- NBC News published previously unseen text messages between the GOP strategist Roger Stone and the radio host Randy Credico that appear to indicate Credico knew more than he was letting on about WikiLeaks’ plan to publish hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 election.
- Credico told INSIDER the text messages did not reflect any inside knowledge but rather were from the perspective of two outsiders looking in. He also denied being Stone’s back channel to WikiLeaks, and he said Stone was merely trying to “save his arse” from scrutiny.
- Stone told INSIDER the messages prove Credico “perjured himself” before a grand jury in the Russia investigation.
On Wednesday, NBC News published previously unseen text messages between the longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone and the left wing radio host Randy Credico that indicate Credico may have had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release damning emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign at the height of the 2016 election.
Stone and Credico used to be close, but the two men had a falling out in recent months stemming from their diverging stories about their role in the WikiLeaks dumps. Stone is at the center of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether members of President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favour.
A key thread in that investigation revolves around determining whether any Trump associates knew in advance or helped the Russians steal Democratic emails and disseminate them via WikiLeaks.
Stone is known to have been in direct contact with the Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0, who helped spread some of the emails, as well as WikiLeaks in the months leading up to the election. He has also said that he communicated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange using Credico as an intermediary. Credico denies this.
But the previously unreported text messages between the two men, which Stone gave to NBC News, raise new questions.
In one message sent on October 1, 2016, Credico texted Stone, “Big news Wednesday. Now pretend u [sic] don’t know me.”
“U died 5 years ago,” Stone replied.
In response, Credico wrote, “Great. Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”
Two days later, on October 3, Credico said, “I think it’s on for tomorrow.” Shortly after, he texted Stone, “Why can’t you get Trump to come out and say that he would give Julian Assange Asylum”
Several hours later that same day, Credico said, “Off the Record Hillary and her people are doing a full-court press they keep Assange from making the next dump…That’s all I can tell you on this line…Please leave my name out of it.”
Four days later, on October 7, WikiLeaks released its first load of hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.
Credico: Stone is trying to ‘save his arse’
Reached for comment about the NBC News report, Credico told INSIDER the text messages were not the result of any inside knowledge but rather from the perspective of two outside observers. He added that they lacked context, and he said Stone was trying to “save his arse” from scrutiny.
Stone, meanwhile, told INSIDER in a text message that Credico has “not only perjured himself before the grand jury but has threatened various witnesses who testified as to the truth.” Asked who he was referring to, Stone pointed to grand jury testimony given by the filmmaker David Lugo, who knows both Stone and Credico. Lugo told The Daily Caller earlier this month that he testified that Credico once “threatened to put a hole in my head.”
“I readily admit that I was furious at Randy and still am not because he wouldn’t lie but because he refuses to tell the truth,” Stone added.
“The texts provided to NBC News demonstrate that my client, Roger Stone, has been consistent for the past two years in his assertion that Randy Credico was the person who was providing him what limited information Mr. Stone had regarding WikiLeaks,” Stone’s lawyer, Grant Smith, said in a statement to NBC News.
In other texts obtained by NBC News, Credico said he was “best friends” with Assange’s lawyer, Margaret Ratner Kuntsler. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal published a report saying that Mueller is looking into whether Stone intimidated or attempted to discredit a witness who is countering him. The Wall Street Journal discusses emails sent from Stone to Credico threatening him with a lawsuit.