FBI documents show extensive communications between Roger Stone and WikilLeaks Julian Assange

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Trump's political ally was sentenced 40 months in federal prison

World | The Independent

Newly released FBI documents have revealed communications between Donald Trump ally Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In one Twitter message between Mr Stone and Mr Assange, the president’s ally vowed to "bring down the entire house of cards” if prosecutors came after him, according to FBI documents.

Mr Assange runs the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and is known for publishing Democrat emails to and from Hillary Clinton at the time she was Secretary of State while she was running in the 2016 presidential election.

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The FBI affidavits, which were submitted with information so the group could obtain search warrants against Mr Stone, were released to the public on Tuesday after a court case put forth by the Associated Press and other publications.

They were made public as Mr Stone, convicted last year in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, awaits a date to surrender to a federal prison system that has grappled with outbreaks of the coronavirus.

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Previously, Mr Stone confessed he had communicated with the WikiLeaks founder on multiple instances.

“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,” he said during a 2016 speech.

But the FBI documents prove just how extensive communications were as the president’s ally worked to find evidence against the Clinton campaign.

On 4 October, 2016, Mr Stone tweeted: “Payload coming. #Lockthemup.” Three days later, WikiLeaks “began to release emails that had been hacked from (Hillary Clinton campaign manager) John Podesta’s personal email account,” the FBI said.

Other messages between the pair also included WikiLeaks directly messaging Mr Stone “Happy?” one day after the presidential election. This was followed by a second message that read: “We are now more free to communicate.”

In a June 2017 Twitter direct message cited in the records, Mr Stone reassured Mr Assange that the issue was “still nonsense” and said “as a journalist it doesn’t matter where you get information only that it is accurate and authentic.”

He cited as an example the 1971 Supreme Court ruling that facilitated the publishing by newspapers of the Pentagon Papers, classified government documents about the Vietnam War.

“If the US government moves on you I will bring down the entire house of cards,” Mr Stone wrote, according to a transcript of the message cited in the search warrant affidavit. “With the trumped-up sexual assault charges dropped I don’t know of any crime you need to be pardoned for - best regards. R.”

Mr Stone was likely referring to a sexual assault investigation dropped by Swedish authorities. Mr Assange, who at the time was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, was charged last year with a series of crimes by the US Justice Department, including Espionage Act violations for allegedly directing former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in US history.

Currently, Mr Assange is imprisoned in London and is fighting his extradition back to the US while reportedly in ill health.

In a statement Tuesday, Stone acknowledged that the search warrant affidavits contain private communication, but insisted that they “prove no crimes.”

“I have no trepidation about their release as they confirm there was no illegal activity and certainly no Russian collusion by me during the 2016 Election,” he said. “There is, to this day, no evidence that I had or knew about the source or content of the Wikileaks disclosures prior to their public release.”

Mr Stone was among one of six associates of Mr Trump who was charged during Robert Mueller’s investigation. In February, the political ally was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

  • FBI documents show extensive communications between Roger Stone and WikilLeaks Julian Assange photo


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