Earlier this week, longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone told The Washington Post that he hasn’t discussed WikiLeaks with anybody from the Trump campaign. Asked about Stephen K. Bannon being asked by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators about such contacts, Stone was clear in his denial.
“There are no such communications,” Stone said, “and if Bannon says there are, he would be dissembling.”
That denial has already fallen apart.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Stone emailed with Bannon about WikiLeaks just days before it first started releasing Russia’s hacked Hillary Clinton emails. After WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed publicly to have documents related to the U.S. presidential race, Bannon reportedly emailed Stone on Oct. 4: “What was that this morning???” Stone responded: “A load every week going forward."
Stone told The Post on Thursday that he “was unaware of this email exchange until it was leaked.”
“We had not turned it up in our search,” he added. “We can find no others to campaign officials.”
The emails don’t necessarily indicate Stone was acting as an intermediary between the campaign and WikiLeaks, which is the central question involving Stone and his role in the broader Russia investigation. Stone was only relaying things Assange had said publicly, after all.
But they do constitute yet another example of Stone saying things about his Russia-related actions that turn out not to be true. And the list of those things has grown quite long.
In congressional testimony in September 2017, Stone said, “I have never said or written that I had any direct communication with Julian Assange and have always clarified in numerous interviews and speeches that my communication with WikiLeaks was through the aforementioned journalist” — referring to Randy Credico.
We later found out that Stone exchanged direct messages on Twitter with the main WikiLeaks account.
Last year, Stone repeatedly denied contacts with Russians about the 2016 campaign.
- He told The Post, “I didn’t talk to anybody who was identifiably Russian during the two-year run-up to this campaign.”
- He told Chuck Todd, moderator of “Meet the Press,” “I never had any contact with any Russians.”
- He made a similar, though perhaps less firm, statement in sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee: “To be clear, I have never represented any Russian clients, have never been to Russia, and never had any communication with any Russians or individuals fronting for Russians, in connection with the 2016 presidential election.”
We’ve since found out that he had, in fact, spoken with a Russian national who called himself Henry Greenberg in May 2016, when the man offered Stone information about Clinton. Trump campaign official Michael Caputo had even texted Stone about “the Russian.” Stone has said he merely forgot about the meeting but had his memory refreshed by Mueller showing Caputo the texts.
Being identified in Mueller documents
In July, Stone initially claimed he didn’t think he was the unnamed person identified in an indictment from the special counsel as having interacted with the allegedly Russia-affiliated hacker Guccifer 2.0 in 2016. “I don’t think it is me, because I wasn’t in regular contact with members of the Trump campaign,” Stone said.
Mere hours later, he admitted it probably was him — and it turned out he had actually posted the communications to his own website in early 2017.
Stone at one point claimed Credico was his only source about WikiLeaks, then he later said he was his principal source. Now he has amended that to include emails he had seen.
Stone has said he was merely referring to public reports about Assange’s plans and information he got from Credico, a liberal New York radio host who interviewed Assange on his show. Credico has repeatedly denied passing any information from WikiLeaks to Stone.
Stone recently added to his account, saying he had also been tipped about a possible coming WikiLeaks disclosure by viewing an email from James Rosen, then a Fox News reporter, to blogger Charles Ortel. Ortel confirmed to The Post that he had forwarded Stone the email, in which Rosen said he was hearing a major disclosure related to Clinton was in the offing. Rosen declined to comment.
In the most recent contradiction, Bannon’s emails actually aren’t the only things calling Stone’s version into question. According to the New York Times’s reporting, Bannon and two campaign officials have told investigators that Stone sought to build himself up as an authority on WikiLeaks:
One of them told investigators that Mr. Stone not only seemed to predict WikiLeaks’s actions, but that he also took credit afterward for the timing of its disclosures that damaged Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
It would seem difficult for Stone to do that if he wasn’t actually communicating with the campaign about WikiLeaks.
Again, this isn’t damning legally. But it does suggest Stone hasn’t been truthful about exactly what happened — repeatedly.