Roger Stone is apparently reconsidering his promise – made to a group of reporters outside of a federal courthouse on Friday – that he would absolutely take his case to trial and wouldn’t under any circumstances testify against President Trump.
In an unusual PR strategy for a man facing a seven-count indictment that includes charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering, Stone launched what appears to be the second round of an all-out media blitz on Sunday during an extensive interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” (the first round was his post-bail-hearing appearance outside the courthouse, a full transcript of which can be found here).
When asked if he was prepared to tell the truth about his dealings with president Trump and the campaign, Stone replied that he was prepared to testify honestly. Asked if there was any chance that he might cooperate with the Mueller probe, Stone said that’s something he would need to discuss with his attorneys. Though he also asserted that the president’s claims that there was no conspiracy with Russia are correct.
“You know, that’s a question I would have to – I have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion,” Stone told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopolous on “This Week” Sunday. “If there’s wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is I would certainly testify honestly. I’d also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president. It’s true that we spoke on the phone, but those communications are political in nature, they’re benign, and there is – there is certainly no conspiracy with Russia. The president’s right, there is no Russia collusion.”
Moving on, Stephanopoulos asked Stone if he had ever discussed the Mueller investigation or the Russian collusion allegations with the president.
“Have you ever had any conversations with the president during the campaign or since the campaign about Russia or the Mueller investigation?” Stephanopolous asked.
None whatsoever,” he said. “Categorically…Zero. Zero.”
Toward the beginning of the interview, Stephanopoulos asked what Stone hopes to accomplish with his TV appearances…given that most people tend to avoid the spotlight after an indictment.
“I think the way I was treated on Thursday is extraordinary,” he said. “I think the American people need to hear about it.”
Asked if he would be pressing for a pardon like other campaign staff (Manafort, for example), Stone answered with an unequivocal ‘no’.
“Absolutely not. I have never discussed a pardon…the only person I have ever advocated for a pardon for is a posthumous pardon for Marcus Garvey.”
Stone insisted that all of the charges against him stemmed from benign behavior and memory lapses, or conversations between himself and Randy Credico or Jerome Corsi that had been taken out of context. For example, the infamous ‘Frank Pentangeli’ reference was the result of a humorous exchange between Stone and Credico.
After Stone’s arrest, Bloomberg revealed that the senior Trump campaign official cited in the indictment as a contact Stone had with the campaign was Steve Bannon. During Stone’s interview with ABC, he said that he had advocated for Bannon to be fired during the campaign. Given that Stone hasn’t ruled out cooperating with the probe against other campaign officials – and given that Bannon, like Stone, has been hauled in front of both Congress and Mueller’s team to answer questions, we think that might offer some clues about where Mueller might be looking next.
Watch the full interview below: