Roger Stone Hits Morning Shows To Contradict White House Claims On Comey Firing, Claims He Spoke With Trump “Fairly Recently”
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Appearing on the May 11 editions of NBC’s Today and CNN’s New Day, longtime adviser to President Donald Trump Roger Stone contradicted Trump’s May 10 claim that he had “not spoken to Roger in a long time” and that Stone “had nothing to do with my decision." Trump’s claim followed CNN's reporting that Stone had urged Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey. Stone, however, had said on May 5 that he talked to Trump “less than a week ago.” Before Trump fired Comey, Stone repeatedly attacked the former FBI director and urged Trump to fire him, and in his May 11 interviews, Stone refused to deny that he had “recommended to the president that he fire Comey.” Stone suggested that he had written memos on the matter to Trump and said that he had spoken with him “fairly recently, but not yesterday,” adding that it was “incorrect” that the two had not spoken in months. Stone has reportedly been under FBI investigation regarding “possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump.”
From the May 11 edition of NBC's Today:
MATT LAUER (CO-HOST): So, you've made the headlines again. Because of the firing of [former FBI Director] James Comey, people are reporting, and when I say people, The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, New York Times -- that you are one of the people who strongly urged President Trump to fire James Comey. True or not true?
ROGER STONE: I'm not the source of any of those stories. You won't see me quoted in any of those stories.
LAUER: Did you urge President Trump to fire James Comey?
STONE: I have always taken the position that conversations between the president and I, in the terms of the scope and the content and the frequency, would remain private. I'm not going to contradict the president of the United States here. That said, my views on firing Mr. Comey are extremely well-known.
LAUER: Yeah, but come on, Roger. Don't play fast and loose with me here. Did you have a conversation with him where you said, "By the way, this guy needs to go"?
STONE: I'm not going to characterize any conversation I've had with the president on this subject or any other. I do think he needed to go. I think the president did the right thing. I think he has become -- he became unaccountable.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE (CO-HOST): Just to button it up, fair to say you're not denying that you recommended to the president that he fire Comey? You're not denying that.
STONE: Well, I'm an inveterate memo writer as well. So no, I'm not.
GUTHRIE: OK, second part of it. When was the last time you spoke to Mr. Trump?
STONE: Fairly recently, but not yesterday.
GUTHRIE: Would you be surprised if a White House official said it had been months?
STONE: That would be incorrect.
GUTHRIE: And Donald Trump himself said it had been a long time.
STONE: Yeah, a "long time." I'm not sure how you define that. Look, I am loyal supporter of Donald Trump. I think he has the potential to be a transformational president. I’m not going to contradict him here on the Today show. I think in case of James Comey, he made the right decision.
GUTHRIE: Has the FBI contacted you yet?
STONE: They have not.
GUTHRIE: Still has not contacted you?
STONE: Have not.
From the May 11 edition of CNN's New Day:
CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): So, the idea that Comey had to go, you were in favor, yes?
ROGER STONE: Yes.
CUOMO: And, did you communicate that to the president?
STONE: I've always taken the position that conversations beween the president and I in terms of scope or content or frequency -- and they're occasional -- would remain private. And I'm certainly not going to contradict the president of the United States. That said, I think the president made the right decision. Mr. Comey had become unaccountable. He seemed to look into certain crimes that he thought were important but not other crimes, and the president and the country has to have FBI director who is not politicized and who they can trust.
CUOMO: We'll talk about the grounds, but look, facts matter.
CUOMO: They just do. And it matters that you communicate with the president. And I'm not saying that that's something that would be good or bad, but it either is or is not true. And you have said many times, as you know, you remember what you say, that you are in regular contact with the president.
STONE: I think I said "occasionally." I don't speak to him every day. Donald Trump is his own man. There is no Karl Rove in this administration.
CUOMO: But why would he deny -- and I'm not suggesting otherwise, but what I'm saying is, why would he deny that he speaks with you on a regular, semi-regular basis? Why would he say he hasn't spoken to you in many months when you have said that's not true?
STONE: I actually don't think that's what he said. "A while," I'm not sure how you define that. But, beyond that, I'm just not going to characterize what have been private conversations. Also, Chris, I'm an inveterate memo writer. There are ways to communicate besides the telephone, and Donald Trump is a reader.
CUOMO: Let's talk about this situation with James Comey. The second paragraph in the letter, I think, tells us everything we need to know. If this was not about Comey's disposition on the Russian interference and potential collusion investigation, why include this paragraph, especially when it raises so many questions about whether or not this could be true? Thank you for -- "while I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, nevertheless I concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice, you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau." Now, not only can I not find anybody in the FBI or anyone who knows James Comey who will give that a shred of credibility -- they say Comey would never tell the president or someone around him that he had nothing to do with an investigation. But why do you put that in the letter if that's not the focus of where your head is on Comey?
STONE: Simple reason: because the obvious analogies would be made to Richard Nixon and the Saturday Night Massacre, but it's apples and oranges. Watergate had been in full bloom for 18 months.
CUOMO: For criminal investigations.
STONE: Nixon himself was under investigation when he dismissed [Watergate special prosecutor] Archibald Cox. I'm sorry, but the Russian collusion scandal is a scandal in search of evidence. I've still seen no evidence that would ever hold up in a U.S. court of law of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. I myself am very anxious to testify for the Senate and the House committees in public.