Roger Stone takes 5th, refuses to answer questions from House committee investigating Jan. 6

Bart Jansen
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Roger Stone, a longtime Republican political operative and provocateur, refused Friday to answer questions from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection under his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

"I question the legitimacy of this inquiry," Stone told reporters after a 90-minute session with the panel. "I stress yet again that I was not on the Ellipse. I did not march to the Capitol. I was not at the Capitol. And any claim, assertion or even implication that I knew about or was involved in any way whatsoever with the illegal and politically counter-productive activities of Jan. 6 is categorically false."

Roger Stone, a former adviser and confidante to former President Donald Trump, arrives to the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Federal Building for a deposition before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol on December 17, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Stone, who was pardoned by President Trump before leaving office, is set to plead the Fifth Amendment when he appears before the committee.

Stone was the first witness to publicly acknowledge refusing to testify under the Fifth Amendment. Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark has also said he would refuse to answer questions under the Fifth Amendment, but his deposition that was scheduled for Thursday was postponed for health reasons.

The committee subpoenaed Stone on Nov. 22 to ask about a D.C. rally where he spoke Jan. 5 and about his fundraising through the website stopthesteal.org. While in Washington, he reportedly used members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right group whose members have been charged in the riot at the Capitol, as his security team, according to the committee.

The committee is investigating what led to the Jan. 6 riot and what happened that day, when 140 police offices were injured and four people died as a mob ransacked the building and temporarily halted the counting of Electoral College votes. One officer died the next day after suffering a stroke.

The chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said when the subpoena was issued that the panel is investigating who organized and paid for the Trump rally on the Ellipse near the White House. 

“The Select Committee is seeking information about the rallies and subsequent march to the Capitol that escalated into a violent mob attacking the Capitol and threatening our democracy," Thompson said. 

More:Who has been subpoenaed so far by the Jan. 6 committee?

Stone was convicted in November 2019 of seven felonies, including lying to Congress and obstructing an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. But former President Donald Trump commuted the sentence in July 2020, days before he was scheduled to begin serving a 40-month sentence. Trump later pardoned Stone.