In the wake of the real-time cable TV meltdown several weeks ago of former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg, long-time Trump ally Roger Stone granted his own interview to do a little clean up on Nunberg’s messy revelations. During that MSNBC appearance, Stone specifically downplayed his links to Guccifer 2.0 even though in August of 2016 he had penned a rather loquacious op-ed man-splaining to Hillary Clinton that Guccifer 2.0 was responsible for hacking the DNC, not Russia.
Well, now we know via the Daily Beast that Guccifer 2.0 wasn’t just any hacker, and he wasn’t even just any Russian hacker—he was in fact an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate, the GRU, (i.e. a bonafide Russian agent).
That brings a lot of clarity to why Stone so strenuously worked to detach himself from Guccifer during his interview with Chuck Todd on March 7:
Todd: Why did you reach out to Guccifer? Why did you reach out to Wikileaks?
Stone: First of all, my direct messages with Guccifer 2.0, if that’s who it really is, come six weeks, almost six weeks after the DNC emails had been published by Wikileaks. So in order to collude in their hacking, which I had nothing whatsoever to do with, one would have needed a time machine. Secondarily, I wrote a very long piece, you can find it still at the Stone Cold Truth. I doubt that Guccifer is, indeed, a Russian operative. I also once believed that he had hacked the DNC. I don’t believe that anymore either. I believe it was an inside job…
That’s nothing short of a panoply of misdirection. The notion that Guccifer isn’t Russian, didn’t hack the DNC, and the hack was instead an “inside job” has zero basis in reality according to the intelligence community.
That was basically the whole of what Stone said about Guccifer during the entire interview, and he never came close to answering “why” he had originally made contact with Guccifer or WikiLeaks in the first place.
Stone did, however, devote a lot of energy to framing Julian Assange purely as a journalist and rejecting the notion that WikiLeaks is a Russian front—thereby helping to justify his communications with WikiLeaks.
Roger Stone faces two main legal issues: whether he was knowingly communicating with Russians about the election and whether that was apparent to the Trump campaign.
Stone worked pretty hard during that interview to distance himself from Guccifer and separate both Guccifer and WikiLeaks from Russia. As it happens, he also spent a good deal of time attempting to establish that he wasn’t technically working for the Trump campaign at the time he communicated with both entities.