Julian Assange: Wikileaks never provided election info to Trump campaign advisers
Wikileaks director Julian Assange said on Monday that his anti-secrecy organization never provided election information to Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone or to Jerome Corsi, a conservative author and conspiracy advocate.
He made the claims in a paper posted on his official Twitter account.
Wikileaks during the campaign posted thousands of emails the U.S. said were stolen by Russian intelligence officers who now stand indicted by a grand jury on evidence presented by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Both Mr. Stone and Mr. Corsi have taken to TV and social media to proclaim their innocence as Mr. Muller investigates them in his Trump-Russia collusion probe.
The suspicion is that both got information from Wikileaks before it dispensed emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, beginning Oct. 7, 2016.
The Wikileaks document seeks to rebut what it calls “false and defamatory” charges, many of which appeared in mainstream media publications such as the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper.
“It is clear that there is a pervasive climate of inaccurate claims about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, including purposeful fabrications planted in otherwise ‘reputable’ media outlets,” Wikileaks states. “In several instances these fabrications appear to have the intent of creating political cover for his censorship, isolation, expulsion, arrest, extradition and imprisonment.”
Each rebuttal begins with the phrase, “It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange or Wikileaks .........”
For example, Mr. Assange rejects reports that he has been contacted by the Mueller team. Likewise, the Guardian report that he met with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is false.
It was that story that kicked Mr. Assange into a higher gear in denying scores of “false” stories about him. He vowed to file a libel lawsuit against The Guardian.
The Wikileaks paper cites Mr. Stone and Mr. Corsi in a section that also denies the group ever provided information prior to release to Donald Trump Jr. and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
“It is false and defamatory to suggest that WikiLeaks or Julian Assange privately provided information about its then pending 2016 U.S. election-related publications to any outside party,” the document states before naming names.
On Mr. Stone, a flamboyant Republican political operative known for hardball tactics, Mr. Assange also says,
“It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange was in communication with Roger J. Stone during, or prior to, the U.S. 2016 presidential election [in fact, the only message sent from WikiLeaks was a demand that Mr. Stone cease falsely stating that he had ‘communicated’ with Julian Assange].
“It is false and defamatory to suggest that there was a “back channel” between Julian Assange and Roger J. Stone during, or prior to, the U.S. 2016 presidential election.”
Mr. Stone has said in interviews that he bragged about meeting Mr. Assange when in fact he had not.
He said his Aug. 21, 2016 tweet about impending “the Podesta’s time in the barrel” wasn’t a prediction on the Wikileaks’ October 2016 email dump, but a reference to the Ukraine.
Mr. Manafort had left the campaign Aug. 19 after reports of suspicious payments from a Ukraine pro-Russian party. Mr. Podesta’s brother, Tony, ran a now-defunct consulting firm that also represented Ukrainian politicians.
Mr. Corsi, a non-campaign Trump supporter, also denies prior knowledge from Wikileaks. He said he accurately guessed on his own that Mr. Assange’s next release, after a July 22 email mass posting, would be Mr. Podesta’s.
The Wikileaks official paper doesn’t mention Randy Credico, a Stone acquaintance.
NBC News reported on a text exchange on Oct. 1, 2016, between the two that suggested Mr. Credico had a contact with someone close to Mr. Assange and knew an email posting was coming.
Mr. Credico told NBC, “There’s absolutely nothing there that I had any knowledge of anything that Assange was going to do because I didn’t. Where’s the smoking gun?”
Mr. Stone’s attorney, Grant Smith, told NBC, “The texts provided to NBC News demonstrate that my client, Roger Stone, has been consistent for the past two years in his assertion that Randy Credico was the person who was providing him what limited information Mr. Stone had regarding WikiLeaks.”