Roger Stone, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, met briefly Friday with the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot and asserted his Fifth Amendment rights to every question asked, he said.
Stone emerged from the deposition after only 90 minutes and told reporters he invoked the Fifth Amendment, which offers protection against self-incrimination, “not because I have done anything wrong, but because I am fully aware of the House Democrats’ long history of fabricating perjury charges.”
“I question the legitimacy of this inquiry,” Stone said, “based on the fact that Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi rejected the appointment of Republicans to this committee and seated two anti-Trump Republicans. This is witch hunt 3.0.”
“I stress yet again that I was not on the Ellipse. I did not march to the Capitol. 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,” he added.
Stone said that he is disturbed by investigations into his activity on January 5, telling reporters Friday that it was constitutionally protected free speech and the right to free assembly.
The long-time Republican operative used the hours before his deposition to raise money for his legal defense fund on his social media accounts and to insist he hasn’t done anything wrong.
Two other high-profile witnesses also have indicated they would plead the Fifth: John Eastman, the lawyer who helped craft a questionable legal theory that former Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to interrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, and Jeffrey Clark, a former top Justice Department official during the Trump administration.
Stone not only promoted his appearance at a January 6 “Stop the Steal” event but solicited donations for it and stated his purpose at the rally was to “lead a march to the Capitol,” according to the panel’s subpoena letter to him.
The committee added that, according to media reports, Stone used members of the Oath Keepers as personal security guards, several of whom stormed the Capitol and at least one who has been indicted, while he was in Washington.
Following the last major House inquiry into election integrity, after the 2016 election, Stone was convicted in federal court of obstructing Congress by lying about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks on behalf of the Trump campaign.
At his criminal trial, which occurred before the end of the Trump administration, the Justice Department successfully argued Stone lied to Congress to protect Trump. Trump later pardoned him.
GOP fundraiser involved in January 6 rally meets with committee
The committee also met Friday with Caroline Wren, one of the organizers of rallies that took place on and around January 6, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to CNN.
CNN previously reported that the committee is looking into organizers with “Women for America First,” which helped with the Ellipse event, including Wren.
Wren was a major fundraiser for the Trump campaign and multiple sources interviewed by the committee previously said investigators are interested in her role as a fundraiser for the rally and the source of those funds.
The committee’s subpoena to Wren notes she was a “VIP advisor” to the rally.
“Caroline Wren received tens of thousands of dollars as a consultant for the Trump campaign and the RNC joint fundraising committee,” CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen told CNN in October, noting she is just one of several individuals whose financials could shed light on the degree of connection between the former President and the January 6 rally.
CNN saw Wren enter the committee interview room Friday afternoon where she answered questions for several hours. CBS was first to report the committee’s meeting with Wren.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Ryan Nobles and Sara Murray contributed to this report.