New evidence from right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi’s plea bargain negotiations with Robert Mueller’s team has put the Trump campaign’s possible connection to the WikiLeaks 2016 releases of emails damaging to Hillary Clinton front and center in the Russia investigation. Corsi, in announcing this week that he had refused a plea deal from the special counsel, released a draft of the plea document that outlined an email from Corsi to Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone alerting Stone that he had heard that WikiLeaks was set to release “very damaging” material on the Clinton campaign. The email relaying that information to Stone was dated Aug. 2, 2016. The following day, according to the Washington Post reported Wednesday, Stone spoke to Trump on the telephone.
“In an interview, Stone insisted that the topic of hacked emails was never broached in the Aug. 3 phone call—or in any other communication with Trump,” according to the Post. “It just didn’t come up,” Stone said. “I am able to say we never discussed WikiLeaks. I’m not sure what I would have said to him anyway because it’s all speculation . . . I just didn’t know if it’s true or not.” Stone’s call most certainly remains circumstantial evidence, but the circumstances seem to be closing in on Trump. The calls do not put Trump in the driver’s seat of the WikiLeaks releases by any stretch, but they certainly put him much closer to the action and potentially giving him knowledge of the looming release of more damaging emails.
For reference, here’s where that Aug. 3rd call fits into the timeline of the WikiLeaks releases.
July 22, 2016—On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks begins publishing 50,000 hacked DNC emails upending the race.
July 25th—Roger Stone emailed Jerome Corsi, according to the draft of the Corsi plea deal, after getting word that another WikiLeaks email dump was in the works. Stone had received a forwarded email from Fox News reporter James Rosen stating: “Am told WikiLeaks will be doing a massive dump of HRC emails relating to the [Clinton Foundation] in September.” Stone then emailed Corsi. “Get to [Assange] [a]t Ecuadoran Embassy in London and get the pending [WikiLeaks] emails . . . they deal with the Foundation, allegedly,” he wrote.
July 27th—Two days later, at a news conference, Trump mockingly asked Russia aloud to release a cache of Clinton emails. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing… I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next.” That same day, Russian hackers made their first attempt to access the Clinton private server, according to the Mueller indictment of Russian intelligence officers allegedly involved in the cyberattack.
Aug. 2nd—Corsi emails Stone following up on the potential WikiLeaks email dump. “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,” Corsi wrote, according to the draft filing. “Impact planned to be very damaging. . . . Time to let more than [Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop [Clinton]. That appears to be the game hackers are now about.”
Aug. 3rd—Stone says he spoke to then-candidate Trump on the phone.
Oct. 7th—WikiLeaks begins releasing hacked emails from campaign Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.
It’s far from ironclad, conclusive evidence, but all of a sudden it just got pretty smokey in here.