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One-time Trump Aide Might Cooperate in Russia Probe

Roger Stone, a long-time friend and adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, said Sunday he would consider cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and discuss his conversations with the U.S. leader.

Stone, charged last week with lying, obstruction and witness tampering in connection with Trump’s campaign, told ABC’s “This Week” show, the extent of his cooperation with Mueller’s 20-month probe would be something he would “have to determine after my attorneys have some discussions.”

He added, “If there’s wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is, I would certainly testify honestly.”

The 66-year-old Stone, arrested in a pre-dawn FBI raid Friday on his Florida home, has denied wrongdoing, saying hours after his apprehension, “I will plead not guilty to these charges, I will defeat them in court. I believe this is a politically motivated investigation.”

As he left court Friday after posting a $250,000 bond to secure his freedom pending trial, Stone said, “I have made it clear that I will not testify against the president, because I would have to bear false witness against him.”

Stone told ABC that if he cooperates with Mueller, “I’d also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president. It’s true that we spoke on the phone, but those communications are political in nature, they’re benign, and there is certainly no conspiracy with Russia.”

Stone said he never discussed cooperation with Russia with Trump.

“Everything that I did… is constitutionally protected free speech. That is what I engaged in – it is called politics,” Stone said.

Stone is the sixth key figure in Trump’s orbit to be accused of criminal offenses as a result of the Mueller investigation. Five men – former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, campaign aide Rick Gates, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, one-time national security adviser Michael Flynn and former personal attorney Michael Cohen — have pled guilty or been convicted of various offenses.

Papadopoulos served a short jail term, while Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to turn himself in in early March. Manafort, Gates and Flynn are awaiting sentencing.

After Stone’s arrest, Trump sought to distance himself from his one-time aide, saying on Twitter, “Roger Stone didn’t even work for me anywhere near the Election!”