Roger Stone denies talking with Trump about pardon in Russia probe

Roger Stone said Sunday he has had no contact with Donald Trump about a possible presidential pardon in case he gets swept up in Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But in case a pardon is on offer, the longtime Trump associate and adviser made his loyalty abundantly clear, insisting in a television interview that he would never testify against the president.

“There’s no circumstance under which I would testify against the president, because I’d have to bear false witness against him. I’d have to make things up, and I’m not going to do that,” he told ABC’s This Week program. “I’ve had no discussion regarding a pardon,” he said.

Stone added that he has also “had no such discussions” regarding a pardon for former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who pleaded guilty last week after being convicted on bank and tax fraud charges in order to avoid a second, separate trial.

Speculation has been rife in recent weeks that Stone could soon be indicted  in the Mueller investigation. He has increasingly come under scrutiny for his alleged contact with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election and has previously said he had no knowledge of the group’s plans to release emails hacked from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Stone once again on Sunday denied any contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, or any contact with then-candidate Trump and his campaign about WikiLeaks.

Trump in a written statement to Mueller has also reportedly asserted that he did not speak with Stone about WikiLeaks.

When asked by George Stephanopoulos whether the fact that he has not spoken with Mueller or his team suggests “that you are actually a target,” Stone hit back, saying it “suggests nothing at all.”

“Again, where is the crime?” he said. “I engaged in politics.”

When pressed further about whether he did any “dirty tricks” during the campaign, Stone replied, “The characterization of me as a ‘dirty trickster’ comes from Democrats.”

“I’ve never done anything in politics that was outside the norms of my colleagues and my contemporaries,” he continued. “And I’ve always made it clear that so-called dirty tricks come up to but do not cross the line into illegality.”

Later in the program, Stephanopolous asked ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) whether he found Stone’s comments credible, Schiff replied, “No I didn’t. Not at all.”

Source: thinkprogress