Mueller Had Learned by February 22 that Roger Stone Was Pushing an Assange Pardon in January

Mother Jones has a story describing Roger Stone claiming to Randy Credico in January that President Trump was about to pardon Julian Assange.

In early January, Roger Stone, the longtime Republican operative and adviser to Donald Trump, sent a text message to an associate stating that he was actively seeking a presidential pardon for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—and felt optimistic about his chances. “I am working with others to get JA a blanket pardon,” Stone wrote, in a January 6 exchange of text messages obtained by Mother Jones. “It’s very real and very possible. Don’t fuck it up.” Thirty-five minutes later Stone added: “Something very big about to go down.”

As the story notes, this is the third known effort by Assange supporters (the other two being an early 2017 effort by lobbyist Adam Waldman and an August 2017 effort by Dana Rohrabacher) to get him a pardon, and would have come in the immediate wake of a Christmas Eve 2017 plan to sneak him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy to get him to Ecuador or Russia.

As interesting as I find the story that Stone was working for an Assange pardon is how quickly Mueller found out about it. Sam Nunberg says he was asked if he knew anything about it.

Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide who once worked closely with Stone, told Mother Jones that prosecutors asked him during a February interview if Stone “ever discussed pardons and Assange.” Nunberg said he had not heard Stone discuss such an effort, and prosecutors did not raise the subject during his subsequent testimony before a grand jury.

His interview was on February 22.

That would say that Mueller’s team had learned about the effort less than two months later (and before the March 9 warrant for multiple cell phones I’ve long speculated might have included one of Stone’s).

Obviously, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have to be tracking all of Assange’s accessible communications closely. So Mueller’s knowledge of the pardon effort may have come from Assange himself. If it came from Stone’s side, though, it would suggest he learned about it pretty quickly.

In any case, in the interim, Mueller would presumably have obtained a lot more information on this effort, including whatever durable communications Stone had with people close to Trump on the effort. Which means a question about pre-emptively pardoning Assange likely got added to the Mueller questions to Trump about his efforts to pre-emptively pardon Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

57 replies
  1. rip says:

    How would a US pResident pardon of Assange (an Australian) “living” in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, UK, have any effect?

    Of course the 5-Eyes coalition may treat trump’s pardon as a universal get-out-of-jail card.

    • Trip says:

      ^Not me, BTW.

      Assange, if having done anything illegal, like actively encouraging/seeking the theft of emails to interfere in an election, in a conspiracy, or encouraging theft of intelligence tools, he would have exposure in the US. I’m not sure how that would be charged elsewhere. bmaz?

      • ABK says:

        Assanges fears extradition to the United States if he appears anywhere that has an extradition treaty with the US. That was argued in the proceedings in England relating to the application to extradite him from England to Sweden

        • Trip says:

          The subject was about pardons in the US. If he was pardoned in the US, extradition to the US would be a moot point. There would be nothing to extradite him for. My question for bmaz was were there any applicable charges elsewhere around the globe (in other countries) related to the alleged interference in the election and theft of intelligence tools, etc? You did not answer that.

    • Nigel says:

      Assange’s original refusal to go to Sweden to be questioned by prosecutors was based on his stated fear of extradition to the US to face unspecified charges – in his own words: “…actually an attempt to get me into a jurisdiction which will then make it easier to extradite me to the US.”

      • Trip says:


        UK said Assange would not be extradited: Ecuador’s top attorney

        In a written response to queries from Ecuador, the UK explained that it had not received any extradition request, and said Assange’s jail time in the UK for violating bail terms by seeking refuge in the embassy would not exceed six months, Iñigo Salvador, who represents the Ecuadorean government in court proceedings, told reporters.

  2. Rusharuse says:

    To everything (turn, turn, turn)
    How many Fox flunkies are now worried about conspiracy charges?
    From Mother –
    “Credico says Stone repeatedly discussed his effort to win a pardon for Assange. At one point, he notes, Stone claimed he was working with Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News personality and former New Jersey Superior Court judge, on a plan in which Napolitano would float the idea on his show or directly to Trump. Napolitano said in a statement that he “categorically denies” working with Stone to secure a pardon for Assange.”

  3. Someguy says:

    OT kinda, but just saw this.  “the campaign finance portions” seems interesting.

    “The disclosure would almost certainly result in a very public guessing game in which the media and members of the public attempted to guess the identities of the uncharged parties described in the materials – particularly [sic] the campaign finance portions,” prosecutors argued in the filing.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump drums up his racist fantasy that a group of would be immigrants and asylum seekers poses an existential threat to America’s life, liberty, and its sacred honor. Bullshit.

    He sends 800 troops to the border to protect us – rather, to further militarize the government and police in the public’s mind.  NYC could field twice that number of cops on 24 hours notice and treble that for a parade.

    DHS Sec’y Kirstjen Nielsen can think of nothing better to do than sit for hours in her aviator sunglasses and Breck Girl hair for Fox Noise interviews.  Fuggedabout those nearly dozen pipe bombs mailed and delivered to, among others, two former presidents, a former vice president, and a former Sec’y of State. All, by coinkydink, among Trump’s most vocal critics.

    Trump’s theater he hopes will distract from his inability to govern, and his determination to strip Americans of their health care, their community, and their social care network.  All while cutting taxes for himself and the 0.001%. He is dangerous and pathetic.  Voters should tell him no right now.

      • harpie says:

        Interesting timing:

        Daniel Schulman

        7:35 AM – 26 Oct 2018 In trying to interpret Trump’s latest tweet, our newsroom has come to the conclusion that the president may either be suggesting the bomb plot is a false flag, or he doesn’t know how to use quotation marks. It could be either. This is where we’re at. / I submit this vintage Trump tweet as evidence that he has previously used the “bomb” formulation to describe a false flag-type event—or at least I think that’s what he’s saying here.

        That “vintage tweet” is dated 26 Oct 2012

      • Trip says:

        This calls for some 80’s music:
        The Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb On Me

        *sorry, it’s Friday and things are, of course, nutty.

        • harpie says:

          Another person on Twitter seems to have a picture of it from November 2017:

          8:59 AM – 26 Oct 2018 OMG. My husband just called and said “Remember that picture I texted you of that crazy Trump van that delivered lunch to my office? THAT WAS THE GUY!” This is the picture he sent me of the van parked at his office on November 1, 2017. #FloridaMan @FBI

        • harpie says:

          This also seems to fit into the news from Ken Dilanian, that the suspect had a catering business:

          9:16 AM – 26 Oct 2018 Public records show that suspect Cesar Sayoc is a registered Republican with an extensive criminal history who appears to have owned a dry cleaning business and a catering business. 

        • Trip says:

          How is it even legal to have all of the windows covered by that shit? (Especially the front passenger window).


    • Stormcrow says:

      I think Papadopolous’ end game here is that after initially wanting to be John Dean in this affair, he now wants to be G Gordon Liddy. Mostly because he didn’t have the goods to be John Dean.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        When you spend too much time on the phone with Chuck Ross and too much time in a House subcommittee room being spoonfed by Mark Meadows you start to get ideas. In the frothy narrative, George is a persecuted hero. Let him run with that.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        No matter how deep the pool, it seems poor George is always in over his head.

        What could he still know that Mueller’s team hasn’t gotten from him yet that would be worth giving up his plea deal for?  Or is he so fat-headed that he’ll do anything for another fifteen minutes of infamy?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It’s like breaking any contract.  George could renege on his agreement.  The consequences are usually spelled out in it.  Typically, the govt would be freed from any restrictions it had agreed to, the defendant loses any benefits from it and is subject to prosecution for the crimes covered by it.

          Papa might still want his day in court, in the belief that he could win at trial.  Or someone might have convinced him that was so in order to manipulate a trial for political purposes or to access more of the govt’s case, in the belief that it could help the cases of others.  Donald Trump, for example.

          Papa would gain little and expose himself to enhanced jeopardy.  If he reneges, either he has the ego and judgment of a Donald Trump, or someone is manipulating him like a puppet.

        • dpa says:

          Thanks.  It surely doesn’t seem like a wise move.   I was under the impression, perhaps wrongly, that he had already appeared before a judge and, after having been asked if he had any alcohol or drugs in the previous 24 hours or was doing this under any sort of coercion or duress, thereafter pleaded guilty to a crime under oath.    Seems like all he can renege on is cooperating, and then they just throw him in jail for the crime to which he’s already confessed.   And perhaps charge him with more.  Hence my confusion.

  5. Allison Holland says:

    i have a question.
    if it is shown that trump was only elected due to the russian influence what is our recourse ? pence, praise the lord, would then also be illegitimate so it couldnt just be a matter of trump being escorted out of the building. but more to my wondering is there a legal way to get him out ? would he just be stripped of any power but allowed to remain ? censured in an extreme version ? the senate would never impeach him i dont think. i think too many have been bought. either by trump a la lindsey ( in my opinion ) or by the pacs.

    • Drew says:

      There is no remedy, since the election is by the electoral college which has been certified–it’s done and in the past & the constitution makes no further provision.  The remedy the framers of the constitution thought they had was impeachment by a rational Congress. (This was back in the Age of Reason, when people believed such things).

      What’s fascinating to me is what happens as chargeable crimes are documented and charged. It seems that Mueller will avoid indicting Trump himself, at least while in office, but there are all the people on the campaign & in the administration and in the Trump organization. Somewhere I read a hint of indicting the campaign itself as a corporate entity.

      In any case the most likely best case scenario is the disruption of the Trump administration via indictments, etc between now & 2020–my fantasy would include having Pence indicted as head of the Transition, etc. Any real reboot of U.S. governance would be with a new Congress and administration in January 2021. A Democratic House after the mid-terms will ameliorate some of the bad behavior of this administration, but not all.

      With regard to SCOTUS and decisions relating to Trump pardons that are clearly corrupt or other self-protective motions: it seems to me that Kavanaugh and probably Thomas would hop-to to protect Republican & even Trumpian interests, but I’m skeptical of Roberts or even Gorsuch & Alito wanting to be tagged as providing a vote for a clearly partisan decision that ends up 5-4 favoring Trump’s corruption.  Nibbling around the edges of Roe v Wade, healthcare or campaign finance law is one thing, but going for “If the President ordered it, it is therefore legal” seems like it could be bridge too far for even very conservative justices.

  6. Trip says:

    So Trump was a having a twitter tantrum in the wee hours (early this AM), while he was likely already aware at that time that the FBI uncovered one of his big fans as the MAGAbomber:

    MSNBC analyst explains the importance of FBI chief’s ‘weird’ dodge regarding when Trump knew of Cesar Sayoc’s arrest

    “This last question that I thought Wray gave a very weird answer to when he was asked ‘when did you tell the White House, when did you tell the president’, and [he] wouldn’t answer that,” said Miller, pointed out that in reality the answer should always be “immediately.”…Wray and the FBI had been on to Sayoc for at least 24 hours, and had contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the previous evening.~ Rawstory

    Trump’s tweeting:

    2:48 a.m.: “Funny how lowly rated CNN and others can criticize.”

    He then deleted that tweet and posted an expanded version of the same sentiment 16 minutes later, at 3:14 a.m.

    “Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will,” Trump complained, “even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, ‘it’s just not Presidential!’”

    It is NOT presidential. He is radicalizing people into terrorists.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yea, let’s not tell the Orange Guy so he doesn’t send a tweet and announce to the bad guy that the feds are onto him, and so he doesn’t flee or destroy evidence that might convict him.  Smart move.

      It doesn’t say much for the White House, though, when government agencies refuse to give it important information because they are reasonably fearful that the more Donald Trump knows, the more he will screw things up and harm more people.

      • Trip says:

        @earl. I think he knew, and that he was told by Wray. That’s why Trump was preemptively striking on twitter @ 3 AM, knowing he had some culpability there. I believe Wray didn’t want to get into the middle of the discussion about Trump’s un-presidential response and that is why he didn’t answer the question.

  7. Trip says:

    I read that Trump is going on a campaign blitz. I IMPLORE the MSM not to air any of this live, nor after the fact. You may be putting people’s lives in jeopardy, including your own. Further, by airing and repeating, you are actively contributing to GOP campaigns and the possible radicalization of cult members who aren’t wrapped too tight.

    Things to cover instead:
    GOP looking to gut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, after they gave the rich EVERYTHING
    The Murder of Khashoggi (and terrible parallels in the US)
    The plight of Yemen; starvation, bombing of civilians, the worst outbreak of cholera, etc
    The missing/misplaced immigrant children in the US
    The sealed motion on GJ, which Marcy thinks may be McGahn.
    Talking to Dem supporters instead of giving Trump (cult) supporters a constant platform of insanity.
    The extremist judges being placed in courts without question.
    The environment, FFS. An Island off of Hawaii is now gone, and with it might go endangered species.

    Stop being the National Enquirer and do the work of uncovering SERIOUS issues instead of promoting Trump’s extremism. Thank you.

    And while you’re at it, get rid of smiling, slithering snake oil salesman Hugh Hewitt. There is no place for such a disingenuous liar and propagandist, except on Fox News, where that is a job qualification.

    • Trip says:

      CNN has Jeff Beatty on, who ignores the growing influence, emboldenment and violence of neo-nazis, white supremacists, Trump’s violence-tinged rhetoric, his excuses for (and downplaying) the murder of journalist Khashoggi, and Beatty places blame for the MAGAbomber only on opposing (anti-Trump) actions, like the ballpark shooting by a B Sanders’ supporter.

      Is he fucking insane? (With his little hand drawn chart). He isn’t an expert, he’s a goddam partisan, deflecting any blame from Trump. How is it there is no pushback from panelists?

      If we accept the opposing party theory then we should be blaming Trump for the ballpark shooting, right?

      • Robert says:

        One of the things that has always mystified me is the claim that the 2nd Amendment is a vital protection against tyranny. How is this supposed to work? Does it mean that any group (or individual) that feels oppressed has the right to take matters into their own hands?

  8. harpie says:


    7:35 AM – 27 Oct 2018 #BREAKING: Police responding to reported active shooter at #Pittsburgh Squirrel Hill Synagogue


    8:40 AM – 27 Oct 2018 Follow the $$ to see Trump administration’s priorities: DHS Stripped Funding From Group That Counters Neo-Nazi Violence Trump’s approach to fighting extremism puts law enforcement front and center. Critics say that’s dangerous. JUNE 26, 2017, 5:01 PM

  9. Trip says:

    And now a Nazi, to the right of Trump, has killed people in a synagogue. This is following the little-covered case of the man shooting black people in a supermarket (because a church had its doors locked).

    • Trip says:

      Will Trump be able to condemn him? Maybe.. since the shooter might not have been a fan of his?

      Trump, Bannon, Breitbart, misc. administration aids and officials, et al let the racist white supremacist and Nazi faction out of the bottle. They cultivated it, they normalized it, they brewed and aged it, then campaigned on it: “bothsides-isms @ Charlottesville (even though a woman was killed) and hatred for migrants and “others”. The GOP and Trump’s administration contemplate shooting fucking desperate immigrant people on propaganda TV.

      Don’t tell me it’s not related. They mainstreamed this shit.

      None of them will acknowledge this, guaranteed.

    • Trip says:

      So I read through the shooters “gab” thread. Chalk another one up for the GOP and their “Soros (Jews are) paying to bring the (scary, evil) caravan here to hurt the country” narrative.

      They motivated this asshole to kill Jewish people.

  10. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    OK folks, what is happening now is the escalation of the rolling coup that was not gunna happen until after the mid-terms unless the crypto-Nazis were convinced that they were gunna lose big. The cascade of events that has now been initiated is designed not just to subdue the vote or suppress it but to stop the election from happening. Before November 6, we will have the confrontation between national law enforcement and the security state and the organized fascist infrastructure that has been built by oligarchs like the Kochs (and the Bushes) over the last 42 years. The key will be where the military comes down and whether or not the local police forces in large cities like LA, Chicago, New York and, yes, Pittsburg can hold behind existing local elected leadership. The second amendment has been moot since the rearmament and militarization national of domestic police and security after 1946 and the militarization of state and local police and security forces since at least the 1970’s. No time for nashing of teeth or intellectualizing about the rule of law. This is now about raw power and whether or not the infrastructure carefully built over the last 72 years can hold and subdue a huge mass of a very large population. The analogy I have used before here is Wiemar Germany 1932-34.  This is not isolated to the US, it’s already  happened in Great Britain.

    • Trip says:

      Don’t use this fear as an excuse not to vote or not to try to vote.

      Get the fuck out and vote. Get mail in/walk in ballots if you can.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        Hey Citizen Trip, what makes you think I haven’t already voted and spent hours in the last 6 weeks canvassing, calling and generally tryin’ to assist the resistance in a district and state that has been controlled by the Kochs for the last 10 years?  No, the vote is baked in unless the fascists succeed in either suppressing millions of votes in more than a few states (which I think is unlikely now), scaring enough folks with real violence to keep many of those who haven’t voted yet (like suburban white women) from voting or getting the election postponed by declaration of national emergency (like closing the southern border).  No I’ve been out on the turf of a district that has been turned by the Kochs from a moderately Republican but pro-union exurban farming population to a marginally Trump district in the last election. I am here to tell you that folks who haven’t voted in some time are mobilized, registered and many have already voted in this community of about 10,000. I am worried about those newly registered who haven’t early voted or those aforementioned middle class white women who could very well be scared into staying home. Where would you ever get the idea that I am discouraging folks from voting??!! I guess I don’t articulate so well but no one has ever said they’re unclear of where I stand, this being the fi.rst time

        • Trip says:

          Sorry Norskie, my comment was directed in general, not specifically at you. We all have fears about the power grab. I’m actually not in disagreement about the dour situation. I just don’t want people to lay down and die.

    • Ollie says:

      bmaz?  Any thoughts on this comment?  It seems whenever there is an extremist in camp., you’re there.  Again, thoughts?

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        ROFLMAO  “Extremtist”??!!! Please tell me what is “extremist” about my comment that I believe is the reality of the situation we now face. The “extremist” is in control of our national security  and federal police forces and is also in control of the NGO militias and elements of local law enforcement all across the country. My good God citizen figure out who the enemy is here, maybe you can start by looking in the mirror: “I have seen the enemy and he is us.”

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          Actually the quote from Pogo is “I have seen the enemy and he is me” but I was tryin’ to be kind. Just a matter of case but the meaning is the same.

        • Ollie says:

          I’m sorry I used the word extremist.  Unbelievable?

          I don’t comment here a lot.  Listening is better for me.  I know who the enemy is here sir.  Instead of going thru your antics over how “INCREDIBLE or IGNORANT or the ENEMY is me shit….. perhaps you could have chosen to go the expand on WHY you think it’s the upcoming doomsday?  Alarmist?

          Can’t you engage w/o the theatrics?  Thanks.

        • cat herder says:

          Yeah! I don’t see why everyone is so upset either. I’m sure the R’s can be trusted not to indulge their worst instincts. And even if they do, I’m sure the Supreme Court will put a stop to any shenanigans. And, we can still vote the bastards out, if it comes to that. If they decide to let us, that is. But I’m sure nothing really truly bad will happen and anyone claiming we’re in a precarious spot is an extremist.

  11. harpie says:

    bmaz just retweeted a link to this Reuters article from June 23, 2017:

    U.S. government narrows focus of counter-extremism program

    […] Christian Picciolini, a co-founder of Life After Hate, told Reuters his group was planning to use its $400,000 grant to scale up its counselor network of former extremists to “meet the highly increased requests for our services since Election Day.” // “The current administration’s lack of focus on domestic white extremist terrorism, let alone its denial to even acknowledge it exists, is highly troubling,” Picciolini wrote in an email. 

    Here’s a June 26, 2017 Foreign Policy article about this topic, retweeted by Kate Brannen yesterday:

    DHS Stripped Funding From Group That Counters Neo-Nazi Violence

    Trump’s approach to fighting extremism puts law enforcement front and center. Critics say that’s dangerous. […] Life After Hate is one of several organizations focusing on right-wing and white supremacist violence that was approved for funding under the Obama administration but removed from the current list of grantees. // The nonprofit has seen requests for assistance skyrocket since last year, says Angela King, who helped found Life After Hate in 2011. Their $400,000 grant was intended to fund a project aimed at preventing online radicalization among those at risk for both Islamic and white supremacist extremism. DHS has not responded to their requests for information about the criteria now used to award grants. […] 

    • harpie says:

      And with regard to “preventing online radicalization among those at risk”, today Carrie Cordero observes:

      Interesting that both the pipe bomber and today’s assailant were active on social media. These are not the unabomber hiding in a cabin off the grid…

    • Trip says:

      Didn’t the Trump administration (Sessions?) stop the gov’t collection of data as it relates to violence of right wing extremists, or am I making that up?

      If you read Bowers’ posts, though, I don’t believe he was necessarily part of a group, outside of social media. He’s more likely the lone wolf type, probably agitated by many personal issues/problems but driven to act outwardly toward (a) scapegoat(s), although not in coordination with anyone else (like Proud Boys, Neo-Nazi groups). That’s probably more difficult to spot, (rehabilitate) except for the people closest to him. Same with MAGAbomber, (but granted; his truck and hateful comments to people were big clues) plus he attended rallies.

      The ginning up of fear by the GOP on the caravan (“coming to rape and kill people”) and blaming *Soros for (paying for) it, as an actual campaign strategy is making likely already unhinged people fly completely off their axises. They think they are being saviors acting in violence.

      *(this guy had particular hatred for a Jewish Safe Haven for Refugee Group that he read as nefarious, and not caring and empathetic).

      **Oh, you just noted the online presence.

  12. Trip says:

    Google translate:
    Declaration against Dutch companies due to Kazakh billions of euros

    Civic platform Avaaz filed a declaration against companies registered in the Netherlands that, with the help of the law firm of Trump advisor Giuliani, distributed billions from Kazakhstan…The international online citizen platform Avaaz reports against two Dutch companies for involvement in the laundering of at least 1.5 million dollars from Kazakhstan. This is stated in a declaration filed by the Amsterdam law firm Prakken d’Oliveira with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, which is held by NRC. The declaration revolves around the Dutch link in an international money laundering network, in which a total of 6 to 10 billion dollars has been laundered with the help of confidants of US President Trump. Among them also Trump advisor and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. His law firm Bracewell and Giuliani would have facilitated the practices…This money was then channeled through family members through a worldwide network of vacant companies, with the Dutch Kazbay and Bayrock playing a central role.
    After that, the money was invested in real estate projects in the United States and Europe, only to be paid out again as ‘profit’. Law firm Bracewell and Giuliani were hired to set up offshore companies to minimize taxes. KazBay was set up in the Netherlands on the advice of the office in 2007, according to Zembla, because of the favorable tax climate. Whether Giuliani was aware of this himself has not been proven.

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