Thanks to a joint petition from Politico, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, CNN, and the New York Times, over 30 FBI search warrants into Roger Stone’s communications were unsealed on Tuesday. Hundreds of pages of documents reveal an opus of a would-be mastermind foiled by perjury, media tours, Twitter DMs, an InfoWars alliance, an imaginary friend, a radio jockey, a few hundred fake Facebook accounts, and a Hotmail account, to name a few pitfalls. We also learned that Steve Bannon wouldn’t return his emails, and a little bit about a Craigslist persona (“Swash Buckler”) though they, unfortunately, provide few details on the latter.
It’s been reported that Stone exchanged friendly DMs with WikiLeaks and Guccifer2.0 directly leading up to and during the DNC email leaks. One warrant now indicates that in April 2017, Julian Assange wrote to Stone over Twitter to offer some encouragement on an “ace article” on InfoWars but cautioned him to be careful about framing the leaks so as not to imply that Assange is a “Russian asset.” Stone replied that “as a journalist it doesn’t matter where you get information only that it is accurate and authentic,” adding that “if the US government moves on you I will bring down the entire house of cards.” In June, Stone DMed Assange to say that “Fed treatment of you and WikiLeaks is an outrage.”
“Appreciated. Of course it is!” Assange replied.
Stone’s circle seemed to be under the impression that Assange was relying on Trump for a pardon, based on an email from his friend, then-InfoWars Washington bureau chief and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. On October 17th, 2016, Corsi forwarded Stone an “URGENT” email from a “very trusted source” claiming that Assange was in a “Mexican stand-off” with John Kerry, Ecuador, and the U.K., and would “drop the goods on them” if they were to extradite him. “Only hope is that if Trump speaks out to save him,” the email went on. “If HRC wins, Assange can kiss his life away.” The day after Podesta accused Stone of having known about the emails, on October 16th, Stone shot Corsi an email asking for “talking points,” writing: “Ok Give me SOMETHING to post on Podesta since I have now promised it to a dozen MSM reporters[.]”
In the weeks running up to the leaks, Stone appears to have attempted to reach Steve Bannon, to no avail. On October 3rd, Stone emailed an associate that the Assange stuff is good, and “I’d tell Bannon but he doesn’t call me back.” According to the warrants, the associate forwarded the message to Bannon, who replied, “I’ve got important stuff to worry about.”
The documents also reveal that Stone had run a mini-sock puppet outfit with hundreds of fake Facebook accounts, according to someone who identified themselves as Stone’s “right hand man.” They told law enforcement that Stone deputized bloggers to post WikiLeaks content across the pages, and Stone ran WikiLeaks-themed ads well into 2017. Sample abridged headlines from the receipts read: “Stone Rebuts Charge of Russian Collusion” and “ROGER STONE - NO consensus that Guccifer 2.0 is a...”
Stone registered at least one Twitter account to retweet #FreeAssange! content.
In late November 2017, weeks after Stone complained that he’d racked up nearly half a million dollars in legal fees from the Russia investigation, he publicly claimed that radio host Randy Credico was his “intermediary” with Assange. A Facebook scuffle ensued.
“I don’t know why you had to lie and say you had a back Channel now I had to give all of my forensic evidence to the FBI today what a headache,” Credico messaged Stone. “You could have just told him the truth that you didn’t have a back Channel they now know that I was not in London until September of this year[.] You had no back-channel and you could have just told the truth ... You want me to cover you for perjury now[.]”
“What the fuck is your problem?” Stone replied. “Neither of us has done anything wrong or illegal. You got the best press of your life and you can get away with asserting for 5th Amendment rights if u don’t want talk about AND if you turned over anything to the FBI you’re a fool.”
In a statement to Politico, Stone said that the private communications in the warrants “prove no crimes.” “I have no trepidation about their release as they confirm there was no illegal activity and certainly no Russian collusion by me during the 2016 election. There is, to this day, no evidence that I had or knew about the source or content of the WikiLeaks disclosures prior to their public release.”
In February of this year, Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison for lying to Congress and intimidating a witness. Earlier this month, Stone was denied his second attempt at getting a new trial. He has not yet been assigned a start date for his prison term, but he recently said that he’s “praying” for a presidential pardon.
The documents claim that investigators are still unaware of what’s in his WhatsApp, Signal, Wickr, and ProtonMail logs. More importantly, what was the Swash Buckler up to?
Correction 5/1/2020 9:17 AM ET: A previous version of this article stated that Roger Stone had exchanged direct messages with Julian Assange leading up to and during the DNC email leaks. The warrants state that Stone had exchanged DMs with the WikiLeaks Twitter account and was in contact with Assange through an intermediary beginning in July 2016. According to a warrant filed on November 6th, 2017, Assange personally “communicated directly with Stone [via a Twitter account] beginning no later than on or about April 7, 2017.”