Republican political consultant Roger Stone, a longtime ally of President Donald Trump, flatly denied allegations of collusion between the president's associates and Russian Federation during the 2016 United States election in a meeting with lawmakers on Tuesday.
Stone is defending himself in a lengthy statement released ahead of an appearance before the House intelligence committee Tuesday.
Stone, a famously flamboyant political flamethrower, has been eager to testify.
After Stone spoke, Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said Stone had declined to answer one line of questions, and the panel might have to subpoena him to return and do so. "Understand, I will expose the truth in every forum and on every platform available to me".
"A fair amount" of the questions were related to his communications with Assange, mostly from committee Democrats, Stone said.
Stone entered the committee's secure spaces shortly before 9 a.m., slinging a Louis Vuitton tote bag, trailing a cameraman for the conspiracy website Infowars and vowing only to tell "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth". Stone said that it was an off-the-record conversation with a journalist, though he added he would ask the journalist to release him from the off-the-record agreement.
Mike Conaway, the Republican lawmaker overseeing the investigation, said he had no response to Stone. Schiff wouldn't say what the area was, though it had to do with Stone's description of his intermediary.
The House panel is investigating the Russian interference.
He also told reporters that Stone's comments to the media describing the hearing were "accurate".
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Stone said he had spoken to Trump "recently", but not about his appearance before the committee.
Multiple sources told CNN that Stone did not provide the committee with records about his alleged contacts with Russians, despite the panel's request. The Senate intelligence committee will speak to officials from Twitter Thursday, also behind closed doors.
Stone is, for the first time, releasing those communications, which he says are "innocuous".
"Imagine my deep disappointment when Mr. Schiff purposefully conflated these dates before this committee, reversing them to create the false impression that I had communicated with Guccifer 2.0 on Twitter prior to publication of the article questioning whether Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian cut-out", he said, referring to a Breitbart News article he wrote on August 5, 2016.
Stone confirmed his interview, which will be held Tuesday. Manafort has also been scrutinized in the investigations into Russian Federation and the election. He has also released a series of supporting documents, including texts he exchanged with Guccifer 2.0, the unnamed hacker who has taken credit for breaking into Democratic National Committee email servers.
Guccifer writes: "I'm pleased to say that u r great man. please tell me if I can help u anyhow".
During the presidential campaign last summer, Stone seemed to predict on a few occasions that WikiLeaks would soon release damaging information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Several weeks later, Assange released Podesta's hacked emails.
Stone wrote in his statement that the tweet referred instead to knowledge of Podesta's business dealings based on the Panama Papers, the massive 2015 leak of documents from worldwide law firm and corporate services provider Mossack Fonseca.
In his combative and aggrieved opening statement spanning nearly 30 pages, Stone demanded apologies from lawmakers from both parties who have pursued the Russian Federation investigation on Capitol Hill - as well as from Clinton. "I do not engage in any illegal activities on behalf of my clients or the causes in which I support", he wrote in the statement.