Trump Ally Roger Stone Denies Russia Collusion
Roger Stone, a longtime ally and informal campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, denied any collusion with Russia and accused a House panel of “cowardice” in a statement he plans to deliver Tuesday before a closed-door meeting with House Intelligence Committee staffers.
“Multiple members of this committee have made false allegations against me in public session in order to ensure that these bogus charges received maximum media coverage,” he said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg News. “Now however, you deny me the opportunity to respond to these charges in the same open forum. This is cowardice.
“I will not let myself be a punching bag for people with ill intentions or political motives,” he added.
Stone, a political strategist known over the years for hardball tactics that he acknowledges has led some to call him a "dirty trickster," also has a penchant for attracting attention to himself. His colorful career in politics even inspired a Netflix documentary, "Get Me Roger Stone."
"There is one ‘trick’ that is not in my bag and that is treason," Stone said in his prepared statement.
Stone arrived at the Capitol Tuesday morning and told reporters that he intended to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
Stone has repeatedly said he wanted to appear in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. Denied that, he said in his statement he is demanding a transcript be made public.
He rejected accusations that he had any improper connections to Russia or any direct, advance knowledge of the plan by Wikileaks to publish hacked emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
"Such assertions are conjecture, supposition, projection, and allegations but none of them are facts," said Stone, a longtime Republican political operative. He added, "I am left to conclude the president is right when he calls this Congressional investigation a ‘witch-hunt.’"
He said what he knew of the Wikileaks releases beforehand came simply "by reading it on Twitter," and by confirmation to him from a journalist who interviewed Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange of his plans to publish.
Stone’s interview comes as both the House and Senate intelligence panels are looking into whether Russian influence in the campaign included pushing fake news stories or ads on Facebook and other social media. Officials from Twitter are set to appear privately before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
Regarding Stone, some House Democrats, including Adam Schiff of California, have focused on his own comments and tweets as evidence of coordination between Trump campaign operatives with Russians.
For instance, on Aug. 21, 2016 -- two months before the mass release by Wikileaks of the Democratic Party emails -- Stone tweeted that "it will soon (be) Podesta’s time in the barrel." U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded earlier this year that Russians or their operatives may have had a hand in feeding the stolen Democratic Party material to Wikileaks.
Stone, in his statement, said, "No member of this committee or intelligence agency can prove this assertion."
Stone has acknowledged communicating with a hacker, Guccifer 2.0, who took credit for hacking the DNC email servers. Yet in his statement to the committee, Stone questioned whether Guccifer is connected to the hacking and said that Schiff had gotten his facts wrong.