In her strongest comments yet about the Russia investigation, Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly questioned Friday night what compromising information Vladimir Putin might have on President Donald Trump “politically, personally or financially.”
Pelosi’s statement was in response to the arrest of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone on Friday morning, who was charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation with lying to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks over the release of Democratic emails, as well as witness tampering. In the federal indictment, Mueller wrote that Stone was also in touch with top Trump campaign figures and supporters.
Stone was released on bail after a court hearing in Florida. He maintained his innocence and told a crowd that the charges “relate in no way to Russian collusion,” despite them coming directly from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Late Friday, Pelosi tweeted that Stone’s indictment indicates “there was a deliberate, coordinated effort” by top Trump 2016 officials to interfere with the election.
“It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it,” she wrote in a statement.
Pelosi also questioned why the Trump administration has toyed with the idea of pulling the US out of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a Western alliance long seen as a bulwark to Moscow’s influence in Europe. This week, NATO has been feuding with Russia over the country’s use of a new nuclear missile system.
“In the face of 37 indictments, the President’s continued actions to undermine the Special Counsel investigation raise the questions: what does Putin have on the President, politically, personally or financially?” said Pelosi.
Pelosi’s comments on Stone came just hours after Trump announced a shutdown deal Friday afternoon to fund the government for three weeks that didn’t include money to build a wall, a move that was widely interpreted as a win for Democrats.
“I wish people would listen to or read my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession,” Trump tweeted defiantly Friday afternoon.
On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted about Stone by bringing up other people he believed had lied or other issues he believed should be investigated.
“What about Hillary to FBI and her 33,000 deleted emails,” wrote Trump. Investigations by both the FBI and the Department of Justice determined no charges should be laid against Clinton.
Stone faces up to 20 years in prison on the tampering count and up to five years in prison for each of the other charges, which include obstructing Congress and five counts of making false statements to Congress.
Stone spoke with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday night, claiming he would plead not guilty and fight the charges.
He also said he was unaware of whether he’d receive a pardon by Trump if convicted.
“I’ve never had any discussion with him or communication with him regarding that. I have no idea what he might do,” said Stone.