Roger Stone, a long-time Trump friend and associate, has been a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The Mueller investigation has been looking into whether Stone had improper ties to Wikileaks, which released a trove of information from Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the lead-up to the 2016 election.
In the early morning hours of Friday, January 25, Stone was arrested by the FBI a raid on his home in Fort Lauderdale. Stone was indicted on charges allegedly lying to Congress in connection to the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. Stone is accused of obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements, and witness tampering.
Stone is a long-time associate of Donald Trump. But after his arrest, some analysts started to dig into Stone’s connections to Richard Nixon. Here’s what you need to know about Roger Stone and Richard Nixon:
1. Stone Flashed Nixon’s Trademark ‘Victory’ Sign as he Walked Out of Federal Court on Friday Afternoon
Roger Stone was arrested on Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, he was out of jail on bail, loudly proclaiming his innocence to reporters outside of the Florida federal courthouse. Stone stopped to speak to reporters and then stood for a moment on the steps to flash Richard Nixon’s trademark sign: with his arms spread wide, he held up both hands in a “v” for “victory.”
President Nixon used the “victory” sign constantly. He used it to signal his big wins — like when he won the Republican nomination to the White House in 1968. But he also flashed the victory sign in his toughest moments. Nixon famously made his “victory” sign even when he left the White House, resigning in a cloud of scandal; you can watch that here.
2. Stone Has a Nixon Tattoo & Likes to Show Off His Nixon Bong
Roger Stone has a black and white tattoo of Richard Nixon’s face on his back; he got it done at the Ink Monkey tattoo shop in Venice Beach. “Women love it,” Stone told the New Yorker, boasting about his tattoo.
Stone also collects Nixon memorabilia. He’s often showed off his “Nixon bong,” his “Richard Nixon hash pipe,” and his Richard Nixon “smoking device.” And Stone has joked about developing a strain of marijuana called “Tricky Dick” which, he says, would make people “extremely paranoid.”
3. Stone Got His Start in Politics Working on Nixon’s 1972 Campaign
Stone has said that he’s been interested in conservative politics since he was eleven years old, when a neighbor gave him a copy of Barry Goldwater’s book “The Conscience of a Conservative.” He started volunteering for the Republican Club in his Westchester home and in 1965, when he was thirteen, he started working on behalf of the mayoral campaign of William F. Buckley, Jr.
But Stone really got his start in politics at the age of 19, when he went to work for Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. Stone was hired as a junior scheduler for the re-election campaign. He later told the New Yorker that, while working on the campaign, he used the pseudonym Jason Ranier donated money to Pete McCloskey, one of Nixon’s Republican-primary opponents. Stone made the donation on behalf of the Young Socialist Alliance, a leftist group that was vocally opposed to the Vietnam War. He then sent the donation receipt to a newspaper, making it seem as if Nixon’s rival was taking donations from socialists.
Stone went on to work on both of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns. In 1980, he first met Donald Trump, who was, at the time, a private businessman with an interest in politics. Trump made a large donation to Reagan’s re-election campaign.
4. Prosecutors Say Stone Quoted Nixon When He Allegedly Ordered a Cover Up
Roger Stone has been charged with — among other things — witness tampering and obstruction. You can read the full indictment here. The prosecution says that Stone urged an unnamed person not to tell the truth to Congress. (The indictment refers to that “unnamed person” as “Person 2” — some reports say Person 2 may be the New York-based comedian Randy Credico.)
Prosecutors say that not only did Stone order Person 2 to cover up for him, but he quoted Richard Nixon in doing so. The indictment reads, “On or about November 19, 2017, in a text message to STONE, Person 2 said that
his lawyer wanted to see him (Person 2). STONE responded, “‘Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan’ . . . Richard Nixon.” On or about November 20, 2017, Person 2 informed HPSCI that he declined HPSCI’s request for a voluntary interview.”
5. Stone Prides Himself on Using Nixon’s Martini Recipe
Stone told the New Yorker that he still uses a martini recipe that was handed down to him by Richard Nixon. “The key to a good Martini is you have to marinate the olives in vermouth first,” he said. “Nixon gave me the recipe. He said he got it from Winston Churchill.”
Stone also told the New Yorker that what he admires most about Nixon is his “resilience.” He said, “The reason I’m a Nixonite is because of his indestructibility and resilience. He never quit. His whole career was all built around his personal resentment of elitism. It was the poor-me syndrome. John F. Kennedy’s father bought him his House seat, his Senate seat, and the Presidency. No one bought Nixon anything. Nixon resented that. He was very class-conscious. He identified with the people who ate TV dinners, watched Lawrence Welk, and loved their country.”