By Steve Neavling
President Trump’s political consultant Roger J. Stone Jr. is under investigation for possibly colluding with the Russians to help interfere in the presidential election.
Stone, a full-time provocateur, was mentioned during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, when FBI Director James Comey was asked if he was familiar with Stone, the New York Times reports.
“Generally, yes,” Comey responded before saying he wouldn’t discuss individual people.
Hillary Clinton campaign chairman, John D. Podeta, accused Stone, 64, of knowing about the hacks before they became public.
“Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” Stone had mused on Twitter before Podesta’s emails were released.
When asked how Stone would know about the leak before it happened, Comey balked, saying “That’s not something I can comment on.”
The New York Times wrote:
Mr. Stone has denied advance knowledge of the hacks or any involvement with the Russians. But his public statements have given investigators something to focus on.
Before the Podesta emails were released, Mr. Stone said in a speech that he had “communicated with” Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder — whom he has defended for years — and that he had a large trove of material on the Clintons that he would publish shortly before the election. He has acknowledged having communicated over Twitter with the online persona Guccifer 2.0, who American officials believe is a front for Russian intelligence officials. And there was the Podesta tweet.
But Mr. Stone has explanations for each: The timeline of his “benign” contacts with Guccifer 2.0 — “who may or not be a Russian asset” — disproves claims of collusion; his communication with Mr. Assange was through an intermediary and was “perfectly legal;” and the Podesta tweet referred to information in an article he wrote that appeared two months later, not any emails.
Now under scrutiny by both F.B.I. and Senate investigators, Mr. Stone has hired two lawyers to represent him. But in an interview, Mr. Stone maintained that this was “a scandal with no evidence.”