Trump adviser, Florida man Roger Stone denies Russia collusion claims

Roger Stone on CBS This Morning.

Longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone, the Fort Lauderdale resident whose name came up frequently during Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, says his communications last year with a hacker linked to Russia were “benign” and didn’t constitute collusion.

 

Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking Democrat, mentioned Stone in his opening remarks, suggesting Stone knew in advance about leaks that were damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

 

On Twitter Monday morning, as the hearing was getting underway, Stone tweeted: “It’s only fair that I have a chance to respond 2 any smears or half truths about alleged ‘Collusion with Russians’ from 2day’s Intel Hearing.”

 

Stone made an appearance today on CBS This Morning  to deny any collusion with Russia.

“The inference that my now completely public exchange with a hacker — Gruccifer 2.0, who may or may not be a Russian agent — somehow constitutes collusion is not true based either on the facts, on the actual texts which I have released or on the timing,” Stone said.

 

Stone has known Trump for decades and began encouraging him to run for president in the 1980s. He did not have an official role with Trump’s campaign after August 2015, when he departed after a power struggle with Corey Lewandowski, the Trump campaign manager at the time. But Stone remained an active and visible Trump supporter throughout the 2016 campaign.

 

Stone last August communicated via Twitter with Guccifer 2.0, the entity who claimed credit for the June hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer system. That Stone’s communication with Guccifer 2.0 came months after the DNC hack disproves any collusion, Stone has maintained.

 

Stone also said last year that he had “backchannel” communications with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. On Aug. 21, Stone tweeted that Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta would soon face “time in the barrel.” On Oct. 7, Wikileaks began releasing hacked Podesta emails.

 

 

In his CBS interview this morning, Stone said the “time in the barrel” tweet was a reference to Podesta’s business dealings. He said he didn’t have advance knowledge of Wikileaks’ release of Podesta’s emails, but was not surprised by it either.

 

Stone has hired two lawyers and has said he’s eager to testify before Congress to clear his name.

 

“Let me have my day in court,” Stone said.

 

 

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