Roger Stone downplays 'process crime' after arrest by FBI

'No evidence whatsoever' of Wikileaks disclosures

By CNN'S KATELYN POLANTZ CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.
Copyright 2019 CNN

Roger Stone appeared on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" Friday night, just hours after his release from jail.

(CNN) - Roger Stone, an informal political adviser to President Donald Trump, downplayed his Friday indictment by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as based on a "process crime" that doesn't show collusion with WikiLeaks or the Russian government.

"First of all, I always said that there could be some process crime," Stone told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Cuomo Prime Time."

"There's still no evidence whatsoever that I had advance knowledge of the topic, the subject, or the source of the WikiLeaks disclosures. I never received any of the WikiLeaks disclosures. I never communicated with Assange or WikiLeaks other than the limited communication on Twitter on direct message, which I gave to the House Intelligence Committee last September, I guess it was."

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Stone denied ever speaking to the President about WikiLeaks' release of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's hacked emails during the 2016 campaign.

He also denied ever seeking the stolen emails in coordination with senior Trump campaign officials.

"No senior campaign official told me to find out anything about WikiLeaks," he said. "That doesn't mean Mr. Mueller can't induce somebody to say that, but there'll be no corroboration for it."

Stone also criticized the FBI, which arrested him at his home in Florida just after 6 a.m. Friday. Mueller wrote in the indictment that publicly disclosing the arrest would "increase the risk of the defendant fleeing and destroying (or tampering with) evidence" in an explanation for its manner.

"There was no need to have 29 FBI agents with assault weapons and side arms and hand grenades and a battering ram to smash in my front door," Stone said. "They could simply have called my attorney and I would have surrendered voluntarily."

"When you don't have evidence, you use theatrics," he added.

When asked whether his testimony could compromise other campaign officials, Stone replied, "certainly not the President."

He said it would be "highly unlikely" that he could implicate other officials, adding that he was not "in regular contact with the campaign" after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort left his role, and that the remaining aides "were not close associates of mine."

Mueller alleges that the longtime Trump associate sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Trump's opponents while in coordination with senior Trump campaign officials.

Stone was arrested by the FBI on Friday morning at his home in Florida. He had been indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on seven counts: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering.

This story has been updated.

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