Conspiracy theorist, Trump ally, and wearer of mostly tacky overpriced clothes Roger Stone appeared for deposition before the January 6 select committee on Friday and as he broadcast earlier this month, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right in response to every question that was asked.
CNN reported Friday that Stone’s deposition took a little over an hour and when he made his exit from the meeting, he told reporters in his now painfully predictable rhetoric: “This is a witch hunt 3.0.”
One of the grievances he aired Friday was a line well-tread by Republicans in Congress since the committee’s inception.
Though he didn’t have much at all to tell the committee Friday, he did use the hours before his appointment to raise funds across social media. The panel is bogus, he cried, because “Speaker Pelosi rejected the appointment of Republicans to the committee and seated two anti-Trump Republicans.”
When the committee was proposed, GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy was given ample opportunity to negotiate terms with Pelosi but insisted that the probe of the January 6 attack extend to other unrelated incidents of violence. Pelosi also offered to form a committee that was evenly split between Republicans and Democrats but because McCarthy didn’t get every wish on his checklist ticked off, he soured on the deal and the House went forward with the commission anyway.
Investigators on the committee sought records and testimony from Stone because of his closeness to Trump in the run-up to the insurrection. Stone also regularly promoted Trump’s lies about election fraud and importantly, investigators believe Stone was funneling cash for the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement. The self-professed ‘dirty trickster’ was in D.C. multiple times before January 6, including a rally on December 12 urging Trump’s supporters to “fight until the bitter end to stop Biden from taking office.”
Stone maintained on Friday that he was not on the Ellipse on January 6, nor was he at the Capitol during the siege.
“I was not at the Capitol and any claim, assertion, or even implication that I knew about or was involved in any way whatsoever with the illegal and politically counter-productive activities of January 6 is categorically false,” Stone said.
But video surfaced in February showing Stone in D.C. and near the Capitol that morning, and as reported by ABC News, “flanked by members of the Oath Keepers militia group.”
The select committee has pointed to Stone’s own promotion of his appearance at the ‘Stop the Steal’ event that day and has highlighted how Stone even went so far as to take donations to fund his “march to the Capitol.” That solicitation was first reported by Mother Jones.
The select committee is also investigating Stone’s ties to members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, both groups that the GOP operative has relied on for his personal security at various pro-Trump events. Some of those makeshift bodyguards have been indicted on crimes related to the attack on the Capitol.
Stone’s silence before Congress was expected and probably the best course of action for the aging interloper; he was convicted in November 2019 on seven felony counts, including impeding a congressional inquiry. Trump pardoned him last July. How the lapdog will now fare in Trump’s eyes will depend on events, but as was pointed out on Twitter Friday, the twice-impeached former president may not look so sunnily on his old friend:
In addition to Stone, John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark have also invoked the Fifth Amendment. Eastman crafted a six-point strategy to convince former Vice President Mike Pence that he could delay the certification. Clark, a former Justice Department official, according to records obtained by the committee, was engaged in a pressure campaign against Georgia state and election officials at Trump’s directive.