Roger Stone, an advisor to Donald Trump for many years before he entered the White House, on Tuesday told Congress that the mogul’s presidential campaign did not coordinate with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Appearing before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session, Stone denied having any prior knowledge of the leak involving e-mails of John Podesta, the campaign director of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I understand the committee’s interest in me … I am provocative and partisan, but let’s be clear: I have no involvement in the alleged activities that are within the publicly stated scope of this committee’s investigation – collusion with the Russian state to affect the outcome of the 2016 election,” Stone said.
The House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating Russia’s involvement in the election and the Kremlin’s possible links with the Trump campaign.
Stone responded to lawmakers’ questions for more than three hours in a private session and told reporters later that he refused to answer when asked about who his “intermediary” was for communicating with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
After the hearing, Democratic congressman Adam Schiff threatened to subpoena Stone for not answering questions.
Democrats are interested in pressuring Stone about his communications with Assange and the Russian hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, citing a public tweet in which he suggested that he had prior knowledge about the leak of the Podesta e-mails.
After being asked if he felt Trump should have fired Robert Mueller, the man who is leading the investigation, Stone responded, “yes.”