The Aug. 4, 2016, conference call marks one of Mr. Stone’s earliest known predictions that WikiLeaks would release more hacked emails before election day, beyond the ones published in July 2016. Hours before the call, Mr. Stone emailed an associate, saying, “I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last nite,” the Journal previously reported.
Four days later, in an appearance before the Southwest Broward Republican Organization, Mr. Stone made another prediction: “I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be,” he said.
On Aug. 21, 2016, Mr. Stone appeared to foreshadow trouble for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, whose emails would be dumped online by WikiLeaks in mid-October. “Trust me,” Mr. Stone tweeted, “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel. [sic] #CrookedHillary.”
In an email, Mr. Stone told the Journal that his email about dining with Mr. Assange was a joke, and that his tweet about “Podesta’s time in the barrel” was in reference to the lobbying activities of Mr. Podesta and his brother Tony. Mr. Stone also said he “had no advance knowledge about the acquisition and publication of John Podesta’s e-mail.”
The same unit, according to public reports, has been involved in attacks on
- French president Emmanuel Macron,
- the German Parliament,
and other government targets across Europe.
.. Each of Mueller’s indictments, as they have come down, have demonstrated the incredible wealth of knowledge amassed by US intelligence and his team of investigators, and Friday was no exception. The indictment includes the specific allegations that between 4:19 and 4:56 pm on June 15, 2016, the defendants used their Moscow-based server to search for the same English words and phrases that Guccifer 2.0 used in “his” first blog post, where “he” claimed to be a lone Romanian hacker and claimed to be solely responsible for the attacks on Democratic targets.
.. It doesn’t rule out that future indictments might focus on the criminal behavior of Americans corresponding with the GRU or the IRA—nor would Americans necessarily have to know they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers to be guilty of various crimes.
.. the charging documents include intriguing breadcrumbs. The indictment references at one point that Guccifer 2.0 communicated with an unnamed US congressional candidate and, especially intriguingly, that the GRU for the first time began an attack on Hillary Clinton’s personal emails just hours after Trump publicly asked Russia for help in finding them.
.. one of the early tips to the US government that launched the FBI investigation eventually known by the codename CROSSFIRE HURRICANE: Trump aide George Papadopoulos telling an Australian diplomat in May 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, weeks before the GRU attacks became public. The charges against the GRU make clear that its effort began at least by March 2016. Papadopoulos, arrested last summer and already cooperating with Mueller’s team, might very have provided more information about where his information came from—and who, in addition to the Australians, he told.
Thus far, Mueller’s probe has focused on five distinct areas of interest:
1. An investigation into money laundering and past business dealings with Russia by people like former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort
2. The active information influence operations by Russian trolls and bots on social media, involving the Russian Internet Research Agency
3. The active cyber penetrations and operations against the DNC, DCCC, and Clinton campaign leader John Podesta
4. Contacts with Russian officials by Trump campaign officials during the course of the 2016 election and the transition, like George Papadopoulos and former national security advisor Michael Flynn
5. Obstruction of justice, whether the President or those around him sought to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference
.. What Mueller hasn’t done—yet—is show how these individual pieces come together. What level of coordination was there between the Internet Research Agency and the GRU or FSB? What ties, if any, exist between the business dealings of Manafort, Gates, and the Russian efforts to influence the election?
How coordinated were unexplained oddities, like the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians, and the Russian government efforts by the IRA, GRU, and FSB?
.. He knows far, far more than the public does. There was little sign in Friday’s indictment that any of it came from the cooperation and plea agreements he’s made with figures like Flynn, Gates, and Papadopoulos—meaning that their information, presumably critical enough to Mueller that he was willing to trade it for lighter sentencing, still hasn’t seen the light of day.
Katy Tur: Donald Trump is not complicated: it’s a very simple formula — how does this affect Donald Trump
Joshua Green: Trump is an incredible intuitive politician (8:29) Sam Nunberg gave him the idea for the wall and he tried it out in Iowa and then he riffed on it: Mexico will pay for it, No one builds like Trump. He tries to figure out what will make the crowd roar.
19:30 He would bury one controversy with another controversy. He would steal coverage from Obama by calling for a Muslim Ban. During the Democratic convention, he asked Russia for help with the emails.
If there is any down time, he needs attention.
Trump wouldn’t have been president without Stephen Bannon, because Bannon brought the focus on immigration and egged him on. After the bad publicity for the Elevator Speech, Bannon had him pay a visit to the border. Bannon had spent years studying how to tear down Hillary.
Bannon, as a finance and Hollywood guy, had a lot of experience manipulating rich men.
28:04” : You can’t calculate how much WikiLeaks helped Trump: October 7, the day that the Access Hollywood tape came out, a few hours later the John Podesta emails were leaked. And the leaks came out every day until the election.
Donald and Stephen Bannon really like propaganda.
Donald Trump was a pioneer of Fake News. He would call Tabloids (Rupert Murdoch’s papers) and make up affairs with Kim Bassinger, Madonna, Carla Bruni.
Donald Trump was too much of a good story and he did/didn’t know who he was.
David Clay Johnson: the New York Times never scrutinized his drug/mafia connections. (40 minutes)
The media isn’t capable of dealing with the Presidency
You can’t say I’m not going to write about today’s story because I haven’t finished reporting on yesterday’s outrage (44 min)
The second, former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg, said in an interview Monday that Stone told him that he had met with Assange — a conversation Nunberg said investigators for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III recently asked him to describe... “I wish him no ill will, but Sam can manically and persistently call you,” Stone said, recalling that Nunberg had called him on a Friday to ask about his plans for the weekend. “I said, ‘I think I will go to London for the weekend and meet with Julian Assange.’ It was a joke, a throwaway line to get him off the phone. The idea that I would meet with Assange undetected is ridiculous on its face.’ ’’.. “The allegation that I met with Assange, or asked for a meeting or communicated with Assange, is provably false,” he said, adding that he did not leave the country in 2016... Nunberg told The Post that the questions he was asked by Mueller’s investigators indicated to him that the special counsel is examining statements Stone has made publicly about WikiLeaks.“Of course they have to investigate this,” he said. “Roger made statements that could be problematic.”
.. He said he did not recall the exact date when Stone told him that he had met with Assange, adding that he did not take the comment as a joke at the time. He said he was glad to hear Stone told The Post that the remark was made in jest.
“No one connected to the president should be connected with Julian Assange,” he added.
.. WikiLeaks has come under intense scrutiny from U.S. officials for its distribution of hacked materials. Last year, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said it was “time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a nonstate, hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors, like Russia.”
.. In response, Assange said that Pompeo had chosen “to declare war on free speech.”
During the 2016 race, the organization released hacked Democratic emails at two key junctures:
- A cache of DNC emails landed on the eve of the party’s national nomination convention and
- a collection of Podesta emails appeared on the same day in October that The Post revealed a tape of Trump speaking about women in lewd terms.
.. On Aug. 8, 2016, in an appearance at the Southwest Broward Republican Organization in Florida, Stone answered a question about what he suspected would be the campaign’s October surprise by saying: “I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”
.. He later said he had not meant that he had communicated with Assange directly.
On Aug. 21, Stone tweeted that something grim was looming for Podesta.
“Trust me, it will soon [be] the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary,” he tweeted.
On Oct. 3, he tweeted: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp.”
“Payload coming. #Lockthemup,” Stone tweeted on Oct. 5.
Two days later, WikiLeaks published a cache of Podesta’s hacked emails describing internal conflicts within the Clinton Foundation and excerpts of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street executives.