Trump ally Stone offers to testify in
Russian meddling probe
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[March 27, 2017]
By Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Roger Stone, a
longtime ally of President Donald Trump, said on Sunday he has offered
to testify before a congressional committee investigating possible
Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and ties to the Trump
Stone, an informal adviser to Trump, told ABC's "This Week" he had not
received a reply from the House of Representatives intelligence
committee on his offer of public testimony.
Along with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has also
offered to appear before the panel, Stone was among the Trump associates
whose communications and financial transactions were being examined by
the FBI and others as part of a larger investigation into possible links
with Russian officials, according to a Jan. 20 report in the New York
Without citing any names, FBI Director James Comey confirmed at the
committee's public hearing last week that the FBI was investigating
possible Russian ties to Trump's campaign as Moscow sought to influence
the 2016 election.
Stone said he was anxious to testify in public.
"I reiterate again, I have had no contacts or collusions with the
Russians," he told ABC, adding later, "There is no collusion, none, at
least none that I know about, in Donald Trump's campaign for president."
At Monday's intelligence committee hearing, Adam Schiff, the top
Democrat on the panel, cited concern over Stone's communications with
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Guccifer 2, who claimed
responsibility for hacking the Democratic groups.
Stone said he had spoken to Assange through an intermediary and to
Guccifer on Twitter in an exchange he made public. Stone also cast doubt
on whether Guccifer was a Russian agent.
"Just because the intelligence services say something, as we know from
history, does not make it true," he said, reflecting the doubts that
Trump himself has sown about U.S. spy agencies.
Carter Page, another Trump campaign adviser whose contacts with Russians
were mentioned by Schiff at Monday's hearing, also has offered to appear
before the committee, according to multiple media reports.
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia sponsored the
hacking of Democratic Party groups during the 2016 campaign to benefit
Republican Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Russia has denied the
allegations of meddling.
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Political advisor Roger Stone. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Trump has dismissed the idea of any coordination between his
campaign and Russia and has accused Democrats and the media of using
the issue to attack him.
The House committee investigation was marred on Wednesday after its
Republican chairman, Representative Devin Nunes, announced to the
public and briefed Trump that U.S. intelligence may have swept up
communications by Trump associates before telling the committee.
Nunes apologized to the intelligence panel the next day.
However, he further alienated Democrats on the committee on Friday
when he canceled a hearing with intelligence officials from former
Democratic President Barack Obama's administration in order to have
a classified briefing with the directors of the National Security
Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The committee's top Democrat, Adam Schiff, suggested the
cancellation came after pressure from the White House.
Schiff and other Democrats said last week's actions raised more
doubts about whether Nunes, a Trump ally who served on the
president's transition team, can conduct a credible investigation.
"I think the chairman has to make a decision whether to act as a
surrogate of the White House as he did during the campaign and the
transition or to lead an independent and credible, investigation,”
Schiff told CBS' “Face the Nation.”
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Lindsay
Dunsmuir; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
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