Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone said several times in July 2016 that Russia was most likely the source for hacked emails released during the Democratic National Convention and that it was not far-fetched to say the purpose was to help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a CNN KFile review of Stone’s interviews and appearances.
The comments, made by Stone from late July through August 1, 2016, show Stone stated at the time that Russia was the source of the emails – a sharp contrast to his more recent posture that Russia was not the source for hacked documents released by WikiLeaks throughout the campaign.
By August 4, 2016, the same day Stone claimed in an email to have dined with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the night prior, Stone abruptly changed his tune. In a conference call along with an interview with radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Stone said that Russia had nothing to do with the hacked emails and they were the sole work of hacker Guccifer 2.0.
Asked Monday for comment, Stone told CNN, “I’m publishing my own time line that will only make you look foolish.”
The 2016 comments raise more questions and add to an already murky picture about what Stone knew about WikiLeaks and why he subsequently – and seemingly suddenly – began to rule out the Russians as the source of the emails.
“The reason that the Russians are probably leaking this information is because they don’t want a nuclear war either. (Hillary Clinton) is bent on a war that benefits her donors and the multinational corporations and the defense contractors,” Stone told Jones on a July 27, 2016, edition of Jones’ program.
Several days later, on July 31, 2016, Stone said again the Russians were the most likely source for the material.
“The fact that the Russians will – or whoever – are going to continue to drop bombs on the American people in the form of their own documents. Alex, these are like the Watergate tapes. The Clintons have cut their own throat because they assume that no one would ever see all of their secret illegal maneuverings,” Stone told Jones. “This is why they used the unsecured server to hide the very things that I suspect someone – most likely the Russians – is going to drop on the American people like truthbombs throughout this election. She can raise a billion dollars and it may not matter. Trump may beat her like a drum as he pounces on and helps further public knowledge of every one of the bombshells that is coming.”
On August 1, 2016, speaking on a local radio show in New York, Stone said in an exchange with host Frank Morano that it was not far-fetched to think the Russians were trying to help Trump with the email releases.
“I am listening to the Democrats instead of addressing what the DNC did to Bernie Sanders. They’re saying, ‘Oh, well, this is just Vladimir Putin and the Russians trying to throw the election towards Donald Trump.’ That seems a pretty far-fetched theory from what I can see, Roger,” Morano said to Stone.
“Well, well, but, but, Frank, maybe not,” Stone responded. “Maybe the Russians are acting in their own best interests in this sense. It is the policies of Clinton and Obama that have brought us right now to the brink of nuclear war in the coldest relationship we’ve had with the Russians in decades. Trump would like to, I think, enter a period of détente in which we use hardheaded negotiations to get a peace agreement with the Soviets so that we could work together to pursue and destroy ISIS, which frankly they’re doing a better job of at this point than we are.”
Three days later, Stone unequivocally said the Russians had nothing to do with the releases of the hacked emails. The comments came on the same day he sent an email claiming to have had dinner with Assange. Stone now says he never had dinner with Assange and his reference was a recurring joke.
“We know there are gonna be many, many turns in the road, including the material that I assume Julian Assange or WikiLeaks, his organization, drops on the American people,” Stone said on August 4, 2016, in an “Ask Roger” session, a biweekly conference call for paid subscribers he hosted during the presidential campaign.
“The last time this happened Clinton tried to neutralize it by saying, ‘Oh, this is being done by the Russians.’ We now know that the Russians had nothing to do with these emails, none whatsoever,” Stone added, according to a recording of the call CNN obtained from the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters.
That same day, Stone appeared on InfoWars radio with Jones where he said “devastating” WikiLeaks information would be coming on Clinton and again said the source was not the Russians.
“We know, for example, that the DNC WikiLeaks absolutely positively did not come from the Russians,” Stone said. “We know that because Cruccifer 2 (sic) took credit for them a good two weeks ago and initially released them. They then got no attention and he went to WikiLeaks, they re-released them and of course they screwed up the entire first two days of the Democratic National Convention when it became clear that Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders for Hillary.”
By August 5, 2016, Stone wrote a column for Breitbart saying the hackings were the work of Guccifer 2 and not the Russians. On August 8, 2016, in a speech to the Southwest Broward Republican Organization in Florida, Stone would first claim publicly that he had “communicated” with Assange.