Mueller examining conflicting accounts of Stone’s ties to WikiLeaks: report

Mueller examining conflicting accounts of Stone’s ties to WikiLeaks: report
© Greg Nash

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's team has been digging into whether Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneRoger Stone challenges Dems to produce WikiLeaks evidence Google chief defends company during Capitol Hill grilling Alex Jones heckles Google CEO heading into House hearing MORE knew in advance that WikiLeaks planned to release hacked Democratic emails in 2016, according to a report from The Washington Post.

Stone made public and private comments in 2016 during the presidential race between President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone challenges Dems to produce WikiLeaks evidence Steve King asks Google CEO for names of employees to see if they're liberals O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll MORE that indicated he knew how to get in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Both Stone and WikiLeaks have adamantly denied any contact, however, and Stone, an informal adviser to Trump over the years, has said his comments were exaggerated. 

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Stone previously told the Post that his only connection to WikiLeaks was through liberal comedian and Stone's former friend Randy Credico.

Credico told a grand jury in September that Stone confided to him that he had a back channel to WikiLeaks during the campaign, a personal familiar with the matter told the Post.

The special counsel's team is also investigating Stone's relationship with InfoWars Washington Bureau chief Jerome Corsi, who testified to a grand jury in September, according to the Post. 

Mueller is additionally looking into Stone's communications with Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks, people familiar with the probe told the Post.

Mueller's team is investigating whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the election. The hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the release by WikiLeaks of emails from the Clinton campaign have long been a point of interest.

In a statement forwarded to The Hill after the Post published its story, Stone slammed its reporting. 

"Today's Washington Post contains one of the shoddiest pieces of reporting that I have seen in my 40 years in American Politics," he wrote, adding that the story is "rife with inaccuracies and material omissions."

He proceeded to mark up the story, putting in comments beside paragraphs he considered misleading.

Stone said he had not had any direct talks with Assange or WikiLeaks and that the communications he has spoken of in the past were through a third party.

There have been other reports of contact between Stone and Assange.

"I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last nite," Stone wrote in an email dated Aug. 4, 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reviewed the communication.

Stone told the Journal that he had never dined with Assange and that the remark was made in jest.

Two Stone associates also told the Post that Stone talked about having a point of contact with Assange, according the Post.

Stone also reportedly boasted in a widely reported speech to a Republican group in early August 2016, prior to the release of the hacked emails, "I actually have communicated with Assange." 

He additionally tweeted two days before the emails' release, "Libs thinking Assange will stand down are wishful thinking. Payload coming #Lockthemup."

Three days before that, he tweeted, "Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. #WikiLeaks."