Stone declines Dem request for interview, invokes Fifth Amendment

Republican operative and longtime Trump ally Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneJudge orders Roger Stone to file rebuttal to allegation he violated gag order Federal prosecutors allege Roger Stone violated gag order with Instagram posts House panel subpoenas Flynn, Gates MORE is resisting a request for documents and an interview from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, citing his Fifth Amendment rights.

In a letter released Tuesday by Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDemocratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Negotiators face major obstacles to meeting July border deadline Young activists press for change in 2020 election MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Stone’s attorney described the document request as “unreasonably broad” in scope and characteristic of a “fishing expedition.”

Grant Smith, the attorney, also wrote that Stone would invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid sitting for an interview and to protect himself from being ensnared in “ambiguous circumstances.”

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Feinstein initially requested documents from Stone in November 2017 as part of lawmaker efforts to probe any links between President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE and Russia. The documents requested from Stone include communications between him and WikiLeaks, as well as those with Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign.

Stone indicated in April that he would provide the documents, The Associated Press reported at the time, though he described the request as “approaching absurd” and based on “numerous presumptions.” 

In a Dec. 3 letter made public by Feinstein on Tuesday, Stone ruled out the request.

“Mr. Stone respectfully declines to produce any documents and declines the invitation for an interview,” Smith wrote. “The production of documents that may be responsive to the unreasonably broad scope of the imprecise, fishing expedition, request would unquestionably be a testimonial act protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

Feinstein does not have the power to subpoena Stone in order to compel him to testify before lawmakers or deliver documents. That power would fall to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley raises concerns about objectivity of report critical of GOP tax law's effects Overnight Health Care: Key Trump drug pricing proposal takes step forward | Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic loses bid for license | 2020 Democrats to take part in Saturday forum on abortion rights Key Trump proposal to lower drug prices takes step forward MORE (R-Iowa).

Stone has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers on Capitol Hill and from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report MORE as a result of his public pronouncements about WikiLeaks before the 2016 election. Stone appeared to forecast the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to debate for first time as front-runner Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan Chaotic Trump transition leaks: Debates must tackle how Democrats will govern differently MORE document releases by WikiLeaks in the weeks and months before the organization began publishing emails from the account of John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman, that have since been tied to a Russian hacking operation.

Mueller appears to be probing whether Stone or any other individuals in Trump’s orbit had advanced knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans. Stone maintains that he didn’t, and that his tweets and other public statements were based on publicly available information.

Smith also pointed out in the letter to Feinstein that Stone sat for a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee in its now-defunct investigation into Russian interference, a transcript of which is expected to be released by the committee at some point in the near future.

Stone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.