Roger Stone says he will 'testify honestly' when asked if he would consider cooperating with Mueller

The Washington Post

Roger Stone said he will "testify honestly" when asked whether he would consider cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller III after he was charged with lying, obstruction and witness tampering in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"That's a question that I'd have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion," the longtime Republican operative and friend of President Donald Trump told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "If there's wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I didn't know about - which I know of none - but if there is I would certainly testify honestly."

Stone added that he would "also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president," but he said their discussions were "political in nature" and denied "categorically" that they spoke about Russia or Mueller's investigation during or after the 2016 campaign.

"I never discussed these matters with the president, and everything that I did ... is constitutionally protected free speech. That's what I engaged in - it's called politics," he said.

The indictment, which included seven counts, did not claim that Stone engaged in conspiracy.

Mueller unveiled the charges against Stone on Friday, accusing him of seeking information about hacked Democratic Party emails at the direction of an unidentified senior Trump campaign official and taking pains to keep his efforts a secret.

Stone, who was arrested early Friday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said after his release on bond that he would not testify against Trump "because I would have to bear false witness."

"There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself," he said on the courthouse steps.

On Sunday, Stone said he was "mindful" of Mueller's "ability to induce people to say things that are not true, particularly people who are seeking a reduction in their sentence or people who have an ax to grind."

A spokesman for the special counsel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stone has made similar remarks about Mueller in the past.

"The special counsel pokes into every aspect of my social, family, personal, business and political life, seeking something - anything - he can use to pressure me, to silence me and to try to induce me to testify against my friend Donald Trump," Stone said in a videotaped fundraising appeal in the fall of 2018.

"This I will not do. When I say I won't roll on the president, what I mean is I will not be forced to make up lies to bring him down," Stone said.

Trump on Saturday night seemed to distance himself from Stone, tweeting: "Roger Stone didn't even work for me anywhere near the Election!"

"What about the Fake and Unverified 'Dossier,' a total phony conjob, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary to damage me and the Trump Campaign?" he tweeted.

The FBI's pre-dawn raid of Stone's home and his arrest brought to a close one of the longest-running efforts of Mueller's investigation.

Since Friday, Stone has engaged in a blitz of media interviews, an unusual approach for someone who has been indicted.

Asked what he hopes to gain, Stone said he wanted to draw attention to what he saw as the inappropriate way his arrest took place."This was an expensive show of force to try to depict me as public enemy No. 1, the OG, to attempt to poison the jury pool," Stone said, using a slang expression that means "original gangster."

"These are Gestapo tactics," he said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., later told ABC that Stone used arguments that are typical for someone accused of white-collar crime. "I think he's going to need a much better defense than the one you just heard," said Schiff, a former federal prosecutor.

The Washington Post's Devlin Barrett, Rosalind S. Helderman and Manuel Roig-Franzia contributed to this report.

This story was originally published in The Washington Post.

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