WSJ has an email from Roger Stone to Sam Nunberg, dated August 4, 2016 in which Stone says, "I dined with Julian Assange last night,”https://t.co/ipI2oYeN3G
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) April 2, 2018
I’ve said before, Murphy the Trickster God probably doesn’t love me that much. But then, even the wiliest Brer Rabbit eventually loses some speed on his evasive tactics…
… Stone, who has worked as an on-again, off-again adviser to President Trump for decades, vehemently denied Monday that Mueller could be building a case against him based on his contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.
“The fake news media is in overdrive,” Stone, 65, told the Daily News. “This is a wild goose hunt seeking something that didn’t happen.”
Stone’s name has come up at an increasing rate in relation to Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, according to reports and witnesses.
Informal ex-Trump campaign adviser Ted Malloch revealed over the weekend that FBI agents arrested him and asked him about Stone and WikiLeaks after he recently returned to the U.S. from London. Malloch, who was once considered to become Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, said in a statement that the agents served him a subpoena to appear before Mueller’s grand jury later this month.
Sam Nunberg, another ex-Trump campaign aide, testified before the Mueller grand jury last month — and many questions focused on Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to reports.
Mueller is reportedly interested in whether Stone was aware of or in any way coordinated WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of hacked emails from the Clinton campaign. Sources told the Wall Street Journal Monday that the investigators are particularly interested in an email Stone wrote to Nunberg on Aug. 4, 2016, in which he said that he “dined with Julian Assange last night.”…
In another apparent reversal, Stone said Monday that he has never communicated with Assange.
“This is politics. I’ve said a lot of things,” he said. “At the end of the day, however, it’s what you actually did that’s important.”
The special counsel’s office declined to comment…
I'll go way out on a limb and guess that Mueller knows whether or not Roger Stone had dinner with Assange in 2016. https://t.co/cn0zlhEPTP
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) April 2, 2018
The Washington Post is skeptical:
… Stone has a carefully cultivated reputation as a “political trickster,” which is a polite way of saying “mudslinger and exaggerator,” which is a polite way of saying “guy who will say untrue things if it advances his agenda.” One of his agendas is his own reputation, and during 2016, he clearly believed that it paid to imply a close relationship with Assange. That was manifested in his public assertions about knowing what WikiLeaks was up to but also apparently in his private conversations with Nunberg and that unidentified aide in the spring of that election year….
The Journal report highlights two key questions, for which we can take a stab at answers.
Did Stone dine with Assange? It’s hard to see how he could have traveled to London and met with Assange at the Ecuadoran Embassy without it becoming public before now — or that Assange would slip out of the embassy, risking arrest, to have dinner with him.
Did Stone have a direct relationship with Assange at all? Even if we think of “having dinner” as a broad way of describing a conversation, this seems unlikely. Stone claimed a relationship with Assange in situations where it might presumably have helped improve his personal standing — talking to Nunberg, talking to a Republican group, talking on Twitter. But in private conversation that neither party had any reason to believe would become public, neither WikiLeaks nor Stone indicated knowing each other. WikiLeaks even dismissed knowing him in a private chat room to which only WikiLeaks participants were privy — only days after the alleged “dinner.”…
Or, if you really want to dive into the rabbit hole, consider Farage, who may have given Assange some data at some unidentified point in time. Farage did meet Trump during the campaign — even sharing the stage at a rally with him in the same month as Stone’s alleged dinner. Who put Farage in contact with Trump?
Stone gave Mother Jones an answer to that question in June: Why, it was him, Roger Stone!
Farage denies this, too.
"Stone’s defense is that the email was bullshit." https://t.co/3kz8q7U3SW
— (((Steve Chapman))) (@SteveChapman13) April 3, 2018
… “I never dined with Assange,” he told the Journal. There was no such meeting. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. This was said in jest.” This is the second time in recent weeks that a Trump-connected person has offered this trust me, I was lying defense, following Cambridge Analytica’s Alexander Nix. Both men have been such prolific merchants of balderdash that it’s hard to dismiss this excuse. Stone’s penchant for falsehood is such that he could very well have invented a meeting with Assange to aggrandize himself.
On the other hand, Stone later exchanged Twitter messages with WikiLeaks, as my colleague Natasha Bertrand reported in February. He has also admitted to being in touch with Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who provided the emails to WikiLeaks, though he insists he did nothing untoward. He also defended Guccifer 2.0 as not being a Russian….
…[I]t’s the emails that remain the most obvious place to find collusion: There’s clearly a crime; there’s a connection between the Trump camp, Guccifer 2.0, and WikiLeaks in Stone; and there is the president’s own strange refusal to acknowledge Russian culpability for the hacks. Robert Mueller’s comparative public reticence about the email hacks doesn’t seem like an indication that he lacks interest or information about it—in fact, it may indicate precisely the opposite.
And a grace note, from out in the balconies. Stone’s hometown paper, the Miami New Times:
Roger Stone, South Florida’s infamous political hit man, is not capable of keeping his mouth shut. He has spent decades on the attack, getting called in when, say, politicians want someone to stage a fake riot or smear the parents of a dead American soldier.
But Stone has now pissed off someone with deep pockets and a similar zest for combat: Guo Wengui, the mysterious, recently exiled Chinese billionaire known in America as “Miles Kwok,” is suing Stone for defamation in Miami federal court after Stone criticized him on InfoWars earlier this year. Guo claims Stone slandered him when Stone accused Guo of funneling money to both Hillary Clinton and Steve Bannon; the billionaire now wants $100 million from the political consultant-turned-media figure.
“Stone has publicly stated that Plaintiff Guo has been ‘found guilty’ and ‘convicted’ of financial crimes in the United States — this is not true,” reads the suit, filed March 15. “Stone has publicly accused Plaintiff Guo of violating U.S. election law by making political donations to Hillary Clinton and financing a presidential run by Steven Bannon — this is not true. Mr. Stone should be held to account for these and other falsehoods about Mr. Guo.”…
“This is essentially a political lawsuit and is a Kwok of Schiff,” [Stone] messaged New Times. “None of my reporting rises to the level of defamation. Mr. Kwok tweeted himself about his support for Steve Bannon’s projects, and now he’s suing me for reporting on it?… While I doubt this meritless suit will ever get to trial, my attorneys are very anxious to question Mr. Kwok about his relationship with both Chinese and American intelligence agencies.”…