Did Jerome Corsi (or Roger Stone) Get Podesta Emails from Guccifer 2.0?

Thus far, the public narrative about Jerome Corsi’s travails with Robert Mueller (aside from the fact that he just hired Larry Klayman and is submitting a complaint about Mueller to Matt Whitaker) pertain to how he served as the long-hidden go-between between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks.

But I want to lay out a number of data points to suggest that — after he learned information on WikiLeaks via Ted Malloch — he (or Stone) may have obtained actual Podesta emails from Guccifer 2.0.

This post assumes that Corsi and Stone learned not just that GRU and WikiLeaks had Podesta emails but also that the emails included documents pertaining to Joule Holding, as laid out in this post.

Corsi had access to Guccifer 2.0 through his Peter Smith buddies

Roger Stone has said he was not involved in the Peter Smith operation to find the emails Hillary Clinton deleted, but Corsi was. And Smith reached out to Guccifer 2.0.

The activists, the journalist-turned-entrepreneur Charles Johnson and his former business partner Pax Dickinson, agreed to help Smith’s quixotic mission, which failed to track down copies of Clinton’s emails. Johnson is a polarizing figure who was banned from Twitter in 2015 after promoting an effort to “take out” a Black Lives Matter activist but maintains ties to White House officials. Smith also reached out to “Guccifer 2.0”—an alias the U.S. intelligence community has linked to Russian state hackers—and was advised to seek the help of a white nationalist hacker who lives in Ukraine.

Smith also appears to have had advance knowledge of the Podesta emails, and was fundraising off of their release in October 2016.

Corsi’s information was sourced to “hackers,” not “friend in embassy”

When Corsi reported information about upcoming releases back to Stone, he first referred to “friend in embassy,” meaning Assange, but then described the “game hackers are now about.”

Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.… Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton]. That appears to be the game hackers are now about.

Sure, Assange is himself a hacker, of sorts. But the reference to the hackers, plural, seems to reference a different actor. (Chuck Ross has a screen cap of the email here.) Perhaps he was thinking of GRU itself, or people like Chuck Johnson and Weev (described above).

Guccifer 2.0 was happy to search for specific files

In a number of instances, Guccifer 2.0 sought out and provided files pertinent to a specific interlocutor, as when on August 15, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 sent files on his opponent to a congressional candidate.

On or about August 15, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress. The Conspirators responded using the Guccifer 2.0 persona and sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.

[I reiterate earlier warnings that I believe this person may be different than the person usually presumed to be the candidate.]

So Guccifer was at times happy to deliver precisely what interlocutors wanted, down to searching on a name.

Corsi’s statement of offense incorporates the GRU investigation

Two parts of Corsi’s statement of the offense reflect that his discussions with prosecutors may extend to the investigation into GRU.

First, there’s the scope laid out (which must reflect an expansion of the investigation from what it was on August 2, 2017, when Rod Rosenstein first memorialized it in detail). In addition to the connections between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, the investigation included GRU (this was four months after the GRU indictment) and how GRU got the documents to WikiLeaks.

At the time of the interview, the Special Counsel’s Office was investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including:

a. the theft of campaign-related emails and other documents by the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (“GRU”);

b. the GRU’s provision of certain of those documents to an organization (“Organization 1”) for public release in order to expand the GRU’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign; and

c. the nature of any connections between individuals associated with the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and the Russian government or Organization 1.

Then there are the prosecutors who signed off on the draft plea deal.

In addition to Jeannie Rhee, Andrew Goldstein, and Aaron Zelinsky (all of whom we’ve seen in the Andrew Miller proceedings), Rush Atkinson is included. Before this document, Atkinson had only shown up on the Russian side of the investigation — the IRA and GRU indictments.

Corsi refused to name his Podesta email source before the grand jury

Corsi’s so-called cooperation went to hell when he refused to name his real Podesta email source before the grand jury (note, given what was laid out in his draft plea, I think the date of this must be November 2, not November 9).

A source with knowledge of Corsi’s most recent grand jury appearance, which occurred last Friday, told TheDCNF that he was pulled out of the proceeding because prosecutors were frustrated with his testimony.


Corsi says that Mueller’s team zeroed in on a trip he took to Italy with his wife in July and August 2016 to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. It was on that trip that Corsi claims his theory about Wikileaks and Podesta finally clicked.

“When I flew to Italy in July and early August 2016 for my 25th wedding anniversary, I really put it together,” he says of Wikileaks having Podesta’s emails.

Corsi says that he came up with his theory after realizing that Wikileaks’ July 22, 2016 release of DNC emails did not contain any from the Clinton campaign chairman.

“I noticed there weren’t any Podesta emails in there. In July, flying over to Italy I thought, ‘I bet Assange has Podesta’s emails,’” Corsi asserts.

Corsi said that prosecutors rejected that explanation.

“They really wanted me to tell the truth, and I did. But they wouldn’t accept that.”

Prosecutors “drilled on and drilled on and drilled on” Corsi’s activities in Italy, including his phone calls and emails, he said.

Admittedly, this could just be Ted Malloch or someone (or, again, someone like Chuck Johnson, who has ties to Assange). But Corsi’s refusal to name his real source would make more sense if it were something even more scandalous.

The date Corsi and Stone are trying to explain away is the same date Stone talked with Guccifer

As I’ve pointed out a couple of times, Stone and Corsi have offered conflicting stories about … something that happened on August 14, 2016. At one level, it’s totally obvious what happened: The NYT published a story that revealed Paul Manafort’s graft and ties to Russia, and they talked about ways to respond by projecting such accusations against someone else. But that doesn’t explain why and how their response focused on Podesta. And Stone and Corsi’s cover stories both appear to struggle to explain what went on between the two of them that day.

For example, in the cover story Corsi did in March 2017 (which he now says he presented to the grand jury in immunized testimony), he claims he started researching his August 31 research report on that day.

On Aug. 14, 2016, I began researching for Roger Stone a memo that I entitled “Podesta.”

In his immunized testimony, Corsi admitted that he didn’t start this research until August 30, and did so as an explicit cover story.

Stone has several times claimed something in Breitbart — perhaps this post — focused their attention. But that doesn’t make any sense at all, because that’s still a focus on Joule, not on the Manafort-related Tony Podesta sleaze Corsi’s report would cover.

We can assume that Corsi and Stone met on or around August 14. He only returned home from Italy on August 12. And Corsi published this interview on August 15. August 15 is also the very first day Stone ever tweeted about John Podesta.

Those two days are also when Stone reached out to Guccifer.

Guccifer is almost certainly talking about the DCCC files dropped on August 12, which because of the amount of personal details leaked were the most sensitive files dumped. But it’s just possible the reference to posted files were to files posted somewhere else.

The emails Corsi deleted match up to both the Joule disclosure and the last Guccifer post

Finally, there’s this from Corsi’s statement of the offense:

Between approximately January 13, 2017 and March 1, 2017, CORSI deleted from his computer all email correspondence that predated October 11, 2016, including Person 1’s email instructing CORSI to “get to [the founder of Organization 1]” and CORSI’s subsequent forwarding of that email to the overseas individual.

The dates here are interesting. The October 11 date is pretty easy to explain. That’s why the Peter Smith foldering email was expressing happiness with the Podesta emails that were then dropping. It’s also the date when Wikileaks released the Joule documents; if Stone and Corsi were discussing Joule before that, it would represent prior knowledge.

There are a great of possible explanations for why, on January 13, Corsi might have decided he wanted to delete all the emails pertaining to his campaign activities, including that that’s the day SSCI announced their investigation [Update: See CJ’s suggestion — that it pertains to how Time Machine does back-ups — here]. It is, however, the day after the last Guccifer post, when he falsely claimed to be unrelated to Russian intelligence again, itself a response to the Intelligence Community Assessment stating with high confidence he was and January 10 testimony from the top spooks reinforcing that point. That same day, Stone associate Lee Stranahan DMed Guccifer and asked if he wanted to do an interview.

In other words, if Stone and Corsi had worked with Guccifer — directly or indirectly — to plan their attacks on Podesta, the stakes for doing so would have gone up right before — according to the government — he may have started thinking about deleting his emails.

As for March 1, that’s the day before Jeff Sessions recused (though it was clear he would have to do so before that); though the end date may also pertain to a preservation order or some investigative explanation — though that would have been remarkably early for such a step, given the timing of known George Papadopoulos steps. It’s particularly remarkable that Corsi had deleted his emails by March 1 given that the cover story he wrote up for Roger Stone was written over three weeks later.

All of this is, mind you, highly speculative, and thus far there’s no hint in anything serial fabulist Corsi has said to indicate that’s the case. But it is a theoretical possibility, one that would explain a lot about what just happened.

50 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The “I put it all together” cover story from Corsi doesn’t even fit with “time to let more than [Podesta] [to] be exposed.” It implies that Podesta had *already* been exposed by hackers. (Which he had, to some degree, given the presumed origin of the attachments put out by DCLeaks. But that wasn’t public.)

    The Wikileaks DNC dump was on July 22. Corsi’s email to Stone was on August 2. That’s ten days to look through 30,000 documents, see none from Podesta, and deduce that the email account he did use had been compromised? Pull the other one.

    Is there any clarity on when Podesta knew (or at least suspected) he’d been spearphished? It only became public knowledge in October, but I can’t remember seeing any retrospective accounts of the hack that offered that information, which isn’t surprising, given that it was more of a standalone operation.

    • Trip says:

      Edit to correct timing:

      Podesta: In the summer, when the DNC hack documents started coming out, there was a document in that release that didn’t seem like it would have made its way to the DNC and may have come from my email account. So at least the possibility I’d been hacked rose during the course of the summer. In August, [Trump adviser] Roger Stone started pointing to WikiLeaks and pointing to me. So that seemed to be the second indicator that they at least had something, but it wasn’t until October 7th that the full extent of the loss was known to me and our team.


    • emptywheel says:

      The first Guccifer 2.0 releases were also Podesta emails. He has said he recognized a document fairly early on was something he would have had. But it’s really hard to take anything from his comments because they were trying to downplay how badly pwned they had been.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Yeah, Trip’s quote is probably the best we have — suspicion over the summer, but no idea of the extent of the hack till October.

        Stone and Corsi were looking directly ahead from the DNC leaks to expected Clinton Foundation materials, which probably counts as “in bed w enemy”. Stone says he got the tip from being BCC’d by Charles Ortel to James Rosen on July 25.  John Fund was hinting something similar on July 24.

        For Corsi to write “Time to let more than Podesta.. be exposed” implies knowledge (or at least a belief) that Podesta had already been exposed by August 2. Not many people possessed that knowledge. I’m sure that’s how Mueller’s team read it.

        • emptywheel says:

          I actually disagree with that. The GAI report came out on August 1. So in Corsi and Stone’s world, Podesta just had been exposed.

          Though as I keep harping on, that also means they would have been acutely interested in whether WL had Joule documents, which they did.

        • jf-fl says:

          I know EW not dossier’s biggest fan, but when we take this timeline w/corsi, stone on covering for manafort… then relate it to some of the cohen revalations today, we seem to be back in territory covered by Steele’s doc.

          Steele attests that cohen was coordinating to cover up manafort’s ukranian connections in press, and that he was scheduled to meet with senior officials in Russia earlier (than august, aka dates here), but canceled because too sensitive.    City I think doesn’t match up, but it is interesting.

          Also interesting what Mueller is not mentioning today… because remember Mueller didn’t intend for us to know about stuff in Corsi draft indictment yet.

          The dossier also referenced a source that cohen was a key player in the secret Trump Russia relationship, especially in covering it up.  Which is what cohen admitted today.

          Dossier also alleged that in the infamously unverifiable Prague meetup, 3 colleagues were with him to meet w/Kremlin and hackers and operators… is it even possible corsi was at this meeting and saw the emails at this time?  It’s hard for me to keep track of all these dates but seems to match, though I know there are other issues with both dossier dates here and also Cohen’s verifiable schedule. Corsi specifically referenced hackers after this meeting in an email/text, I believe.

          It specifically alleged that cohen was responsible for making sure the plans addressed what would happen if hillary won, which Trump referenced in his comments today on Cohen’s plea.    This is also something EW has written about extensively.

  2. Trip says:

    Interesting aside:

    The first person to say that Podesta’s email password was “password” was Julian Assange, whose website WikiLeaks published the emails stolen from Podesta.
    “We published several Podesta emails, which show Podesta responding to a phishing email,” Assange said on Fox Jan. 3. “Now, how did they respond? Podesta gave out that his password was the word ‘password.’ ”
    “So this is something a 14-year-old kid could have hacked,” Assange added.

    There’s an embedded link to take you to the Fox News interview, which is now gone.

  3. Kevin Finnerty says:

    I’ve long maintained that the Mueller probe will not have a legal resolution because Trump will abuse his powers as president to corrupt the prosecutorial process. A political resolution is what we’re going to get (and even then, I think that will end with acquittal in the senate).

    To that end, I think Corsi’s and Manafort’s thrashing around is instructive. They’re on suicide missions that only make sense if they will receive pardons. My concern is that this obstruction is taking a toll. Mueller has been squeezing Stone and associates for months. Manafort used his plea bargain to relay information to Trump. Who’s to say other cooperators have not done the same thing. Corsi is flinging around tremendous amounts of bullshit and it’s hard to pick out the actual facts from the lies. But the reason he’s doing this is clear. Just as the reason for Whitaker’s appointment is clear: to obstruct the investigation. My concern is that the integrity of the probe is entering dire conditions.

    • emptywheel says:

      Absolutely agree. And while Mueller appears to have cooperators for much of what he wanted from Manafort, Corsi may be a bottleneck, putting the entire 9 month investigation into Stone in jeopardy.

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          “Charge him up and let’s go.”

          Doesn’t Whitaker need to sign off on charges and/or indictment of Corsi?

  4. BobCon says:

    Does anyone have a sense of how likely it is that the US already intercepted a lot of the traffic with Guccifer 2.0 and company?

    I’m curious of the degree to which Mueller is trying to independently reconstruct what he already knows, not that we’re ever likely to find out very much.

  5. Desider says:

    Who was in Italy that people kept going to visit? (I’m guessing Corsi’s a-ha experience wasn’t just a revelation from the Pope).

  6. Rugger9 says:

    Also, the candidate requesting dirt is a clear indication of GOP complicity and also explains why McTurtle didn’t want Obama to do anything about the hacks.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Anyone know the first date for when McConnell refused to agree to Obama’s concerns about Russian hacking?  It was after June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, and Manafort was clearly a shrieking siren + red light to a lot of GOP operatives — look at how Mark McKinnon, Nichole Wallace, Steve Schmidt and other Bush GOP wing of ‘never Trumpers’  avoided Manafort, and were even in fall 2016 encouraging support of Hillary.

      Here’s hoping that some of the sealed indictments include McConnell and Ryan.  Given how many in the GOP knew that the whole group around Trump was slimy, it is not credible that McConnell didn’t know that skullduggery was afoot.  Maybe they were too busy kowtowing to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, but it says volumes about their misgovernance that they failed utterly to respond to US intel reports about the Donald.

      However, @Kevin, there’s a real benefit to Mueller drawing this out — although frankly, it’s hard to fathom how on earth McConnell — SCOTUS or no SCOTUS — could fail to rein in a president who is being trolled by Finnish rakers, by Putin, by Xi (‘hold my beer, Donald’) Xinping, just for starters.

      If McConnell were actually a strategist, he’d be moving for impeachment ASAP, if only for the sake of saving his beloved GOP.  As things have played out, it’s more clear by the day that Trump is a bizarro mix between a Mafioso and a dumpster fire, and his minions are a pack of criminal idiots.

      It is, however, delicious to watch Corsi and Stone, after decades of reckless endangerment, be revealed as depraved, malevolent creeps.  Without time for all of this to play out, these people would continue to hide under their respective rocks.  The longer this mess unravels, the more public recognition can coalesce around what we are actually dealing with, and figure out how to adapt in the future.

      • Tom says:

        Greg Miller’s book The Apprentice states that John Brennan began contacting members of the Gang of Eight–which included McConnell–“after his [Brennan’s] early August meeting with Obama in the Oval Office.”   No specific date given though Miller says Brennan met with Devin Nunes et al “after Labor Day” .    Miller describes Nunes as “seeming dismissive” of Brennan’s warning and quotes McConnell as stating: “You’re trying to screw the Republican candidate” when Brennan laid out the evidence for the Russian hacking.    Brennan and McConnell then got into “a shouting match”.    To Brennan, it seemed that McConnell viewed him and the CIA as a greater threat to the Presidential election than the Russians.    From pages 158-159 of The Apprentice.

        • skua says:

          ” … it seemed that McConnell viewed him and the CIA as a greater threat to the Presidential election than the Russians.”

          If there is Trump-Russia conspiracy, which seems very likely, then one question is ,”Who was in the know?”.

          If McConnell was in the know then Brennan and the CIA were a great threat to the plan. And the Russians no threat at all.

      • Trip says:

        I’m also kind of perplexed why no one has done a really deep dive muckrake into McConnell.
        His plots in government are as dirty as they come, it would only stand to reason that that isn’t the only place where he is corrupt. As far as I know, the only thing dredged up was the cocaine smuggling uncovered via his wife’s family’s shipping business. And even that seemed to be quickly brushed aside. Can you imagine the outrage and calls for resignation, if it had been someone’s family, like Obama’s or Pelosi’s?

  7. CJ says:

    Speculating, but the January 13 / March 1 dates may be just an artifact of how Time Machine prunes backups: after a month, it only keeps one a week.  If the last backup on which the emails were there was January 13th, there were some failed backups on that computer from the 20th through February (e.g. the computer wasn’t turned on), and the messages were gone on the subsequent available backup on March 1st, it’d be ambiguous exactly when they were deleted, but you could easily pinpoint the range within which it happened.

  8. BroD says:

    WSJ says Mueller says Manafort lied about business dealings.  Everyone’s looking for him to unload the right cross but he lands a stunning left jab and dances away leaving poor Paulie in a fog.

    • Trip says:

      His business dealings (with Deripaska, allegedly) are an integral part of the entire campaign conspiracy. If there is no connection to Russian money then his “free” campaign management work takes on a different “altruistic” tone, rather than being a payback, quid pro quo, in sanctions/relationship relief, in exchange for money already paid.

      • Trip says:

        That photo: It’s interesting how it captures the sillier joker of the 60’s-70’s(?) past, and not the truly psychopathic Heath Ledger version (or the 40’s original dark-side). This cast of characters, surrounding and including Trump, make the campy Batman show look like a documentary, FFS.

  9. Trip says:

    Michael Cohen expected to plead guilty to lying to Congress in collusion probe; gave 70 hours of interviews to special counsel

    Special counsel Robert Mueller has reached a tentative deal with Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney and long-time fixer for President Donald Trump, sources told ABC News.
    Sources familiar with the special counsel’s proposed agreement with Cohen told ABC News that the 52-year-old New Yorker will admit to making multiple misstatements to two congressional intelligence committees investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. It was not immediately clear what Cohen told the congressional committees in the fall of 2017 that he will now say was false.

    Trump is gonna go fuckin’ nuts today. I hope someone leaks a little bit of what he testified to the committees.

    • Trip says:

       Jon Swaine‏Verified account @jonswaine

      Cohen expected to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement to Congress relating to plans for a Trump development in Moscow, reports @vicbekiempis

      • Trent says:

        Can this be interpreted as MC folded and gave up all the goods on Fat Nixon since he only pleaded guilty to one lie?  Seems like Mueller could have thrown the book case at him and is still sittin’ plush with a royal flush in case MC is just bluffing.

  10. Rugger9 says:

    The other bit of bad news for the Palace is that DB got raided as well.  Keep in mind this was a bank with a complex (ahem) relationship with Kaiser Quisling and his sundry enterprises.  They’ve litigated against each other but DB is the only non-shady (i.e. not Soviet Russian, Cypriot, Panamanian, etc.) bank willing to loan money to the business.

    I don’t think it was coincidental in connection to the latest Cohen plea deal (remember he already copped to lying about Stormy’s and Karen’s payoffs).  KQ for his part is already calling  Michael Cohen “weak” (again) among other unkind things but should remember that MC can point the OSC to the precise accounts if necessary.

  11. Tom says:

    I’d like to borrow one of Matt Whitaker’s time machines to jump ahead five or ten years to see how this all turns out.

  12. Vern says:

    Axios says our Ms. Wheeler is a “pundit”:

    “… So, what gives? Independent intelligence pundit Marcy Wheeler suggests Corsi may have been referring to a leak from Guccifer 2.0 in August that did materialize rather than a leak from WikiLeaks.”

  13. Trip says:

    HAHAHA…Fox really knows how to scare its demographic, from the other night. It is REAL:

    Andrew Lawrence‏ @ndrew_lawrence

    “Mueller Team Threatens Elderly Men”


    Hilarious responses:

    b r e n d o n‏ @lemondevivant 1
    Replying to @ndrew_lawrence

    Mueller Team Preventing Your Grandchildren From Calling

    Marc Channick‏ @Sorry_What_Now
    Replying to @lemondevivant @ndrew_lawrence

    Mueller Team Keeps Resetting Clock On Your VCR To 12:00 AM


  14. Rayne says:

    Sure would love to know why NBC is so aggressively knocking out the 27-NOV-2018 interview with Chris Hayes on All In. There’s no MSNBC video in YouTube of it, just Hayes on Pruitt and with Michael Moore that hour. I know it exists because I’ve seen two other unauthorized copies of the entire hour program which have been removed for copyright infringement.


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