Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker offered testimony Friday before the House Judiciary Committee where he was pointedly asked whether CNN was tipped off about the FBI raid of Roger Stone last month.
“Are you familiar from public reports or otherwise that a CNN reporter was camped outside Stone’s house when the FBI arrested him?” asked Republican Rep. Doug Collins.
“I am aware of that and it was deeply concerning to me as to how CNN found out about that,” Whitaker said.
As head of the Justice Department, Whitaker overseas the Special Counsel probe that ordered the raid and handed down the Stone indictments.
Collins then asked point blank whether someone at the Justice Department had tipped off CNN.
“It does seem concerning,” Collins said. “The timing doesn’t match up. It seems to appear [somebody] was given pre or prior knowledge, not going through the normal channels. Because if it was given through normal channels, every media outlet would have been there, but only one was.”
“Mr. Collins, I share your concern with the possibility that a media outlet was tipped off to Mr. Stone’s either indictment or arrest before that information was made available to the public,” Whitaker said.
A rep for CNN did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.
After months of circling around him, the Special Counsel finally descended on Stone in a pre-dawn raid on Jan. 25, arresting him at his Fort Lauderdale home. A CNN reporter was on the scene and obtained exclusive video of the moment which ran on the network all day.
Stone was ultimately hit with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering, according to the Washington Post.
While CNN has never explicitly denied being tipped off by anyone, they have forcefully pushed back in the past that they behaved in any way unethically.
“CNN’s ability to capture the arrest of Roger Stone was the result of determined reporting and interpreting clues revealed in the course of events. That’s called journalism. #FactsFirst,” the network said.