Remember the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election?
You know, the probe of possible collusion with a foreign adversary and obstruction of justice by the current president that has already resulted in more than 100 criminal charges against dozens of people, including guilty pleas from President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, former campaign manager, and multiple former advisers?
It’s easy to forget since special counsel Robert Mueller’s team remained even quieter than usual during the weeks before the midterm elections, per longstanding Justice Department policy (memo to former FBI director James Comey), but things are starting to heat up again on the Russia front now that the campaign season has passed.
NBC News reportedly obtained text messages in which Roger Stone, Trump’s former campaign adviser, was informed of WikiLeaks’ plans to release stolen information from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign days before the group starting doing so.
“Hillary’s campaign will die this week,” radio personality Randy Credico, who allegedly served as a conduit between Stone and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange during the 2016 campaign, told Stone via text on October 1 of that year.
As NBC News reports, “the text messages provided by Stone to NBC News show that Credico appeared to be providing regular updates to Stone on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s plans in the days before the hacked emails were released.”
Sure enough, WikiLeaks started releasing stolen emails from Clinton’s campaign during that week, on October 7, hours after the “Access Hollywood tape,” in which then-candidate Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, became public. On that day, President Barack Obama’s administration also blamed Russia for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for the first time.
The text messages do not mention former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, as The Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand noted, who Stone warned would soon be “in the barrel” on Twitter in August 2016.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) November 14, 2018
Stone was also told “Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary” by Credico in August of 2016, per NBC News’ latest report.
In addition to all of this, Mueller is also reportedly investigating Stone for possible witness intimidation of Credico.
Stone also claimed he had limited contact with Trump’s 2016 campaign, on which he served as an adviser, but emails released last month showed Stone was communicating with campaign chair Steve Bannon around the time that WikiLeaks started sharing the stolen information.
Stone has acknowledged communicating with the hacker Guccifer 2.0 during the 2016 campaign, but that account denied any connection to Russia. However, the U.S. intelligence community assessed “with high confidence” that Russian intelligence was behind both DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, which provided the stolen information about Clinton’s campaign and the DNC to Wikileaks.