WSJ has an underreported story revealing that Roger Stone emailed Randy Credico seeking specific emails from Wikileaks in September 2016.
Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone privately sought information he considered damaging to Hillary Clinton from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The emails could raise new questions about Mr. Stone’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in September, in which he said he “merely wanted confirmation” from an acquaintance that Mr. Assange had information about Mrs. Clinton, according to a portion of the transcript that was made public.
In a Sept. 18, 2016, message, Mr. Stone urged an acquaintance who knew Mr. Assange to ask the WikiLeaks founder for emails related to Mrs. Clinton’s alleged role in disrupting a purported Libyan peace deal in 2011 when she was secretary of state, referring to her by her initials.
“Please ask Assange for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30–particularly on August 20, 2011,” Mr. Stone wrote to Randy Credico, a New York radio personality who had interviewed Mr. Assange several weeks earlier. Mr. Stone, a longtime confidant of Donald Trump, had no formal role in his campaign at the time.
I say it’s underreported for two reasons: as presented, WSJ doesn’t really explain why this is news. It doesn’t show that the emails were responsive to HPSCI’s request, a point made by Stone’s attorney in the story and not refuted by Adam Schiff. Furthermore, Credico claims he never really asked Julian Assange for any emails (which may be one of the reasons Stone’s lawyer deems the exchange unresponsive). Schiff claims that this exchange suggests Stone was misleading at best in his testimony.
Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the emails hadn’t been provided to congressional investigators. “If there is such a document, then it would mean that his testimony was either deliberately incomplete or deliberately false,” said Mr. Schiff, who has continued to request documents and conduct interviews with witnesses despite the committee’s probe concluding earlier this year said.
But for reasons I’ll explain, I think Stone may have been technically correct in his statement.
Another way the story is underreported is because WSJ doesn’t explain — or even consider — what emails Stone might be talking about, a silence that has led sloppy readers to assume these are a reference to known hacked emails.
The email may be a reference to emails believed by some to be hacked!
But absent any explanation what the emails are, they should be assumed to be the emails released by State in response to Jason Leopold and others, which Wikileaks only curated. There are several that might fit Stone’s criteria, including some of the ones based on intelligence from Sid Blumenthal that drove the nutters crazy.
That said, the withheld emails may be newsworthy for reasons WSJ doesn’t lay out.
First, consider the fact that as part of Don Jr’s SJC interview, he was asked about people who may have been involved in the Peter Smith effort to find Hillary’s deleted emails, from Russian hackers if need be. The last person included was Stone.
Q. Did you or anyone else make any effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s e-mails?
Q. Did you or anyone else ever receive Hillary Clinton’s e-mails other than something that might have been publicly published ?
Q. Do you know who Peter Smith is?
A. No .
Q. Were you aware of Mr. Smith’ s efforts to obtain Hillary Clinton’s e-mails?
A. I don’t recall knowing Peter Smith. So I’m not aware of his efforts. Who was he?
Q. There’s been public reporting on him. So it’s in the press.
A. Okay. I haven’t seen it.
Q. Do you know if any of the following people made any efforts to obtain Secretary Clinton’s e-mails. Michael Flynn?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Steve Bannon?
A. I don ‘t know.
Q. Kellyanne Conway?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Sam Clovis?
A. I don ‘t know.
Q. Carter Page?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Roger Stone ?
A. No idea.
We shouldn’t necessarily make that much of the fact that Stone appears on this list, both because no one on it has been confirmed to have been involved in Smith’s efforts, and because he’d be the most likely person to be involved in any case. Nor do I make too much out of the fact that Don Jr answered differently on Stone — “no idea” — than the “I don’t know” he offered for everyone else.
That said, this does seem to confirm Stone is among the people alleged to be involved in the effort.
The Peter Smith operation is something Stone assiduously avoided addressing in his statement to Congress.
Now consider that on August 10, 2016, Stone tweeted, “Assange, you see has all the @HillaryClinton e-mails @HumaAbedin thought she and @CherylMills erased #busted.” (Thanks to Susan Simpson for noting that Stone’s deleted account can be found and searched on the Trump Twitter Archive site.) That tweet would have fallen right between the time Stone told Sam Nunberg he had been speaking with Assange on August 5 and the time he started chatting via DM with Guccifer 2.0 on August 14. That’s also the timeframe Matt Tait said Smith reached out having already received emails from someone on the Dark Web.
A few weeks later, right around the time the DNC emails were dumped by Wikileaks—and curiously, around the same time Trump called for the Russians to get Hillary Clinton’s missing emails—I was contacted out the blue by a man named Peter Smith, who had seen my work going through these emails. Smith implied that he was a well-connected Republican political operative.
Smith had not contacted me about the DNC hack, but rather about his conviction that Clinton’s private email server had been hacked—in his view almost certainly both by the Russian government and likely by multiple other hackers too—and his desire to ensure that the fruits of those hacks were exposed prior to the election. Over the course of a long phone call, he mentioned that he had been contacted by someone on the “Dark Web” who claimed to have a copy of emails from Secretary Clinton’s private server, and this was why he had contacted me; he wanted me to help validate whether or not the emails were genuine.
When Smith couldn’t validate the emails he had received, he had the hackers themselves forward them to WikiLeaks.
Mr. Smith said after vetting batches of emails offered to him by hacker groups last fall, he couldn’t be sure enough of their authenticity to leak them himself. “We told all the groups to give them to WikiLeaks,” he said. WikiLeaks has never published those emails or claimed to have them.
All of which is to say that, if Stone was involved in this effort, he may have known emails pertaining to Libya (perhaps forgeries written to fit into the known, officially released ones) had gotten forwarded to WikiLeaks as early as August. In which case his nudge to Credico the next month may have been an effort to flush out the emails he believed to be in WikiLeaks’ possession.
Which would mean his response to Congress — that Stone was just looking for confirmation WikiLeaks had materials he thought they did — would be technically accurate.
There’s one other detail of interest in the WSJ story. Credico, like Stone, has not been interviewed by Mueller’s team. And like Stone, absent a direct interview, Credico appears to be trying to make his case in the public sphere.
Messrs. Stone and Credico said they haven’t been contacted by Mr. Mueller’s office, which declined to comment.
After earlier asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the House probe, Mr. Credico now says he is willing to talk with investigators. He said he met on Wednesday with the committee’s Democratic staff members for what he called a limited conversation about WikiLeaks, the 2016 campaign and Mr. Stone.
As Mr. Credico has become more vocal about what he says are discrepancies in Mr. Stone’s account, Mr. Stone has responded with a series of threats, according to emails and text messages reviewed by the Journal.
In early April, in one of those emails, Mr. Stone accused Mr. Credico of serving as an informant.
“Everyone says u are wearing a wire for Mueller,” the April 7 email said. Two days later, Mr. Stone wrote: “Run your mouth = get sued.” Mr. Credico denies being an informant.
It’s possible that Stone was using Credico as a go-between to try to confirm what he already knew, to pressure WikiLeaks to release documents he and his rat-fucking associates had planted there.
Which might make the withheld emails far more newsworthy.
Update: Because there was some confusion, I’ve added more of the Don Jr transcript to make the context clear.