BY DENIS BEDOYA
President Donald Trump’s longtime friend, and political adviser Roger Stone, said he has not been contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
When asked if he had turned over documents to the special counsel, Stone told NBC News’ Chuck Todd Tuesday, “I have not been asked to do so. I have not received a subpoena nor a request for an interview. But it is based on a conversation between Mr. Nunberg’s attorney and my attorney that I believe he was asked about the circumstances of my leaving the campaign — that’s always been a matter of some confusion.”
Stone added, “I continue to maintain that I resigned. I reached the conclusion that Donald Trump would be his own strategist. Turned out to be right and he did a pretty brilliant job. I also came to the conclusion that I could be more effective on his behalf outside the campaign.”
Stone’s former associate Sam Nunberg, also a Trump political adviser, invoked Stone’s name repeatedly in a round of multiple interviews he gave on cable TV Monday. Nunberg, who served on the Trump campaign just two months before being fired by the then candidate-Trump, claims he was subpoenaed by Mueller’s office requesting documentation of communication between him and a handful of Trump’s 2016 campaign staff, including Stone.
“[Nunberg] marches to his own drummer,” Stone said during his interview with Todd on MSNBC. “He is not speaking at my behest or my direction. I would certainly have not advised him to ignore or refuse a document production subpoena. I was pleased to read today that he’s changed his mind about that.”
Stone added, “I didn’t ask Sam Nunberg to protect me. I don’t think I require any protection.” He called Nunberg “very talented” professionally, but drove home that his former associate was “not acting on my direction.” Stone also that it had been “several months” since he and Nunberg last spoke, adding that “The idea that we talk incessantly is not accurate.” He later reiterated, “I would urge Sam Nunberg to cooperate.”
ROGER STONE on #MTPDaily says Nunberg “marches to his own drum… I was pleased to read he changed his mind about that,” on refusing to work with Mueller investigation.
Stone said he’d “be happy to answer” Mueller’s questions if asked. “There’s nothing there. I have no concerns. I’ll be happy to answer his questions. I believe my e-mails are probably based on that ‘New York Times’ story have already been reviewed.”
On a claim that Stone met with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in 2016, Stone recalled the photo of his passport recently published by The Daily Caller of his passport that’s purported to show that Stone did not leave the country in 2016. “I never met with Assange” in 2016, he said.
Stone said he rejects the idea that Assange works with Russia and called the WikiLeaks publisher “courageous” and better than two prominent U.S. newspapers.
Stone also claimed that he and Trump have never discussed of the hacked Clinton campaign emails posted by WikiLeaks. “I can honestly say that candidate Trump, Donald Trump, President Trump and I have never discussed the WikiLeaks disclosures before, during or after the election,” he said. When asked if he meant the two had never had a single discussion about the hacked Clinton emails, Stone replied, “That is correct.”
“Chuck, I’ve been accused of being a dirty trickster, but there’s one trick that’s not in my bag: Treason,” Stone said. He noted that in order for him to have committed treason, WikiLeaks and Assange would have to be fronts for the Russia government. Stone reiterated he does not believe this to be the case, and reiterated that he had no advanced knowledge about the timing of the Clinton campaign emails leaked and posted by WikiLeaks in the final months of the 2016 presidential election.
ROGER STONE on #MTPDaily says he got no documents from the Russians. “I never received any documents from anyone.” pic.twitter.com/NTUqWlhiR2
Roger Stone tells @chucktodd that he and Donald Trump have never discussed WikiLeaks or Hillary Clinton’s emails pic.twitter.com/qjaEGDdFmX
A decades-long friend of Trump’s, Stone is a longtime GOP political operative who worked with Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and partnered with embattled former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort at the outside political consultant firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly beginning throughout the 1980s.
In September, Stone spoke to the House intelligence committee for more than three hours as part of the panel’s probe into Russian interference in the election. Afterward, he told reporters that the majority of lawmakers’ questions focused on his communications with Guccifer 2.0, the unnamed hacker who has taken credit for breaking into Democratic National Committee email servers. He said questions also focused on communications he had through an intermediary with Assange.
“I never received anything whatsoever from WikiLeaks regarding the source, content or timing of their disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton, the DNC or Podesta. I never received any material from them at all. I never received any material from any source that constituted the material ultimately published by WikiLeaks. I never discussed the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton or the DNC with candidate or President Donald Trump before during or after the election. I don’t know what Donald Trump knew about the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding Hillary or the DNC if anything and who he learned it from if anyone.”
Stone further claims, “No one, including Sam Nunberg is in possession If any evidence to the contrary because such evidence does not exist … This will be an impossible case to bring because the allegation that I knew about the WikiLeaks disclosures beyond what Assange himself had said in interviews and tweets or that I had and shared this material with anyone in the Trump campaign or anyone else is categorically false. Assange himself has said and written that I never predicted anything that he had not already stated in public.”