Following the arrest of longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delivered a damning rebuke of the president’s choice of friends, questioning the legitimacy of his election and his ties to Russia.
“The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people,” the congresswoman said in a statement Friday evening. “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.”
Stone, who was charged with seven counts Friday, including lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, has credited himself with Trump’s presidential run and was an informal adviser to his campaign until the summer of 2015. Stone appears to have seen the indictment coming, often saying that he expected this day to come.
In her condemnation of the president, Pelosi accused Trump of continuing to attempt to subvert special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election, arguing it raised serious questions, including “what does Putin have on the President, politically, personally or financially,” and Trump’s motivations behind weighing a NATO pullout. Pelosi said a NATO withdrawal would be a win for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Offering as much insurance as possible that Mueller’s work would be safeguarded, the congresswoman also spoke out against witness intimidation, stating that any effort to “prevent them from appearing before Congress” must be stopped.
“The Special Counsel investigation is working, and the House will continue to exercise our constitutional oversight responsibility and ensure that the Special Counsel investigation can continue free from interference from the White House,” she added.
Shortly after Stone’s indictment, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted to CNN that it was not related to Trump and the White House.