Roger Stone seem’s to be filling in the blanks about the Russian connections and the Trump campaign…..
With a light hand, barely pressing his pencil on paper, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III began sketching his case for Trump campaign collusion with the Russians in a new Friday court filing related to Roger Stone’s prosecution for lying to Congress.
Until Friday, Mueller’s team had been coy about directly connecting any Trump campaign associate to a 12-member Russian GRU military intelligence team it indicted in July 2018 for hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign. It had secured guilty pleas from such scandal participants as former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump campaign executive Rick Gates, campaign back-bencher George Papadopoulos, and others, and convicted campaign director Paul Manafort on an array of financial fraud charges connected to his politicking and lobbying for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.
But the two seemingly parallel investigations never really intersected. Self-described dirty trickster Stone, who worked on the early Trump campaign and remained close to Trump and his aides after departing, wanted the court to say the investigations were separate. He requested a new judge, saying the charges against him had nothing to do with the Russian hackers case, also being prosecuted before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. But the judge tossed Stone’s request, accepting Mueller’s line of argument that Stone directly interacted with the Russians and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, the middleman for the hacked emails.
Now that the two investigations are one, what remains to be gleaned is how wide and deep the Trump campaign’s connections to the Russians and WikiLeaks were.
Previous Mueller filings had noted Stone’s attempts to contact WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange through intermediaries, hoping to learn what sort of politically potent documents he might have. But Stone had steadfastly denied any contact with Russia or WikiLeaks. That’s a lie, Mueller’s new filing says. Citing evidence obtained in “dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release,” it claims Stone communicated with WikiLeaks (referred to as “Organization 1” in the filing) and Guccifer 2.0 (a Russian intelligence alias used to spread the hacks).
Who else did Stone talk to about the WikiLeaks dump? Last month’s Stone indictment had him informing “senior Trump campaign officials” between June and July 2016 that WikiLeaks possessed hacked emails that could damage the Clinton candidacy. Then came WikiLeaks’ first release of Democratic emails on July 22, 2016, followed by the Trump campaign’s request for more.
This artfully constructed sentence in the Stone indictment has birthed a million speculations that Donald Trump was among the requesters: “A senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton campaign,” the indictment reads. Would anybody be in a position to direct a senior Trump campaign official but Trump himself? Lightly traced but still visible, Mueller has drawn a possible line from Trump to a campaign aide to Stone to WikiLeaks and the Russians. Inside the White House, Trump must be screaming for an eraser…..