Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone emerged out of a closed-door, three-hour-plus interview with the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday and told reporters that he answered “all” of their questions except one.
“The only question I declined to answer,” Stone said, was about the identity of a journalist he has claimed was an intermediary between him and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Stone, who is known for his wily relationship with the press and his flair for fashion, answered reporters’ questions after his interview for more than 10 minutes. He repeated what he previously told Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff, that he would not identify the Assange intermediary. He recounted what his attorneys have been told about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Paul Manafort, who was once Stone’s partner at a lobbying firm.
Stone said Manafort’s lawyers told his lawyers that they expect to Manafort to be indicted.
“I think what’s happening here is that the special counsel will try to manufacture a crime and then say, ‘Look, Manafort, we won’t prosecute you for this if you simply admit you were colluding with the Russians and that Donald Trump knew everything.'” Stone said. “In other words, bear false witness against the President. ”
Stone has not been contacted by Mueller’s team, he said.
He also said that the FBI raid on Manafort’s home was “outrageous” and that the agents “not only took away two folders of documents, all of which they already had, but they photographed all of his custom Italian suits in his closet.”
Asked who had better tailors, Stone, who had previously boasted about his English tailored suit, said, “English tailoring is always better than Italian tailoring, at least for my body shape.”
He said that there were no moments during Tuesday’s congressional interview that made him “uncomfortable,” but that he did receive pushback from the committee for declining to identify his intermediary to Assange.
“The reason I am not submitting that name is because the intermediary is a journalist and the conversation was off the record. I’m an opinion journalist. He’s a journalist. I’m not going to burn somebody who I spoke to off the record,” Stone said.
He added that he was going to talk to the journalist to see if he can get his permission to reveal his identity to the congressional investigators.
I asked Roger Stone the 1 question he refused to answer. The ? critical in explaining his connection with Wikileaks. https://t.co/AnWAgGyy1n
— Mike Quigley (@RepMikeQuigley) September 26, 2017
Stone had told a local GOP group in Florida in August, 2016 he had “actually communicated with Julian Assange” — a claim he repeated multiple times that month while hinting at campaign-related Wikileaks dumps to come. He has since claimed that there was in fact no direct back channel or communications between him and Assange. His opening statement to the House Intel Committee, which Stone released Monday evening, said that it was actually Wikileaks’ public Twitter account that first tipped him off that they’d obtained Hillary Clinton emails, and that “a journalist who I knew had interviewed Assange to independently confirm this report.”
After Stone’s scrum with reporters, House Intel Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) delivered his own brief statement.
“There was one significant area of somewhat importance to the committee that Mr. Stone was unwilling to answer our questions. We hope that he will cooperate in the future. If not, it will be necessary to subpoena him to bring him back to answer those important questions,” he said. He did not answer reporters’ questions, including one about whether he was referring to the identity of the Assange-linked journalist.
Stone’s opening statement included blistering criticisms of Schiff and other House Intel Dems for making “irresponsible, indisputably, and provably false statements” about him.
He told reporters that he did not get to personally ask for an apology from Schiff nor was he expecting one from some of the other committee Dems.
“I’m not holding my breath,” he said.
Update: This story has been updated to include a tweet from House Intel member Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL).