting by The Daily Beast shows that members of the Oath Keepers ultimately felt betrayed by Stone and other VIPs they were guarding during that tumultuous week in the nation’s capital—friction that could be seized on by the House Jan. 6 Committee and the Justice Department, which are both investigating illegal activity connected to the insurrection.
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