Bannon, ex-Trump officials talked Roger Stone, WikiLeaks with Mueller: report

Stephen Bannon and two other former senior Trump campaign staffers have told members of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE’s team that Roger StoneRoger Jason Stone3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Judge rejects Stone's request to dismiss charges Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia over election interference MORE, an informal adviser to Trump, cast himself as a way for the campaign to obtain information from WikiLeaks, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Bannon reportedly spoke with members of Mueller's team on Friday, his third interview with the special counsel, according to multiple media reports.

Bannon and the other former Trump campaign officials were reportedly pressed on Stone's statements about WikiLeaks, and told investigators working for Mueller that Stone gave the impression that he had a direct line to the group, according to the Times.


Stone had claimed to have prior knowledge that the organization would release documents damaging to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump preps conspiracy theory to explain faltering economy The ideological divide on vaping has a clear winner: Smokers Biden struggles to hit it off with millennials MORE ahead of the 2016 presidential election, and one former Trump campaign official told Mueller's team that he appeared to take credit for the timing of the document's release, the newspaper reported.

WikiLeaks published emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in the weeks leading up to the election. Those emails were later revealed to have been obtained by Russian operatives, and Mueller earlier this year indicted 12 Russian military officers on charges related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Stone also appeared to want to share information about the hacked emails with Bannon before they were publicly shared, according to emails obtained and published by the Times on Thursday.

On Oct. 3, 2016, Breitbart News’s Washington editor Matthew Boyle emailed Stone about a press conference WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was set to hold the next day, during which Assange promised to release a new trove of documents.

Stone replied to Boyle that same day, saying that he would tell Bannon — then the head of Breitbart — about the contents of the documents but “he doesn’t call me back.”

Boyle then forwarded the correspondence to Bannon, telling him that he “should call Roger” and that he didn’t get the information “from me.”

“I’ve got important stuff to worry about,” Bannon replied.

“Well clearly he knows what Assange has,” Boyle wrote back. “I’d say that’s important.”

Assange held his conference the next morning, announcing that he planned to release “significant material” each week for the coming months, some of which was related to the U.S. presidential election.

The Times also obtained an email Bannon sent to Stone after Assange’s press conference, asking “What was that this morning???”

Stone replied the same day saying that Assange has a “serious security concern.”

“He thinks they are going to kill him and the London police are standing done,” Stone wrote.

“However —a load every week going forward,” he added.

“He didn’t cut deal w/ clintons???” Bannon asked.

Stone has denied having inside knowledge of WikiLeaks's actions, and has instead claimed that New York comedian and former radio host Randy Credico was his source. Credico has testified before Mueller's grand jury about Stone.

Credico has vigorously and repeatedly denied the allegation. He called it "complete nonsense" in a text to The Hill on Thursday.

When contacted by The Hill for comment, Stone pointed to a piece he wrote for The Daily Caller earlier Thursday, in response to a Washington Post report stating that Bannon had discussed his interactions with Stone during an interview with Mueller.

In the opinion piece, titled “The Treachery of Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonWeld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump The specter of Steve Bannon may loom over 2020 Trump campaign Sunday shows - Trump's Epstein conspiracy theory retweet grabs spotlight MORE,” Stone alleges that Bannon, or former Trump campaign staffer Sam Nunberg, had leaked the email exchanges to the media.

He reiterated that the information he shared in the emails, outside of those surrounding Assange’s security concerns, was publicly available at the time.

“If the Grand Jury was told that either of my comments to Bannon were based on anything other than information I had already attributed to my source under oath or information reported publicly that day, they were misled,” Stone wrote.

“What I am guilty of is using publicly available information and a solid tip to bluff, posture, hype and punk Democrats on Twitter. This is called ‘politics.’ It’s not illegal.”

Bannon's attorney William Burck declined to comment to The Hill.