Stone says he invoked 5th amendment at Jan. 6 deposition

Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone says he has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in an interview with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. (AP)

WASHINGTON – Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone says he has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in an interview with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Stone -- who was convicted in 2019 of lying to Congress, but subsequently pardoned by Trump -- told reporters as he left the deposition Friday that “I did my civic duty and I responded as required by law” but that he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights to every question.

The committee subpoenaed Stone last month, noting that he spoke at rallies on the day before the insurrection and used members of a far-right extremist group, the Oath Keepers, as personal security guards while he was in Washington. Several members of that militia group broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, along with hundreds of other supporters of former President Donald Trump, and have been charged with conspiring to block the certification of the vote.

Stone is one of several in Trump’s inner circle who have refused to answer questions from the committee. The House has already held two of Trump’s top allies — Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — in contempt for not cooperating. But many more witnesses have cooperated. The panel has done around 300 interviews as it seeks to create a comprehensive record of the attack.

It is unclear if the panel will vote to hold Stone in contempt. The committee’s leaders have said that they believe witnesses asserting Fifth Amendment rights should be doing so to avoid self-incrimination. Stone told reporters afterward that he did not believe he did anything wrong, but that he asserted the Fifth because he believes Democrats will conspire against him.

A spokesman for the panel did not have immediate comment on Stone.

Stone was convicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation of lying to Congress about his efforts to gather inside information about Russia-hacked Democratic emails that were published by WikiLeaks in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Trump pardoned him in his final weeks in office.