Ex-Trump campaign official testifies Stone gave updates on WikiLeaks email dumps

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE's former deputy campaign manager told a jury on Tuesday that Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneAuthorities prepared to hand over Roger Stone records to media: report Bannon: 'We need the Republican establishment on board' to reelect Trump 2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics MORE was giving the campaign updates on WikiLeaks's plans to release damaging emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Vermont Governor: Sanders 'will play dirty' NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info New Hampshire state lawmaker switches support from Warren to Klobuchar MORE's campaign chairman.

Richard Gates, who is facing up to ten years in prison under a plea agreement for various fraud charges, testified in Stone's criminal trial on Tuesday, saying that the longtime Trump associate was telling the campaign about WikiLeaks's plans as early as April 2016, months before the DNC had announced it was hacked.

It had not been previously known that Stone was updating the campaign about WikiLeaks that early.

Stone is facing charges of lying to Congress about his role as an intermediary between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign. He has pleaded not guilty.

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According to Gates, Stone's main point of contact with the campaign was Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTreasury adviser pleads guilty to making unauthorized disclosures in case involving Manafort DOJ argues Democrats no longer need Mueller documents after impeachment vote Trump had brief encounter with Giuliani on Saturday MORE, the former campaign manager who has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison over a variety of fraud charges, though Gates said he spoke with Stone himself as well.
 
On June 13, 2016, Stone said in an email to Gates, "Need guidance on many things. call me," according to evidence presented by prosecutors. The day before, Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeWill alleged CIA misbehavior set Julian Assange free? UN official says US is torturing Chelsea Manning with detention Six ways we were blind to screaming red flags about government surveillance MORE, the leader and founder of WikiLeaks, had hinted in a media interview that he was planning to release Hillary Clinton emails.
 
On June 14, Stone talked with Trump on the phone and the next day sent another email to Gates saying, “I need contact info for Jared” Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and top adviser. Gates said Stone indicated he wanted to "debrief" Kushner about the DNC release.

Gates also testified that there were high-level campaign meetings to discuss WikiLeaks releases and that there was a "state of happiness" among aides over the damaging information about their rival.

"There were a number of us who felt that it would give our campaign a leg up,” Gates said of the DNC leak.

"Any time that you’re in a campaign and damaging information comes out on your competitor, it’s helpful," he added.

A little over a week after WikiLeaks released the trove of DNC emails on July 22, 2016, Stone had a phone conversation with Trump. Gates told the jury on Tuesday that the candidate "indicated that more information would be coming” after speaking with Stone.

That's similar to what Trump's former attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTreasury adviser pleads guilty to making unauthorized disclosures in case involving Manafort Michael Cohen calls for early release from prison The rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 MORE, who's currently serving a three-year prison sentence, told Congress in February. He indicated that Stone had led the campaign to believe he was speaking directly with Assange.

"Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign," Cohen told Congress. "Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of 'wouldn’t that be great.'”

Stone's attorneys have argued that he never intended to mislead Congress about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks and that he never in fact had any inside information about the organization as he had claimed publicly in the latter half of 2016.

The prosecution rested its case on Tuesday after four days of testimony. The defense also rested Tuesday afternoon after playing about an hour of audio from Stone's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.

--Updated at 4:48 p.m.