Roger Stone takes the Fifth in Russia probe

  • Roger Stone speaks during Politicon at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif., on July 29, 2017. tns photo

Published: 12/4/2018 11:49:52 PM

NEW YORK — Roger Stone, the right-wing political trickster and longtime Trump adviser, is pleading the Fifth Amendment in the Senate investigation into Russian election interference — making a legal move his boss used to say only mobsters would orchestrate.

Citing the amendment’s protections against self-incrimination, the 66-year-old GOP strategist’s announced Tuesday he won’t sit down for an interview or provide documents to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are exploring his possible connection to WikiLeaks and Russian hackers.

“Mr. Stone’s invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege must be understood by all to be the assertion of a Constitutional right by an innocent citizen who denounces secrecy,” attorney Grant Smith said in a letter to the committee.

President Donald Trump — or at least presidential candidate Trump — disagrees.

“If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Trump asked at a campaign rally in Iowa in 2016 while railing against Clinton aides who had used the constitutional protection to get out of congressional testimony.

Trump at the time said only “the mob takes the Fifth.”

Stone, who is also a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, claimed there’s no comparison between himself and the Clinton aides.

“Stop being bizarre,” he told The New York Daily News in a text when asked about Trump’s 2016 comments. “As you may have read, I am under investigation by (Mueller). Under no circumstances would my lawyers allow me to walk into a perjury trap.”

Stone’s Fifth Amendment announcement came a day after the president praised him for pledging on national television that he would “never testify against Trump.”

“This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’” Trump tweeted.

Stone has long speculated Mueller will indict him on “bogus” charges over his interest in obtaining Clinton emails from WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

The U.S. intelligence community has unanimously concluded Russian government operatives provided WikiLeaks with the hacked Clinton emails as part of its Trump-boosting election interference plot. Mueller has been tasked with finding out whether Trump campaign officials coordinated that plot with the Kremlin.

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