Donald Trump says that he hasn’t thought about a pardon for his ally and former adviser, Roger Stone. During an interview on Face the Nation with CBS’s Margaret Brennan, the president mused over Stone’s indictment for obstruction, witness tampering, and false statements.
Trump began the conversation around Stone by distancing the adviser from his 2016 election campaign.
“First of all, Roger Stone didn’t work on the campaign, except way, way at the beginning long before we’re talking about,” Trump said.
In addition to attempting to put distance between Stone and the campaign, Trump added praise for his longtime ally.
“Roger is somebody that I’ve always liked, but a lot of people like Roger, some people probably don’t like Roger, but Roger Stone’s somebody I’ve always liked,” he added.
Stone has been charged with crimes as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, including obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and five counts of making false statements to Congress. He was also charged with witness tampering. Last week, he pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Stone is accused of lying about his part in communicating with WikiLeaks in order to facilitate the release of hacked emails from Democratic leaders before the 2016 election, something that some claim could have swayed the results of the election. Trump claims that he has never spoken with Stone about the WikiLeaks situation. Stone, however, has claimed repeatedly during the 2016 campaign that he had spoken with Trump and the Trump campaign.
When Brennan asked Trump if he had considered pardoning Stone if he is convicted of the charges, he said that he hadn’t given it much thought.
“I have not thought about it. It looks like he’s defending himself very well. But you have to get rid of the Russia witch hunt because it is indeed,” he said.
Trump also told Brennan that it was up to his attorney general to decide whether or not Mueller’s findings are made public after the investigation is complete, but insisted that none of Mueller’s findings so far implicate him in any way.
“That’s up to the attorney general. I don’t know. It depends. I have no idea what it’s going to say.”
Stone is the sixth person associated with Trump to be implicated in Mueller’s Russia investigation. He has spent the past few months discussing his case prior to his arrest. The judge overseeing the case has said that she is considering issuing a gag order in order to stop Stone from talking.