Roger Stone Revealed As 2016 WikiLeaks Insider In Emails, Blames Steve Bannon For Leaking Emails
On Thursday, multiple emails released from the 2016 election seem to reveal political consultant Roger Stone identifying himself as a WikiLeaks insider to Steve Bannon, who served as President Donald Trump‘s chief White House strategist.
The New York Times published the emails Thursday. The emails raise one primary question regarding special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia inquiry: Did Stone, a former Trump adviser, possess beforehand knowledge of international non-profit WikiLeaks’ plans to leak information that would hurt Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign in 2016?
Stone denies this, and the emails do not explicitly state that he knew of WikiLeaks’ plot in advance. However, the emails’ content suggests Stone wished for Bannon to see him corresponding with WikiLeaks.
Several U.S. intelligence agencies have already determined that Russian operatives and WikiLeaks played a role in influencing the result of the 2016 election. In April, the Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit against Trump’s campaign team, the Russian government and WikiLeaks, accusing all of them of conspiring to help Trump win the presidency.
Last month, Mueller’s team interrogated Bannon about his communications with Stone in 2016.
According to one anonymous source, Bannon and other senior Trump campaign officials did not believe Stone when he claimed he was aware of WikiLeaks’ plans ahead of the election. The group leaked the emails with damaging information on Clinton — which were stolen from her campaign chairman John Podesta‘s account — on Oct. 7, 2016, just hours after The Washington Post leaked audio of Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women on an Access Hollywood bus with Billy Bush.
Stone denied his ties to the non-profit organization led by Julian Assange.
“What I am guilty of is using publicly available information and a solid tip to bluff, posture, hype and punk Democrats on Twitter. This is called ‘politics.’ It’s not illegal,” Stone wrote in an op-ed published on Thursday by right-wing website The Daily Caller.
Stone had also raised questions and stirred controversy with an anti-Clinton tweet he posted on Oct. 3, 2016, that read: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon. #LockHerUp.”
Shortly afterward, Bannon reportedly emailed Stone to ask: “What was that this morning???”
Stone responded by writing: “Fear. Serious security concern. He thinks they are going to kill him and the London police are standing down. However —a load every week going forward.”
WikiLeaks published the first trove of emails hurting Clinton just four days later, and continued doing so until Election Day 2016.