- Roger Stone, President Donald Trump’s longtime ally and informal campaign adviser, remained defiant in a television appearance two days after he was indicted by the special counsel’s office.
- After Stone had waved off the indictment as “thin,” former prosecutor Chris Christie told host George Stephanopoulos “it’s not.”
- Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney later distanced the White House from Stone’s legal proceedings, saying the charges don’t “have anything to do with the president.”
Roger Stone, President Donald Trump’s longtime ally and informal campaign adviser, remained defiant in a television appearance two days after he was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
Stone, who was indicted Friday on one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, and one count of witness tampering, waved off the charges Sunday.
“In view of the fact that I expect to be acquitted and vindicated and that my attorneys…I believe that this indictment is thin as p— on a rock, I’m prepared to fight for my life,” Stone told host George Stephanopoulos.
Chris Christie, former prosecutor and governor of New Jersey, rebuked Stone’s characterization of the indictment as thin, saying “it’s not.”
“Every white-collar defendant when they’re confronted in this circumstance with a bunch of documents of their own making try to say they’re out of context,” Christie said later on “This Week.”
“The fact is he’s got a problem because they’ve got all these e-mails and text messages that he created, that tell a pretty clear story,” Christie continued.
On the charge related to his contacts with people linked to the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks, Stone said he never received “any stolen or hacked material,” only publicly available information that he tried “to get as much attention as possible.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining if Trump associates had advance knowledge that Russian hackers had breached the servers of the Democratic National Committee and stolen batches of emails belonging to the committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Those emails were released by Wikileaks and are considered by many to have affected the results of the 2016 election. Stone has previously hinted that he had advance knowledge of the dumps but distanced himself from Wikileaks on Sunday.
“All I did was take publicly available information and try to hype it to get it as much attention as possible because I had a tip that the information was politically significant and that it would come in October,” he said on “This Week.”
Stone’s other statements after his indictment include that he plans to plead not guilty and will not testify against Trump, which he seemed to muddle in his comments 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,” Stone said. “I’d also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president.”
Stone continued: “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.”
Stone’s boisterous comments after the indictment provoked a number of reactions from lawmakers, with Sen. Susan Collins saying on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the charges against Stone show “a disturbing pattern of lying to Congress” and this instance shows the importance of Mueller “being allowed to complete his investigation unimpeded.”
The investigation’s authority has become a concern among lawmakers. Democrats have expressed concern over the incoming attorney general’s potential effect the investigation’s future.
In a later interview on “Face the Nation,” acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney sought to distance the White House from Stone’s comments and legal proceedings.
“The stuff happening with Roger Stone doesn’t have anything to do with the White House, doesn’t have anything to do with the president and certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the staff at the White House,” Mulvaney said.
Sonam Sheth contributed reporting.
Watch the full interview below: