Roger Stone claimed on several occasions during the 2016 presidential race that he was in communication with Donald Trump and his campaign, including declaring that he on average spoke with Trump weekly.
The nature of that communication is now part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election. Stone is facing scrutiny for his claims to have had a backchannel to WikiLeaks during the campaign. Particularly, as CNN has previously reported, investigators are looking into whether Stone shared information that he believed was from WikiLeaks with members of Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a source familiar with the probe.
Stone repeatedly said during the election that he had communicated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange through a “backchannel,” “intermediary” or “mutual acquaintance.”
But Stone has issued conflicting and often inaccurate statements on his knowledge about the timing and content of WikiLeaks disclosures. He’s also offered conflicting information in public comments about his backchannel’s relationship to Assange, repeatedly commenting in 2016 that the person spoke with Assange.
In his November 2017 Facebook post outing New York progressive activist and radio host Randy Credico as his backchannel, Stone said that Credico never confirmed WikiLeaks information with Assange himself and instead had different contacts for WikiLeaks information.
Earlier this month, Stone revealed he discussed information about forthcoming WikiLeaks dumps with then-Trump campaign chief executive Steve Bannon. Stone has denied he shared that information with Trump, and Trump denied to The Associated Press last year he knew about the forthcoming WikiLeaks dumps of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails in advance.
CNN’s KFile reviewed Stone’s 2016 media appearances that happened after he began claiming contact with WikiLeaks. In those appearances, Stone does not say whether he discussed WikiLeaks with Trump or the campaign, but repeatedly claims contact with both, including direct conversations with Trump.
Here’s a timeline of Stone’s comments:
August 4, 2016: Stone says on Infowars radio he spoke to Trump one day earlier. Stone claims in the same interview that Assange has proof of Clinton Foundation scandals.
“I spoke to a Donald Trump, uh, yesterday. He’s in good spirits,” Stone said.
“The Clinton campaign narrative that the Russians favor Donald Trump and the Russians are leaking this information, this is inoculation because as you said earlier, they know what is coming and it is devastating,” Stone later adds. “Let’s remember that their defense to all the Clinton Foundation scandals has been not ‘we didn’t do,’ has been ‘you have no proof, yes but you have no proof.’ Well, I think Julian Assange has that proof and I think he is going to furnish it to the American people.”
August 4, 2016: Stone responding on a conference call to a question about Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, says he recommend to Trump that he should hire Manafort, a former business partner of Stone’s in the 1980s.
“I recommended him to Donald, because he called me on a Friday concerned about the fact that he had just been robbed of delegates in Louisiana.”
Stone added later in the call, “Julian Assange is going to continue to drop information on the American voters that is going to roil this race.”
August 17, 2016: Stone claims on Miami local radio he spoke in favor of adding Bannon and Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway to the campaign. Stone claims he spoke to Manafort that morning.
“I was in favor of these additions. I have spoken in favor of them internally over the last couple of days,” Stone said. “Manafort’s not going anywhere. I spoke to him this morning. He’s very pleased with this expansion. He was in favor of it. I was in favor of it
August 21, 2016: Stone says on Baltimore local radio he was in on the deliberations about Manafort leaving the campaign. Manafort left the campaign two days earlier on August 19.
“Manafort is a close friend. I was in on his deliberations and the situation,” Stone says.
August 22, 2016: Speaking again on Miami local radio, Stone claims to have repeatedly spoken to Manafort about Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign.
“Putting the campaign and Trump first, Manafort resigned,” Stone said. “It was not an easy decision. We talked about it several times. I think he’s done the right thing. Steve Bannon who comes into the campaign as the new CEO, is a bomb-thrower in the Roger Stone mold. He is a good friend of mine.”
September 16, 2016: Asked on Boston Herald Radio if he’d told Trump his view that he should release his tax returns, Stone said, “He is aware of my view.” Stone said he’s in touch with Assange “through an intermediary.”
September 18, 2016: Stone says on “Morano in the Morning” on local New York radio that he spoke to Manafort the day before, adding that Manafort told him that he was “keeping in touch with a lot of friends in the campaign.”
September 21, 2016: Stone claims on “The Joe Piscopo Show” on local New York radio that he spoke to Trump late the night before on the phone.
“Roger, you spoke with Donald Trump,” Piscopo said. “It was like 3:00 in the morning, you told me?”
“He is, uh, very nocturnal,” Stone said. “This guy gets very little sleep, he requires very little sleep. He is on the phone calling around the country to friends, talking to people. He’ll call you. You don’t call him at 3:00 in the morning. Three is a little bit of an exaggeration, but you know, 1:30, 1:00, 1:30, he’s still up. He’s still working.”
November 2, 2016: Stone claims he spoke to Trump once a week on average, according to The Guardian.
November 11, 2016: Stone tells Infowars radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that he spoke to President-elect Trump the night before.
“I spoke to President-elect Trump last night at some length on a broad variety of topics and I’m not really at liberty to discuss that,” Stone said. “But let me just say that he is, first of all, very grateful to the Infowars.com audience. He knows that you are the centerpiece of the resistance. He knows that he has gotten better treatment here than from anyone in the mainstream media. He is a very grateful and very thankful for your support and the support of your audience.”