My God. These people are all so incredibly stupid.
Seriously folks, it’s getting harder and harder to write about this stuff without either screaming into a Word document or maniacally laughing into it. Roger Stone is a longtime Trump adviser, and one of the most notorious dirty tricksters in Republican lore, as he gained his famed reputation working in Richard Nixon’s shadows. He admitted to communicating discreetly with Guccifer 2.0 on Twitter during the election, and Robert Mueller has determined that Guccifer 2.0 was Russian military intelligence.
It was an open secret that Guccifer 2.0 was under the purview of the Kremlin, but we can now confirm it thanks to the former FBI Director. Another outlet with this characteristic, sans the outright confirmation, is Wikileaks. The story of Wikileaks is pretty simple, as I wrote in my deep dive as to whether Edward Snowden may have been under the sway of Kremlin intelligence (spoiler: Snowden bragged about his security clearance on early internet message boards, so he definitely made himself a target, and it makes absolutely no sense why he would flee to Hong Kong given that they have an extradition treaty with the United States—and a far more restrictive surveillance state—and somehow this all ended with Wikileaks ushering him back to Russia where he was met in the Moscow airport by the same FSB lawyer who represented the deposed President of Ukraine/Putin puppet):
Wikileaks is a mysterious organization, seemingly constructed around the ego of Julian Assange, who according to former employee James Ball, would do things like “privately promise several thousand Australian dollars to fund Juice News, the makers of humorous pro-WikiLeaks YouTube videos” in 2010 when Wikileaks was struggling to get many donations itself.
Towards the end of that year, Wikileaks threatened that they would release documents on powerful individuals in Russia, and according to their spokesperson, Kristinn Hrafnsson “Russian readers will learn a lot about their country.” An official from the FSB (the successor to the KGB) responded “It’s essential to remember that given the will and the relevant orders, [WikiLeaks] can be made inaccessible forever.”
The documents never came out. Two years later, Julian Assange had his own show on Russia Today, the Kremlin’s West-facing propaganda outlet. Wikileaks even sent a delegation to meet Bashar al-Assad, a President only two major countries support (Russia and Iran). While stuck in in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange stated in a press release that he requested Russian security.
Which brings us to Roger Stone’s issues with the shadowy organization (he denies he did what he was caught saying he did). The Atlantic obtained direct messages that Stone sent to Wikileaks. The Wall Street Journal reported that the special counsel is investigating Roger Stone’s ties to Wikileaks, thanks to an e-mail they obtained that Stone sent to Sam Nunberg on August 4th, 2016: “I dined with Julian Assange last night.”
Roger Stone told to WSJ, “I never dined with Assange. [The email] doesn’t have any significance because I provably didn’t go…there was no such meeting. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. This was said in jest.”
Well, if it was said in jest in the e-mail, Robert Mueller probably wants to know why Roger Stone also bragged about it on InfoWars that same day. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Gloria Borger rolled up their sleeves and dug through the muck to drag out an Alex Jones broadcast from August 4th, 2016. On it, Stone said he “actually communicated with Julian Assange” and that there would be “devastating” disclosures about the Clinton Foundation.
The entire Russia story can basically be boiled down to this right now: both high-level Trump lackeys and Kremlin cutouts-slash-emissaries expressed a serious desire to collaborate in order to dig up political dirt on the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. We have no absolute proof that these desires were met with action, but this ordeal is far from over. Throw in the fact that the special counsel has described the president of the United States as a “subject” of the investigation (here’s what that means, as explained by a defense lawyer) and combine it with Trump’s more unhinged behavior recently, and it seems inevitable that more shoes will fall on this drama—especially on Roger Stone’s side of this whole mess.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.