Stone declines Dem request for interview, invokes Fifth Amendment

Republican operative and longtime Trump ally Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneRoger Stone challenges Dems to produce WikiLeaks evidence Google chief defends company during Capitol Hill grilling Alex Jones heckles Google CEO heading into House hearing 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 FeinsteinPence casts tie-breaking vote for Trump appeals court judge Time fumbles another 'Person of the Year' by excluding Kavanaugh Bottom Line 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 TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time 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 GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — House passes bill to stop drug companies overcharging Medicaid | Incoming Dem chairman open to 'Medicare For All' hearings | Bill to reduce maternal mortality rates passes House House passes bill to keep drug companies from overcharging Medicaid Pence casts tie-breaking vote for Trump appeals court judge MORE (R-Iowa).

Stone has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers on Capitol Hill and from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE as a result of his public pronouncements about WikiLeaks before the 2016 election. Stone appeared to forecast the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone challenges Dems to produce WikiLeaks evidence Steve King asks Google CEO for names of employees to see if they're liberals O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll 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.