November 28, 2018 / by emptywheel


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.

Copyright © 2018 emptywheel. All rights reserved.
Originally Posted @