Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Roger Stone's messages suggest he is unnamed person in new Russia indictment

Roger Stone's messages suggest he is unnamed person in new Russia indictment

When the Justice Department released an indictment naming 12 Russians connected to a massive 2016 USA presidential election hack attack, Friday, it noted that a senior member of the Trump campaign actively communicated with the hackers. The indictment documents reveal that the hackers were in regular communication with people in the United States, including "senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump".

Earlier Friday, Stone acknowledged to CNN that an exchange in the indictment matches messages he previously released, but initially maintained that he did not believe that he is the unnamed person in the indictment. "And it's benign. So I don't know that it refers to me".

"Schiff: Mr. Stone was in direct communication with a creature of Russian GRU, Guccifer 2.0", Stone told The Washington Post for a report in April 2017 while reciting testimony by U.S. Representative Adam Schiff of California.

Mueller's team claimed the Russians posed as Guccifer and "communicated with USA persons about the release of stolen documents", though Stone is not named in the 29-page indictment. Stone said the messages "don't provide any evidence of collaboration or collusion". But amid the special counsel's interest in his associates, Stone has raised the possibility that investigators are seeking "to conjure up some extraneous crime pertaining to my business, or maybe not even pertaining to the 2016 election", as he told NBC's "Meet the Press" in May.

"Roger certainly was in contact with [former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort] when Manafort was controlling, was the head of the campaign", Nunberg said.

Stone downplayed the significance of his contact with Guccifer 2.0, calling the exchange "benign based on its content, context and timing".

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"I've written a 5,000 word piece you can see it stone cold truth that argues against that", Stone told ABC News in an interview last month. "I was not in regular contact with campaign officials".

In announcing the indictment Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that although Americans corresponded with the indicted Russians, in this case, no Americans are accused of having knowingly conspired with Russian intelligence officers.

Two months earlier, speaking to a Republican group in Florida on August 8, 2016, Stone said, "I actually have communicated with Assange". Those documents were then publicized by two online channels, a site called DCLeaks and a persona known as Guccifer 2.0. "What do u think about the info on the turnout model for the democrats entire presidential campaign.' The unnamed American responded, 'pretty standard'".

Grant Smith, an attorney for Stone, said in a statement, "It is clear from the indictment issued today that our client, Roger Stone, was not in any way involved with any of the alleged hacking of the 2016 election".

Special counsel Robert Muller's office declined to comment Friday.

In his conversation with Cuomo, Stone continued to hedge on the question of whether Guccifer 2.0 was in fact a Russian front, emphasizing that the new indictment consists of allegations rather than proven facts. The US congressional candidate who asked for stolen documents and the person who communicated with the conspirators and with the Trump campaign were not charged in the indictment.

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