Roger Stone, Donald Trump's trusted adviser who on more than one occasion claimed to be in touch with Guccifer 2.0 and seemingly had prior knowledge that the emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta would be leaked, had what he called a “frank exchange” with members of the House Intelligence Committee Thursday, but refused to answer questions around his interactions with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Denying he had colluded with Russia to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, Stone said in a statement released before his testimony, "I understand the committee's interest in me, I use all clauses of the 1st Amendment to achieve my goals, I am out there, I am provocative and partisan, but let's be clear: I have no involvement in the alleged activities that are within the publicly stated scope of this committee's investigation -- collusion with the Russian state to affect the outcome of the 2016 election."
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said lawmakers want “to understand the nature of his relationship with Guccifer, what he knew about the release of information," contending, according to a CNN report, that Stone “predicted certain releases, so we're going to really want to understand the nature of that relationship and how broadly that relationship extended."
But Stone denied having prior knowledge of the Podesta hack. "I posted this at a time that my boyhood friend and colleague Paul Manafort had just resigned from the Trump campaign over allegations regarding his business activities in Ukraine," according to his statement. "I thought it manifestly unfair that John Podesta not be held to the same standard."