Roger Stone, President Trump’s former White House campaign adviser, “trolled” the media by bragging about being in touch with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange prior to his publication last year of leaked Democratic Party emails, Mr. Assange said in an interview televised Tuesday.
Mr. Stone lied about an alleged “back channel” existing between Mr. Assange and himself, the WikiLeaks chief said in the interview, snuffing claims that Mr. Trump’s former presidential campaign advisor possessed advanced, intimate knowledge of the antisecrecy website releasing emails last year belonging to John Podesta, the chairman of former White House hopeful Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 Democratic campaign.
“I would just say that the effectiveness of that trolling just shows you how mad the U.S. political culture has become” Mr. Assange said. “Is Roger Stone presented as a credible character in his statements? Is that a credible person? Do Democrats think that he’s credible?”
The WikiLeaks chief’s comments came in response to questioning from Ms. Goodman concerning Mr. Stone’s recent closed-door testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating last year’s presidential race, particularly with respect to any potential collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and any Russian operatives.
Russian hackers breached Mr. Podesta’s email account and other Democratic targets during last year’s race and then provided stolen correspondence to WikiLeaks and other outlets for publication as part of a broader, Kremlin-authorized effort to interfere in the election, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
Mr. Stone, a former aide to Richard Nixon and self-described “dirty trickster,” previously claimed to have “back channel” communications with Mr. Assange and notably predicted WikiLeaks would target the Clinton campaign in the days leading up to its publication of Mr. Podesta’s emails last October. He testified privately before senators investigating the race last month and said to reporters afterwards that he told lawmakers he didn’t collude with Mr. Assange or the Russian government.
Mr. Stone told The Washington Times that he’s “far more of a journalist” than Ms. Goodman and was indeed communicating with a source who confirmed WikiLeaks would target the Clinton campaign prior to the publication of Mr. Podesta’s emails.
“All I know is I got confirmation, and everything the source told me turned out to be true,” Mr. Stone told The Times early Thursday.
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