After months and months of stating firmly that he had no contact with WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Trump’s former campaign advisor Roger Stone did, in fact, reach out to Assange for information to damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid – he simply did it by proxy.
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The WSJ released emails which show Stone conspiring with an acquaintance to ask Assange for emails about Clinton’s alleged role interfering with a possible peace deal in Libya in 2011 while she was still Secretary of State.
“Please ask Assange for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30–particularly on August 20, 2011,” Stone wrote in a September 2016 email to Randy Credico, a New York radio host who had recently interviewed Assange.
Credico initially resisted, insisting if such emails existed they would already be available on the WikiLeaks site. In turn, Stone replied, “Why do we assume WikiLeaks has released everything they have ???”
The exchange continued, and it only got worse for Stone from there.
Eventually, Credico told Stone to expect a “batch probably coming out in the next drop…I can’t ask them favors every other day .I [sic] asked one of his lawyers…they have major legal headaches riggt [sic] now..relax.” It seems the practice of shutting off spellcheck before sending digital correspondence is not exclusive to Donald Trump.
After his initial promise, Assange reportedly continued to pester Credico for the information he sought, which ultimately led to Credico’s decision not to follow up with Assange on Stone’s behalf. According to The WSJ, Credico “got tired” of Stone “bothering him.”
When asked about the incident, Stone replied, “I never had possession or access to any Clinton emails or records.” Technically, he is right – Credico “provided nothing” to him directly, nor did WikiLeaks.
Stone is taking a page from “The Art of the Deal” and using one of Trump’s favorite tricks – leveraging a loophole. Since Stone didn’t confer directly with Assange, he’s not at fault. That’s his take, at the very least, but Democrats disagree.
The email exchange between Stone and Credico raises questions about Stone’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year. He told lawmakers at the time that he “merely wanted confirmation” from an acquaintance that Assange had information on Clinton, a stark contrast to the first line of his inquiry to Credico, “Please ask Assange for any State or HRC e-mail…”
Ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff confirmed to The WSJ that the committee never had access to the emails in question, and the new evidence could completely negate Stone’s testimony.
“If there is such a document, then it would mean that his testimony was either deliberately incomplete or deliberately false.”
Stone’s lawyer claims the emails were not submitted to the House committee because they were “not encompassed within the scope of the committee’s request.”
That doesn’t exactly seem to track, considering the urgency expressed by Stone, and the cut-and-dry language used to express his request. Trump and his allies are always very good at the early stages of covert-ops but they always bungle it in the execution – at least attempt discretion to build a plausible defense.
Instead, the mountain of lies continues to grow for team Trump, but the support from his core group has not wavered. It doesn’t seem there will be any lie or scandal which will allow them to see beyond his celebrity as they anxiously await to reap the benefits from his grand promises which he never keeps.
Thankfully, the law doesn’t require Trump or his supporters’ approval to function and put these people behind bars where they belong.