- The special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly has evidence suggesting that a close associate of Roger Stone may have had advance knowledge that emails belonging to the Hillary Clinton campaign were hacked and handed to WikiLeaks.
- Mueller’s team is also investigating whether the associate, Jerome Corsi, passed that information along to Stone during the 2016 election.
- Both Stone and Corsi deny knowing about the hacked emails in advance.
- But Stone appears to be preparing for the possibility that he will soon be indicted.
The special counsel Robert Mueller has evidence suggesting that Jerome Corsi, a far-right political commentator and conspiracy theorist, may have known in advance that emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign had been hacked and handed over to WikiLeaks, NBC News reported.
WikiLeaks published thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign at the height of the 2016 election. The US intelligence community believes the breaches and subsequent dissemination of emails were carried out on the Kremlin’s orders.
When prosecutors indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in July on conspiracy and hacking charges, they referenced WikiLeaks – though not by name – as the Russians’ conduit to release stolen documents via the hacker Guccifer 2.0, who is believed to be a front for Russian military intelligence.
According to NBC News, Mueller’s team has been investigating whether Corsi knew in advance that WikiLeaks had obtained the hacked emails and whether he then passed that information to Roger Stone, a longtime GOP strategist and informal adviser to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Mueller has zeroed in on Stone’s links to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, in recent months. Corsi was one of nearly a dozen of Stone’s associates who were called to testify before a grand jury as part of the ongoing Russia investigation.
Stone said he has communicated indirectly with Assange in the past through the radio host Randy Credico. Credico testified before a grand jury in September. Stone is also known to have been in direct communication with WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 during the election.
A tweet with disputed intentions
Stone, who acted as an informal adviser to Trump during the campaign, sent out several tweets in the summer of 2016 that raised questions about whether he had prior knowledge about WikiLeaks’ plans to publish the hacked emails.
In one tweet that drew increased scrutiny, Stone wrote on August 21, 2016, “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel,” an apparent reference to Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.
WikiLeaks published a batch of hacked emails from Podesta’s account soon after. Stone has denied knowing about the document dump in advance.
Asked in a text message what he thought Corsi would be questioned about when he appeared before a grand jury in September, Stone responded with a link to an Infowars article that Corsi wrote in March 2017, in which he claimed he was responsible for Stone’s tweets about WikiLeaks during the 2016 race.
Corsi wrote that Democrats had “mistakenly” used Stone’s tweet “to ‘prove’ Stone had advance knowledge Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was about to release emails hacked from John Podesta…”
“Having reviewed my records, I am now confident that I am the source behind Stone’s tweet,” Corsi wrote.
He went on to lay out a timeline of what he said were his and Stone’s efforts to counter reports at the time that Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had a string of shady financial and political ties to pro-Russian interests. Manafort is now cooperating with prosecutors, and he is believed to have been questioned extensively about Stone and WikiLeaks in recent weeks.
In his 2017 blog post, Corsi wrote that he and Stone wanted to shed light on what they believed were Clinton’s and Podesta’s links to Russian money.
“When Stone wrote his ‘suspicious’ tweet on Aug. 21, 2016, he and I planned to publish a one-two punch, using the Government Accountability Institute report to expose Hillary and Podesta’s ties to Russia,” Corsi wrote.
Stone and Corsi have known each other for years. Corsi’s name first cropped up in the mainstream media in March, when it emerged that the FBI had detained and subpoenaed Ted Malloch, a controversial American academic tied to Stone and far-right politician Nigel Farage, to testify in the Russia probe.
Corsi said at the time that a shaken Malloch had called him while he was being questioned by FBI agents in Cleveland after being detained at Boston Logan International Airport.
Stone told Business Insider in March that he had met Malloch two or three times, including once at a dinner with Corsi during the 2016 campaign at the Manhattan restaurant Strip House.
Stone said his conversation with Malloch and Corsi was friendly but not memorable, and that they discussed “Brexit and globalism.” He added that they never discussed WikiLeaks, Assange, or Russia.
Corsi told Business Insider in March that he worked with Malloch on his book in 2016.
“Ted was NOT part of TRUMP campaign,” Corsi said. “I had NO contact w ASSANGE, SNOWDEN, Kim Dot Com, Russians. MUELLER DESPERATE. panic tactics, GRAB at STRAWS.”
NBC News reported that Mueller’s prosecutors have since gotten their hands on messages to members of the Trump team in which Stone and Corsi appear to take credit for the release of the hacked Democratic emails. Sources familiar with the matter told the publication that they have not seen evidence showing that Stone or Corsi were involved in the hacking or release of the emails.
Nonetheless, Stone appears to be girding for the possibility that he will be indicted. Business Insider reported earlier this year that he is planning on expanding his legal team and continues to solicit donations to a legal defence fund. He told Business Insider on Wednesday that he will announce the new additions to his team after the November midterm elections.