Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone has admitted that he exchanged “completely innocuous” private messages with the hacker or hackers who claimed they had infiltrated the DNC during last year’s presidential election. Stone told the Washington Times that he exchanged private Twitter messages with the person or people who used the pseudonym “Guccifer 2.0” in August. Guccifer 2.0, self identifying as a Romanian hacktivist, took credit for compromising the DNC and supplying what was obtained in the hack to WikiLeaks. U.S. intelligence officials, meanwhile, say that the Guccifer persona was in fact a front for hackers directed by the Russian government with the intent of intervening in the election on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump. The investigation into that meddling, as well as any possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, is ongoing.
Stone downplayed the messages to the Times, explaining that the conversation was “so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it.” He also supplied what he said were screenshots of three private Twitter messages. The exchange apparently followed Stone’s writing of a Breitbart post, which claimed the DNC hack was perpetrated by Guccifer 2.0 instead of the Russian government. Transcribes the Times:
In one of the messages dated Aug. 14, Mr. Stone said he was “delighted” that Twitter had reinstated Guccifer 2.0’s account following a brief suspension. Two days later, Mr. Stone again privately messaged the Twitter account and asked for it to retweet a column he had written about the prospects of the 2016 presidential election being “rigged.”
“wow. thank u for writing back, and thank u for an article about me!!!” Guccifer 2.0 wrote Mr. Stone in the interim, referring to the Breitbart piece. “do u find anything interesting in the docs i posted?”
“i’m pleased to say that u r great man,” Guccifer 2.0 wrote in an Aug. 17 message to Mr. Stone. “please tell me if i can help u anyhow. it would be a great pleasure to me.”
“I myself had no contacts or communications with the Russian State, Russian Intelligence or anyone fronting for them or acting as intermediaries for them,” Stone further insisted to the Times, asking how he could have been directing the hacks if the messages happened after the fact. Stone, however, has recently bragged about having had a “back channel” to WikiLeaks during the campaign after having also touted his communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at an event in August. (WikiLeaks then denied there had ever been any contact between them and Stone.) WikiLeaks, of course, went on to slowly leak Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails — which were allegedly obtained by “Guccifer 2.0” — starting in October. Back in August, less than two weeks after mentioning his communication with WikiLeaks, Stone tweeted, “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel.”