Roger Stone denied in congressional testimony claims that he worked with Russian operatives to aid President Donald Trump’s election.
The longtime Trump associate and Republican political operative admitted he had been described as a “dirty trickster,” but he insisted that he had not colluded with foreign governments to hack the GOP’s opponents during last year’s campaign.
“I do not engage in illegal activities on behalf of my clients or the causes in which I support,” Stone told lawmakers in an opening statement posted online by The Daily Caller. “There is one ‘trick’ that is not in my bag and that is treason.”
Emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign aides were published by WikiLeaks ahead of the election, and Trump promoted their theft and release — and backed claims about their contents made by state-owned Russian media outlets.
U.S. intelligence services have concluded that Russian president Vladimir Putin directed the theft as part of an effort to interfere with the presidential election.
Stone communicated with an alleged hacker, known as Guccifer 2.0, last year and appeared to know ahead of time about the contents of stolen emails before they were published by WikiLeaks.
He denied Guccifer 2.0 had links to Russia and insisted their communication was benign and, now, entirely public.
Stone was called to testify Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee, and he accused lawmakers of “cowardice” for keeping his testimony in a closed session.
(Correction: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated that the opening statement was first published by WikiLeaks.)