Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump, told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday there is "not one shred of evidence" that he colluded with Russia before last year's election.
The political strategist told reporters on Capitol Hill that he intended to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
"I am most interested in correcting a number of falsehoods, misstatements and misimpressions regarding allegations of collusion between Donald Trump, Trump associates, the Trump Campaign and the Russian state," Stone wrote in his prepared statement. "I view this as a political proceeding because a number of members of this Committee have made irresponsible, indisputably, and provably false statements in order to create the impression of collusion with the Russian state without any evidence that would hold up in a U.S. court of law or the court of public opinion."
Stone was questioned by staff members but committee members were present. He spoke privately but he has asked the committee to release the transcripts of his testimony immediately.
"Multiple members of this committee have made false allegations against me in public session in order to ensure that these bogus charges received maximum media coverage," Stone said in a statement. "Now however, you deny me the opportunity to respond to these charges in the same open forum. This is cowardice.
"I will not let myself be a punching bag for people with ill intentions or political motives."
Earlier this year, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the panel, told reporters that one reason potential witnesses demanded public hearings was because they want to promote books.
Stone has written "The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution" -- and has inspired a Netflix documentary, Get Me Roger Stone.
"There is one 'trick' that is not in my bag and that is treason," Stone said.
He added that he didn't have any improper connections to Russia and didn't know Wikileaks planned to publish hacked emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. He said he only knew about Wikileaks releases beforehand "by reading it on Twitter," and by journalist who interviewed Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange of his plans to publish.
"Such assertions are conjecture, supposition, projection, and allegations but none of them are facts," Stone said. "I am left to conclude the president is right when he calls this Congressional investigation a 'witch-hunt.'"
On Monday, Stone tweeted a photo of himself "preparing" for his testimony by reading the 1976 book, The Russians, by former New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief Hedrick Smith.
Stone arrived at the hearing with a reporter for InfoWars -- the website anchored by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. In a tweet Sunday, Stone said InfoWars would "embed a reporter and cameraman in Camp Stone for my epic testimony."