Seven Days after Julian Assange Helped Trump Win, Roger Stone Started Working on a Pardon

Last night, the government released a slew of warrants associated with but not limited to Roger Stone. I’ll have much more to say about them going forward. But I’d like to focus on what they say about discussions of a pardon for Julian Assange.

I have previously noted that there was an effort — including but not limited to Stone — to get Assange a pardon from 2017 through early 2018. Randy Credico’s sworn testimony at Stone’s trial made it clear this effort started in 2016 (which is one reason WikiLeaks’ efforts to pretend pardon discussions only occurred later in 2017 are so cynical). Indeed, Credico’s hope of getting a pardon for Assange is one of the reasons Stone’s threats against him worked as long as they did.

As a number of people have observed, the affidavits against Stone incorporate a paragraph explaining that, on June 10, 2017, Stone DMed Assange about a pardon.

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, @RogerJStoneJr sent a direct message to @JulianAssange, reading: “I am doing everything possible to address the issues at the highest level of Government. Fed treatment of you and WikiLeaks is an outrage. Must be circumspect as experience demonstrates it is monitored. Best regards R.”

But this effort started much earlier than that.

When Credico testified about introducing Stone to Kunstler in 2016 at trial (Stone would have known Kunstler was close to Credico because Credico bcc’ed Stone on an email he sent to the lawyer), he was vague about when that happened.

Q. What did you write to Mr. Stone on May 21st, 2018?

A. “Go right ahead. She’s not Assange’s lawyer.”

Q. I’m sorry. Below that. Let’s start at the first message, “You should have.” All the way at the bottom.

A. Where? Where am I? Here, “You should have.”

“You should have just been honest with the House Intel Committee. You’ve opened yourself up to perjury charges like an idiot. You have different versions. Maybe you need to get into rehab and get that memory straight.”

Q. What did Mr. Stone respond?

A. I don’t see it here.

Q. Just above that, do you see —

A. Oh, yes. “You are so full of S-H-I-T. You got nothing. Keep running your mouth and I’ll file a bar complaint against your friend Margaret.”

Q. And when he says “your friend Margaret,” who is he referring to?

A. Margaret Ratner Kunstler.

Q. Had you put Mr. Stone directly in touch with Ms. Kunstler after the election?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. And why had you done that?

A. Well, sometime after the election, he wanted me to contact Mrs. Kunstler. He called me up and said that he had spoken to Judge Napolitano about getting Julian Assange a pardon and needed to talk to Mrs. Kunstler about it. So I said, Okay. And I sat on it. And I told her–I told her–she didn’t act on it. And then, eventually, she did, and they had a conversation.

Credico didn’t even admit, at trial, that this happened before the end of 2016. But it appears to have started immediately after the election.

A warrant the government obtained to search the devices they seized when they searched Stone’s home reveals that on November 14, 2016, Stone switched from using an iPhone 5s to an iPhone 7.

The next day, Stone started communicating using Signal with Margaret Kunstler.

According to records from Stone’s iCloud account, a copy of the Signal application was downloaded to an iPhone registered to Stone on or about August 18, 2016. Additionally, text messages recovered from Stone’s iCloud account revealed that on or about November 15, 2016, Stone sent an attorney with the ability to contact Julian Assange a link to download the Signal application. 15 Approximately fifteen minutes after sending the link, Stone texted the attorney, “I’m on signal just dial my number.” The attorney responded, “I’ll call you.”

15 This attorney was a close friend of Credico’s and was the same friend Credico emailed on or about September 20, 2016 to pass along Stone’s request to Assange for emails connected to the allegations against then-candidate Clinton related to her service as Secretary of State.

Stone deleted a year of texts from this phone.

Finally, one more detail that’s in the generic affidavit. The investigation into Stone focused closely on whether, after getting a heads up from WaPo about the imminent Access Hollywood video story, Stone got WikiLeaks to drop the Podesta emails (Mueller’s team appears to have gotten an understanding of whether and how this happened in September 2018, which I’ll return to). Certainly, Steve Bannon gave Stone credit; his executive assistant, Alexandra Preate, commended Stone’s “well done” hours later.

What these warrants reveal, however, are that Stone had an unexpected lunch meeting with Trump the next day, October 8, 2016, that forced him to reschedule a meeting with Jerome Corsi.

On or about October 8, 2016, STONE, using Target Account 3, messaged CORSI, “Lunch postponed-have to go see T.” CORSI responded to STONE, “Ok. I understand.”

One of the things that Bill Barr’s DOJ has withheld thus far in the the release of Mueller-related 302s are the ones in which Mike Flynn explained that, in the wake of the Podesta release, the campaign considered reaching out to WikiLeaks.

The defendant also provided useful information concerning discussions within the campaign about WikiLeaks’ release of emails. WikiLeaks is an important subject of the SCO’s investigation because a Russian intelligence service used WikiLeaks to release emails the intelligence service stole during the 2016 presidential campaign. On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. Beginning on October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen from John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The defendant relayed to the government statements made in 2016 by senior campaign officials about WikiLeaks to which only a select few people were privy. For example, the defendant recalled conversations with senior campaign officials after the release of the Podesta emails, during which the prospect of reaching out to WikiLeaks was discussed.

Around the same time the campaign was having this discussion, then, Stone met personally with Trump.

So, yes, in June 2017 Stone DMed Assange about a pardon.

But more interesting is that the day after the Podesta releases, Stone met with Trump. And then, just days after Assange helped Trump win, Stone reached out to one of Assange’s lawyers.

32 replies
  1. Robert Britton says:

    Yabba Dabba do.

    Like everything else that has Donald’s shit stain on it, none of this matters anymore. America and our representative republic is a sham and a joke, just like the Rule of Law. Sure, the Law still applies to poor, everyday working stiffs like me.

    But if I’ve learned anything, these past years have shown me that there truly is no Rule of Law (or ethics or morals) that apply to our political system.

    I have never been so ashamed and forlorn.

    To read these subpoenas and other pieces of information about Trump’s *CONSPIRACY* to solicit and engage others in willful subterfuge and to know that Mueller and our entire system of “justice” (what a joke!) completely allowed him to escape.

    Flame me. Insult me. Put me down. I’m but a stupid-ass American who can recognize when corruption runs deep to the core of every aspect of our Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches and beyond.

    This information mattered three years ago. Two years ago. At the Impeachment trial.

    WTF does it matter today? Do you really think Donald is going to leave office? DO you really think there’s going to be an election this November?

    DO you really think there will ever be “justice” coming from the Supreme Court or the DOJ to prosecute this (and other directly related) Trump crime?


    I used to be naive. I used to believe in America, the rule of law, of ethical Citadel Officers, and Boy Scouts and their honor, and the Church, and that we were a Nation of Light, of laws, of justice.

    Now we are just a pile of shit. A stinking, vile, sesspool of immorality and greed.

    Feel free to flame me. Why should my outrage (and shame for our country) matter…

    I’m just a 55-year old working dumbass who has lost all hope in mankind.

    • John Forde says:

      Robert your cynicism is justified, but try to stop short of fatalism. The future is not on rails and there is joy in pursuing justice.

    • Pete T says:

      I Place a lot of my hopes – I know hope is what it is – on Trump losing in Nov and Feb 2021 the full weight of NY justice (and elsewhere) reigns down on his head and a bunch of his protectors.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Everybody in the Matrix wants to change their mind about taking the red pill over the blue. The cliches exist for a reason: sausage making is a bloody business, marriage and parenting are hard, following the rules and working hard often leave us at the bottom of the barrel, and crime does pay. Ask Donald. But stick with it. We’re all we have. You came here for a reason, because it’s not like everyplace else.

      • Tracy Lynn says:

        … because it’s not like everyplace else…. This is a truth, EoH. Thank you for this comment.

    • Bobby Gladd says:

      “Just a few short years ago we Americans knew what we were doing: making the world into one big likeness of ourselves. We had the experts; we knew how it was done. Our policy operatives would deradicalize here and regime-change there; our economists would float billions to the good guys and slap sanctions on the bad; and pretty soon the whole place was going to be stately and neat, safe for debt instruments and empowerment seminars, for hors d’oeuvres in the embassy garden and taxis hailed with smartphones. Democracy! Of thee we sang.

      Now we stand chastened, humiliated, bewildered. Democracy? We tremble to think of what it might do next…”

      • rg says:

        When I read the line : “hors d’oeuvres in the embassy garden and taxis hailed by smartphones”, I was reminded of the colorful “newspaper taxis appear on the shore waiting to take you away”, and I thought of how wonderful to have a commentator who breathes poetry at emptywheel. Then I read the link. While it was disappointing at finding the poet is merely a plagiarist, I enthusiastically thank you for the informative link.A review of populism in the modern context has been on my mind lately, but not at all as fully, or as succinctly.

    • John Bush says:

      Robert, you are not wrong, but never give up. That’s what the fuckers want you to do. We are all in this together and together we can make a difference.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name; your last comments were under “John B.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • David B Pittard says:

      No argument with how you feel, considering the facts you list, nor your reasoning. Agree with those who encourage enduring and carrying on. But lets regroup, if you will. A necessary first step. Take into account our shared assumptions that system created and developed the men of good faith to achieve justness, has been given a sound beating and “beaten, but unbowed” (from Henly, Invictus, and Henly’s personal life shows this poem was not a platitude- soup. The world has always been a challenge, why should we get a break? It being the way it is, with war between those whose values, expertise, research and reasoning largely overlap and are parallel to or congruent those who run this site and collectively, we are empowered by the information and reasoning of the columnist as well as commentary by anyone wanting to contribute two cents worth can comment. Emptywheel is at the very least a foothold, a position where we may regroup, plan and prepare a counter-attack. Stay strong by refusing to let bad facts undermine real strength of character. Individually and as a chatty collective of sharp minds knowing and analyzing facts will generate realistic hypothetical plans and at least one will have enough chance of success that it will meet your requirements for feeling optimistic.

  2. Yogarhythms says:

    Hope honesty and courage reporting truth to power. Ew does it every day.
    There is joy in the pursuit of justice.
    School teachers are teachIng their students online. Because of Trump’s pandemic response. They will all suffer lost wages and more as states revenues shortfall. Should they stop teaching? There is joy in the pursuit of knowledge. 3NOV20 is coming.

  3. Thelonius M says:

    Maybe it’s something with 55 year olds but I see things like Robert. Once every R in the Senate (minus 1) laid down for Trump I realized that this president would never be held accountable for anything. The country is being run like a criminal enterprise, complete with at consigliere at DOJ and depraved greedy scum like Kushner, Mnuchin and Ross funneling billions to their friends.
    I have some hope trump will be out of office in November – the bigger problem is the realization that the ignorance, corruption, and hatred that put Trump in office will still exist in this country. I have said it since 2016, Trump is only a symptom of a wider problem. It has been a mistake for the media to focus so intensely on trump, when all around him his enablers in government, big business, and “religion” have made it all possible. Why have not more corporate and financial leaders for instance spoken up? If anyone has the power to pressure this man it is those with money. The answer is they have made a deal with the devil and don’t give a shit about the rest – it’s every man for himself . The Republican party is at war with this country – the law and the Constitution means nothing to them, only their ideology, which they are will continue to ram down everyone’s throat.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Thelonius, you and Robert got me thinking about cultural memory as armature, or the lack thereof. I am just enough older than you to remember both the horrific tragedies and the idealistic social programs of the 1960’s. You were only 15 when the 1980 presidential election gave hegemony to the long con of supply-side economics, the results of which you describe; the con-man president of my teenage years was corrupted by that most old-fashioned of temptations, power. Not even monetized. Naive, right?

      • Thelonius M says:

        This is so far beyond anything even considered by Nixon, Reagan, Bush II, and it has been made possible by the wholesale abdication of oversight and law enforcement by the entire Republican establishment. I blame them most of all. Trump is just a spoiled infant acting on his animal impulses. Senators, DOJ prosecutors, attorney generals are supposed to police those impulses. If they don’t we have nothing but cynicism and nothing matters other than individuals taking and grabbing as much for themselves as possible. That is what this nation has become.

        • Stephen Calhoun says:

          The GOP has easily adjusted to Trump’s singular ethos, “to the winner goes the spoils.” But now mother nature has sent a puzzle that doesn’t align with their dystopian tyranny of the minority.

          Trump is very very frightened of germs, microbes, viruses, of, what he now calls, the invisible enemy. Trump now meets his greatest fear. Ironic! I’m not hopeful yet certain elements are at least delicious. Still, the harm already unfolded, heaped upon each new day, day after day, is horrifying.

  4. viget says:

    Excellent post, Emptywheel.

    I haven’t looked at all the warrants yet, but to me, by far the most interesting one is the 5/4/18 Search and Seizure Warrant for a Google Account belonging to Corsi’s and Stone’s British interlocutor with Assange and the British government (especially David Cameron). There is Just Enough of a redaction fail in the name to see that the last name starts with an “A”. Not sure who it could be, but I have a guess.

    Also interesting, this person has an in with the Israeli government as well. Don’t think that’s been reported before.

  5. viget says:

    Nervermind… I may have mistook PM to mean British PM. It may be Israeli PM. Nonetheless, the bit about “A” still stands, and he was corresponding both with Corsi and Stone, but not Assange.

    In any case, it does point to a larger conspiracy that we haven’t heard about yet.

      • viget says:

        What is the “that” you’re referring to? The larger conspiracy we haven’t heard about yet? Because if that’s what you’re alluding to, then yes, I agree, we’ve danced around it for a very very very long time here.

        What these warrants do, however, is offer the first tangible proof that the FBI knew about it too. And that so did the Trump campaign, or at least Roger Stone and Manafort (and likely DJT).

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, the larger conspiracy under 18 USC §371 to “commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner”. I do not think that anybody really informed on the matter ever thought Stone had not been in communication with Assange. This may be some sort of confirmation, but it was assumed if not proved before.

    • harpie says:

      Times of Israel has more on this series of messages:

      Redacted FBI document hints at Israeli efforts to help Trump in 2016 campaign
      Affidavit quotes Trump confidant Roger Stone being told by a Jerusalem contact: [8/12/16] ‘He is going to be defeated unless we intervene. We have critical intell. The key is in your hands!’
      29 April 2020, 10:06 pm

      […] The FBI material, which is heavily redacted, includes [numbers added]
      1] one explicit reference to Israel and
      2] one to Jerusalem, and
      3] a series of references to a minister, a cabinet minister, a “minister without portfolio in the cabinet dealing with issues concerning defense and foreign affairs,”
      4] the PM, and
      5] the Prime Minister.
      In all these references the names and countries of the minister and prime minister are redacted. […]

      Benjamin Netanyahu was Israel’s prime minister in 2016, and the Israeli government included a minister without portfolio, Tzachi Hanegbi, appointed in May with responsibility for defense and foreign affairs. One reference to the unnamed PM in the material reads as follows:


      Netanyahu made a state visit to Italy at the end of June 2016.

  6. Savage Librarian says:

    Yes! Thanks, Marcy! And thanks also to all the hard working folks who are willing to make the effort and take the time to inch us back to a path where we can begin to make some headway on the vision we believe our Earth is crying out for us to achieve.

    We can’t give up on the many remarkable people who are energized to step up and set the track back where we know it can make a difference. Just like tyrants of the past, these goons can and will be ejected. We cannot afford to add to the culpability by giving up now. Something tells me that Mother Earth is waiting in the wings to celebrate a bountiful blue wave.

  7. vertalio says:

    I’m 66 now, and remember having a lottery number to win a trip to SE Asia, remember the Chicago Dem convention violence, remember Kent State, remember the Fall of Nixon. This ain’t the Summer of Love, that’s for sure.

    But while each day brings more terrible news, it also means the stakes are higher. In the face of this virus, the actions of the monsters…yes, monsters…with their hands on the tiller and in the till can only be stopped by the actions of women and men who know love to be greater than greed. Love is what brought us together in the first place, to band together for the common good. It got us past the lions, and the tigers, and starvation. Our altruism has always been superior to our greed, or the human race would already be kaput.
    In a way, knowing this administration has no problem with us dying in Massachusetts, and in the other blue areas, makes it simple. They may kill us, but we will be dying some day anyway. If our last healthy act is to stand in line to vote these fuckers out, then we are going to crush them in November.

    • madwand says:

      Yep we may only have that vote in November, if we don’t succeed at that we’re fucked. Wisconsin is the example, we have to remember Wisconsin. That’s a t-shirt I can buy into, “Remember Wisconsin”

  8. OldTulsaDude says:

    I don’t think crushing them is enough or correct. What is needed is a repudiation – a repudiation of them personally and everything for which they stand. It’s not revenge. It’s a reckoning.

    • Reader 21 says:

      This—so well said. I fear the temptation will be overwhelming to ‘put all this behind us’ and sweep it under the rug, in the name of moving on for the good of the nation, a la post-Skinny Nixon. Whereas I believe an essential—albeit not sufficient, but necessary—first step to healing our nation, is bringing Trump’s crimes to light. Or, as many of them as can be uncovered, anyway.

Comments are closed.