“Do you know who Roger Stone is?”
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, asked that question Monday morning of FBI director James Comey during a hearing into Russian meddling in the election, putting a spotlight on the Florida operative Stone.
Stone has long been allied with Donald Trump and in 2011, helped set up a speech before a tea party group in Boca Raton in which Trump tried out the themes he ran on in 2016. This month, Stone acknowledged he had contact with Guccifer 2.0, an online persona considered a front for Russian intelligence operatives. But he disputes collusion.
Stone, who lives in South Florida, has flirted with running for office in Florida but mainly seems to relish his role as a provocateur and former Nixon operative with a tattoo of the former president on his back. He’s written books attacking Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.
His new book is about the Trump campaign. Last week, Stone claimed he was on his way to a book signing in Orlando when he was the victim of a hit-and-run driver in Pompano Beach.
At the Intelligence Committee hearing, Comey acknowledged an investigation into Russian interference in the election and ties to the Trump campaign. Comey also said there is no evidence to support Trump’s tweets, sent from Mar-a-Lago on a recent Saturday morning, that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
Rep. Tom Rooney of Okeechobee used his early time at the hearing to question intelligence leaks, in line with other Republicans.
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times
Photo credit: Mary Altaffer, Associated Press