(CNN)President Donald Trump said he has not thought about pardoning his longtime ally and adviser Roger Stone and sought to distance Stone from his 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump tried to downplay his connections to Stone, saying that Stone “didn’t work on the campaign, except way, way at the beginning,” according to a CBS interview transcript released Sunday.
But the President said that Stone is “somebody that I’ve always liked,” and later called him a “character.”
Stone was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury on charges of obstruction, false statements and witness tampering. The indictment alleged that Stone sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and coordinated his outreach with top Trump campaign officials. Stone pleaded not guilty to the charges last week.
Trump told The New York Times in a recent interview that he had “never” spoken with Stone about WikiLeaks.
As for the special counsel investigation, the President once again lamented that the Russia probe is a “total witch hunt” and insisted that it “(d)oesn’t implicate me in any way, but I think it’s a disgrace.”
Trump also said that it is “totally up to to the attorney general” as to whether Mueller’s report will be made public.
Asked if he would have a problem if it became public he responded, “That’s up to the attorney general. I don’t know. It was depends. I have no idea what it’s going to say.”
Stone claimed several times during the 2016 campaign that he was in communication with Trump and the Trump campaign. He likewise repeatedly discussed knowledge of forthcoming releases from WikiLeaks, as CNN’s KFile previously reported.