Many are waiting for the midterm elections to come and go so the next major development in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation will come to light. Lately, former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone‘s name, as well as associates connected to him, have more and more found their way into news stories.
Whether it’s Stone recordings or Stone texts, new information seems to leak out on a frequent basis. Stone continues to maintain that Mueller will try to “frame” or “get him” on some charge, and a Mother Jones report from earlier Thursday shed some light on what that charge might be.
It was reported Thursday that Stone, whose connection to WikiLeaks dump of hacked DNC emails back 2016 has been a focus of the special counsel, “was actively seeking” a pardon for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Mother Jones said that Stone sent a text in early January “to an associate” that there was a “very real” possibility that he could secure a “blanket pardon” for Assange.
Former prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig, identified in the story as senior counsel to special prosecutor Kenneth Starr in the Whitewater investigation, said, “An effort by Stone to try to help Assange secure a pardon could be considered evidence of a conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
“If Stone worked with WikiLeaks on the release DNC emails, an effort by Stone to try to help Assange secure a pardon could be considered evidence of a conspiracy to obstruct justice,” he added.
National security lawyer Bradley P. Moss told Law&Crime that such a charge is “plausible,” but there is still some dot connecting left to do.
“Any possible prosecution there would hinge on the ability to demonstrate corrupt intent. Mueller’s team would have to demonstrate that Stone’s efforts were designed to ensure Assange stayed quiet about what he knew regarding the release of the e-mails, and particularly to what extent it implicated Stone or other Trump associates,” Moss said. “That would assume, of course, that there was something to actually implicate that involved a criminal offense.”
“So is the charge plausible? Yes. Do we have enough info in the public reporting to connect the dots? Not yet,” he added.
Stone reportedly said over text that he was “working with others to get JA a blanket pardon.”
“It’s very real and very possible. Don’t fuck it up,” Stone apparently said in a text to Randy Credico, the radio host who Stone said was his backchannel to WikiLeaks. That is, he’s the guy Stone reportedly asked to contact Assange. Prosecutors want to know about the Stone-Credico-Assange connection to the 2016 hack of the DNC and dirt on then-candidate Hillary Clinton. They also want to know what, if anything, whether Stone associates had any “foreknowledge” of the hack and subsequent WikiLeaks email dump.
Former Stone aides Andrew Miller and Kristin Davis have been in the sights of the Mueller Probe; the same is true of conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi and, yes, Stone acquaintance Credico. Credico’s has seemingly been a central figure when it comes to unraveling Stone’s contact with WikiLeaks ahead of the 2016 hack.
Credico initially declined to be interviewed by Mueller voluntarily when approached months back, but things changed after he was subpoenaed. Credico wondered “How did I ever the hell get involved in this mess?” and “What’s a nice guy like me doing in a place like this?”
Mueller may also have evidence that GOP operative Peter W. Smith, who took his own life, had “foreknowledge” of hacks.
Stone has said that he has “testified truthfully before the House Intelligence Committee that Randy Credico was the source who confirmed Assange’s June 2016 CNN interview in which the Wikileaks publisher said he had substantial information on Hillary Clinton.”
“As I testified Credico told me this material would be released in October. I now realize that Credico’s source was a Wikileaks lawyer and not Assange himself. At no time did Credico tell me what the source, content or scope of the WikiLeaks disclosures would be,” he said.
It’s also worth mentioning that Paul Manafort has reportedly been used by the special counsel as a source on Stone.
“I am highly confident Mr. Manafort is aware of no wrong doing on my part during the 2016 campaign, or at any other time, and therefore there is no wrongdoing to know about,” Stone said in response to that news. “Narratives to the contrary by some in the media are false and defamatory.”
[image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]