Long-time Trump confidant and adviser Roger Stone communicated directly with the cyber-activist website WikiLeaks according to obtained direct messages from the social media platform Twitter. Both Stone and WikiLeaks had denied communicating directly with each other in the past.
As early as August of 2016, Stone had alluded to communications he had with the online transparency group. On August 8, 2016, Stone, speaking with the Southwest Broward Republican Organization, in Florida, was asked what he believed a possible October surprise involving Julian Assange would like look like.
WikiLeaks had already published a trove of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee on the eve of the Democratic convention the previous month, and Assange intimated during an interview days before the August 8 meeting that there would be “a lot more material” concerning the U.S. election coming.
Stone, in responding to the question said, “Well, it could be any number of things. I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”
On October 21, 2016 Stone also wrote on Twitter that “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” referring to Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta. Podesta’s email account had been hacked by that time and thousands of his emails would soon be released, a little every day, starting in early October and running all the way through Election Day.
Stone would later say that his tweet was about Podesta’s business dealings. He would also later backtrack on the claim that he communicated with Assange directly, saying instead that he had spoken with him through an intermediary.
Today’s revelations seem to contradict that statement. The messages show direct communication between Stone and WikiLeaks in the weeks prior to the election, and they show Stone claiming to be a “friend” to WikiLeaks as well as chastising them for criticizing him too harshly.
“Since I was all over national TV, cable and print defending wikileaks and assange against the claim that you are Russian agents and debunking the false charges of sexual assault as trumped up bs you may want to rexamine [sic] the strategy of attacking me- cordially R.”
-R. Stone 10/13/16, 2:05 PM
“We appreciate that. However, the false claims of association are being used by the democrats to undermine the impact of our publications. Don’t go there if you don’t want us to correct you.”
-WikiLeaks 10/13/16, 3:04 PM
“Ha!” Stone responded on October 15. “The more you ‘correct’ me the more people think you’re lying. Your operation leaks like a sieve. You need to figure out who your friends are.”
-R. Stone 10/15/16, 11:31 PM
“Happy? We are now more free to communicate.”
-WikiLeaks 11/09/16, 8:14 PM
The information released today does not reveal whether any communication occurred between Stone and WikiLeaks prior to October 13, or after November 9. They also do not confirm whether the messages were between Stone and Assange directly. According to Assange, WikiLeaks’ Twitter account is run “by a rotating staff.”
Stone carefully qualified his denials further in the wake of today’s revelations, saying that he’d only denied having communicated directly with Assange, not with the WikiLeaks organization. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have asked the Republican majority on the Committee to subpoena Twitter for direct messages of associates of President Trump’s. So far, they have declined to do so.
It was also revealed that WikiLeaks communicated directly with the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., during the 2016 election, last year. In October 2016 the organization sent him a link to a website that reportedly had news stories that would help the campaign and strongly suggested to him that he have his father tweet out the link.
“You guys can get your followers digging through the content. There’s many great stories there the press are missing and we’re sure some of your followers will find,” their message read.
Two days later Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out the link. “For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here:” his message read.