Last week Roger Stone was indicted for lying to congress, witness tampering and obstruction of Justice over the issue of whether he established a back channel to Julian Assange in order to discover what hacked and stolen information about Hillary Clinton they were planning to release provide that info to Steve Bannon at the Trump campaign as a heads up so they could coordinate and collude with those releases.
There is no real question about whether he did establish the back channel because he bragged about having done so in public, repeatedly, and then publicly announced the content of what would release and the frequency of those releases.
On August 21, Stone tweeted that “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel.” Stone claimed in an October 19 Breitbart post that he did not have advanced knowledge that Podesta’s hacked emails would be leaked, claiming his tweet was about Podesta’s business dealings.In mid-September, Stone said on Boston Herald Radio that he expects, “Julian Assange and the Wikileaks people to drop a payload of new documents on a weekly basis fairly soon. And that of course will answer the question of exactly what was erased on that email server.”
Mueller office did not charge Stone for having done this, they charged him for having lied about it to Congress to protect his primary link in the back channel, swiftboater and “birther-King” Jerome Corsi, and claimed that an entirely different person, radio host Randi Credicco, was his source for info on Assange.
As it turns out his attempt to protect Corsi were largely for naught because in the intervening years Corsi wrote a book where he details many of his communications with Stone and it appears that he didn’t just supply Stone with data about Assange through his London-based connection Ted Malloch, he also apparently communicated information about the impending release of the Access Hollywood “Grab ‘em by the Pussy” tape — which was likely leaked to Stone by Steve Bannon or one of his staff — in order to have Wikileaks strategically begin dumping their stash of John Podesta emails just 20 minutes after the AH tape was released in order to blunt it’s impact.
It wasn’t a coincidence that these events happened on the same day, at almost the same time, Roger Stone coordinated and collude with Assange, — likely through Russian agents — in order to make this happen.
Talking Points memo has the story.
According to Corsi’s account, Stone frantically called him in the hours before the now-infamous video dropped, demanding that he push Wikileaks into publishing the Podesta emails as a way of diverting attention from the impending story.
Stone’s indictment records an associate of Trump campaign chair Stephen K. Bannon texting Stone “well done” after the release, and states that Stone went on to claim credit for the leak in the days after Wikileaks began the dump.
If Corsi’s account is true, Stone would have known before nearly anyone the Access Hollywood tape was about to be made public. That raises fascinating questions about how Stone would have learned that the tape was coming. It also raises separate questions of whether – and how – he managed to contact Wikileaks, and why at least one Trumpworld figure in the indictment appeared to attribute the document release to Stone.
According to Stone’s indictment not long after the first Wikileaks release of DNC emails on June 22nd a “Senior Trump Campaign Official” was directed to contact Stone in order to have him find out what additional information Wikileaks had. Stone in turn contacted Corsi, and Corsi emailed Ted Malloch who was an American right-winger living in London who had been interviewed multiple time by RT reporter Afshin Rattansi who had also had multiple contact with Julian Assange.
Stone efforts paid off on August 2nd, the same day that RT interviewed Assange in Ecuadorian Embassy and Corsi while on vacation in Europe for his 25th Anniversary responded to Stone via email:
“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 [Podesta] 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. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke — neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.” He and Stone later concoct a cover story about all this.
Stone eventually managed to email Steve Bannon revealing that the next Wikileaks dump would pertain to Podesta and there would be…
“A load every week going forward,” Stone wrote to Bannon in an email the next day, Oct. 4, that was first reported by the New York Times and cited in last week’s indictment.
Also in October a producer at Access Hollywood discovered the archived tape and apparently reached out to Washington Post reported David Farhenholt who began to vett the tape by contacting NBC and the Trump campaign for a comment. “Somehow” Roger Stone found out about the AC Tape and began to frantically try to reach Corsi on Friday, October 7th.
Throughout the week, Stone allegedly continued to agitate for the release. In the words of Randy Credico to Mother Jones, Stone “was wigging out” about getting Wikileaks to drop the materials.
But on Friday morning of that week, Stone purportedly began to ‘wig out’ even further, to cite Credico.At around 11:00 a.m. ET that day, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold had received a copy of the Access Hollywood video from a source. Throughout the day – and before the Washington Post published the story online at around 4 p.m. ET – Fahrenthold put out requests to NBC and the Trump campaign for comment.
Corsi’s phone records show that he and Stone held a call at around 11:30 a.m. ET. Corsi recalled to TPM in December that Stone continued to phone him throughout the day.
“I recall Roger telling me that the Billy Bush tape was going to be that day and Roger was saying to me, ‘if you have any way to get Assange to start dropping, tell him to start dumping,’” Corsi said
Corsi told TPM that he had records of two more phone calls with Stone on that day before the Access Hollywood tape was published at 4 p.m. ET. He alleged in his since-published book that those calls occurred at 1:42 p.m. ET and 2:18 p.m. ET.
Corsi then — after multiple calls from Stone — has said that he eventually reached out to his Wikileaks link Ted Malloch.
Before the tape was published and Wikileaks started dumping, Corsi spoke with London-based conservative writer Ted Malloch on a conference call. Corsi, a 72-year old conspiracy theorist, told TPM that other “granular” details had since slipped his mind.
The Washington Post released the tape at 4 p.m., and 20 mins later Wikileaks released the first of the Podesta emails. Corsi of course is a questionable witness on just about every subject but his emails and phone records seem to back up this account. He doesn’t exactly describe, or probably know, if or how Malloch may have reached Assange and Wikileaks but it does seem that they were contacted and acted rapidly to create a distraction that would allow right-wing sources such as RT, Sputnik News, Brietbart, Daily Caller and Fox News to pivot to a fresh new batch of anti-Hillary News right when the Access Hollywood Tape was beginning to dominate mainstream (Normal) media.
It should be noted that Malloch’s primary contact with Wikileaks and Assange was reportedly a reporter for RT and the primary assumption has been that this person merely acted as a go between for Malloch and ultimately Stone and the Trump campaign. But the possibility that there was more to that should be considered, since RT and Sputnik news are just as much arms of the Kremlin and Putin as are the FSB and GRU. We don’t actually know at this point how the Russian Intelligence Hackers who originally infected the DNC and Podesta’s emails with malware — as has been documented by Mueller indictment of the GRU — transferred this information to Assange and WIkileaks sometime around early June.
We need to take a second to look here at the involvement of RT because since this occurred they have been designated as Foreign Agents by the U.S.
American intelligence agencies have a low opinion of the network. Ex-CIA director James Clapper has called RT “a mouthpiece of Russian governmental propaganda,” whose assets and executives are closely tied to Vladimir Putin.
An unclassified version of a January US intelligence report points to RT and Russian-backed website Sputnik as a key part of Russian interference with the US election, arguing the outlet served “as a platform for Kremlin messaging”.
“The Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT’s coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging because of their ideological beliefs,” the report states.
It also details close links between editorial management and the Russian government and cites RT and Sputnik’s ramping up of pro-Trump and anti-Clinton stories around March 2016, including Russian talking points that Clinton’s election would led to a war between US and Russia.
The US government requires all agencies, individuals and organisations controlled or funded by international governments and undertake political activity, to be registered with the justice department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara).
Fara began as a reaction to attempts by Nazi Germany to spread propaganda inside the US. In the 1940s, the Soviet news agency TASS and later newspapers Izvestia and Pravda were registered as agents of the Soviet government.
Registering as a foreign agent doesn’t mean RT will be forced to stop broadcasting, but it will need to label all US material “on behalf of” the Russian government.
RT is an element of the Russian Government.
It should be considered and investigated whether RT wasn’t just reporting on what Assange had, but as agents of the Russian government may have been the conduit to supply him the hacked emails in the first place. If that is the case, and that remains to be seen, it would mean that the connected chain from Bannon → Stone -→ Corsi → Malloch -→ RT reporter Afshin Rattansi → Assange went both ways where the RT reporter should be considered a Russian Government Agent in these transactions.
The Trump campaign used Stone to coordinate and collude with Russian agents in order to gain an advantage — a gift in violation of campaign finance laws easily as valuable as the $130,000 that Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels under direct orders from Trump. I suspect RT used Wikileaks to “launder” these releases, just as the phony Guccifer 2.0 persona was used by the GRU to give the appearance that the hacks were done by an “independent hacktivist”, in order to keep Russia’s hands clean from all this when the Kremlin and Putin were actually pulling all the strings from behind the scenes.
Was Trump involved in this? That remains unknown and really isn’t the point. What is interesting is that after the Access Hollywood Tape was released most of Trump’s staff was saying that he should drop out of the race, but Steve Bannon told him “This means you’re going to win.”
When the Post published the Access Hollywood tape, it elicited widespread revulsion and calls from within the Republican Party for Trump to step down as presidential candidate. Famously, the campaign held a meeting of top staffers in which future chief of staff Reince Preibus urged Trump to step down, while Bannon advised him to continue.
After Wikileaks released the Podesta emails a staffer working for Steve Bannon emailed Stone.
The Stone indictment records a Bannon associate as texting the longtime GOP operative “well done” after the Wikileaks release.
Whether Trump was involved doesn’t matter. The point is that Stone — under direction by someone in the campaign, who I continue to think may have been Rick Gates via Paul Manafort — went out to find the Wikileaks information through a link of connections which funneled their way through RT. He accomplished that mission and reported it back to Steve Bannon. Someone, likely in the campaign, leaked to Stone that the AH Tape with Billy Bush was about to drop and he dutifully used his links — from Corsi and likely through Russian agents at RT — to warn and direct Assange to strategically drop their Podesta emails just when it would do the Trump campaign the most good.
This was not a boating accident.