Nearly three-dozen search warrants unsealed late Tuesday reveal a web of contacts between longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other key figures in the long-running probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Stone, who was convicted last year of lying to House investigators during their own Russia probe, was never charged with aiding endeavours by Russia. But his contacts with Assange add brand-new details to a relationship that he long denied existed.
In a fixed of 2017 contents revealed in one search warrant, Stone assured Assange — who invest years in asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London before being arrested by British authorities last year — that he would “bring down the entire house of cards” if U.S. lawyers sought him.
Stone likewise told WikLeaks in early 2017 that he was Assange’s only hope for a pardon from the president if expelled and prosecuted in the United Country. The longtime Trump adviser also appeared to be trying broker a deal to resolve the long-running U.S. investigation into Assange and WikiLeaks.
“I am doing everything possible to address the issues at the highest level of government, ” Stone wrote to Assange in June 2017. “Fed treatment of you and WikiLeaks is an outrage. Must be circumspect in this forum as suffer demonstrates it is monitored.”
“Appreciated. Of track it is! ” Assange wrote back.
The freshly uncovered messages often grow more questions than answers. They demonstrate Stone in touch with seemingly high-ranking Israeli officials attempting to arrange meetings with Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign. They likewise offer evidences about an attempt to procure some kind of “October surprise” involving shattering knowledge held by the Turkish government.
At hours, Stone and his contacts appeared to acknowledge that Trump seemed fated in the 2016 election and necessary outside intervention. Stone also described multiples direct contacts with Trump and efforts to arrange meetings for him.
In the summer of 2016, one Stone associate expressed fears Trump would lose, floated “critical intell” that could impact the campaign and mounted a frenzied effort to get a one-on-one meeting with the candidate.
“I have to meet Trump alone, ” the associate wrote to Stone in July 2016. Stone arranged for such a gratify, but he was indicated in a later email that a “fiasco” ensued after the associate accidentally delivered a foreign military officer along.
The associate’s name was deleted from the warrant application released Tuesday, but the FBI laid out the echoed efforts to meet Trump as part of a series of events involving conservative author Jerome Corsi and UK-based fiscal consultant Ted Malloch, including a previously reported directive by Stone telling Corsi that Malloch “should recognize Assange” and nudged him to release datum do harm to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Ultimately, prosecutors did not charge Stone for his dealings with Assange or various intermediaries, but instead for misleading House investigators about them. Earlier this year, a federal magistrate sentenced Stone to nearly three-and-a-half times in prison for lying to House investigators and impeding their probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump has repeatedly accused prosecutors of unfairly singling out Stone, who are continuing free as he awaits a date to begin serving his sentence. Stone faces a deadline this week to appeal his prison term and seven misdemeanour convictions. The president has indicated he’s considering a pardon for Stone but has been cryptic about his plans and possible timing.
Stone became a central figure in the narrative about Trump campaign contacts with Russia in 2016. He repeatedly claimed he had contact with Assange in the summer of 2016, shortly before Assange began liberating tens of thousands of emails stolen from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Many of the newly released search warrants centered on efforts to determine the true nature of Stone’s contacts with Assange and whether he had advance knowledge of Assange’s intentions.
Prosecutors also acknowledged that their picture of Stone’s communications was incomplete: He are dependent upon a slew of encrypted apps during some of the more sensitive months of the campaign, from Signal to Wickr to WhatsApp, and messages he exchanged on those services were not obtained.
Despite the reams of new information contained in the search warrants, Stone remained defiant Tuesday, insisting his entire prosecution was a farce.
“Although there are private communications contained in the warrants, they prove no crimes, ” Stone said in a statement. “I have no trepidation about their release as they prove “they dont have” illegal activity and certainly no Russian collusion by me during the 2016 election. There is, to this day , no proof that I had or knew about the source or content of the WikiLeaks disclosures prior to their public release.”
The documents contain a litany of other peculiarities and details about Stone’s methods of contact. For instance, they note that he often used an account on CraigsList to communicate with people, and that he registered the account under the name “Swash Buckler.”
Read more: politico.com