By Chuck Ross
The special counsel’s indictment of Roger Stone highlighted a deep rift that has grown during the Russia investigation between the longtime Trump confidant and two former associates he worked with during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico, who are referred to as “Person 1” and “Person 2” in the indictment, have indicated that they will testify against Stone at any trial that may occur. If that happens, the public can expect a dramatic affair. Stone has said that he plans to go to trial.
Stone was indicted Friday on charges that he lied to Congress about his interactions with Trump campaign officials, Corsi and Credico regarding WikiLeaks, the group that published emails hacked from the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. He is also charged with witness tampering involving Credico and obstructing the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
Stone, who got his start in politics working for former President Richard Nixon’s campaign, is not accused of colluding with WikiLeaks or with Russians, or even of knowing in advance that WikiLeaks specifically would release Democratic National Committee and Podesta emails. But prosecutors appear to be interested in what conversations Stone had with the Trump campaign regarding WikiLeaks.
Stone, Corsi and Credico have butted heads in various ways over their competing claims about their discussions regarding WikiLeaks during the campaign.
Stone has insisted that Credico, a left-wing activist, was a back channel source of information for him about WikiLeaks’ plans to release information on former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Credico has denied the claim, though text messages show him providing Stone with insight into WikiLeaks’ plans.
Special counsel Robert Mueller appears to suspect that Corsi, who is best known for his role in promoting the “birther” movement, could also have been a connection between Stone and WikiLeaks. Both Corsi and Stone dismiss that theory, though the pair have recently squared off in the media over testimony that Corsi has provided Mueller’s grand jury.
To help make sense of what’s going on between Stone, Corsi, Credico and Trump campaign officials, here is a detailed timeline of all of the events that are known to have transpired during the 2016 campaign.
March 21, 2016
Hackers believed to have been working for Russia’s military intelligence agency hack the Gmail account of Podesta.
June 12, 2016
Julian Assange reveals his organization, WikiLeaks, is planning to release information about Clinton.
“We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton. … We have emails pending publication,” Assange told ITV.
According to an indictment handed down on Jan. 25, 2019 by the special counsel, Trump confidant Stone began telling Trump campaign official that he had “information indicating [WikiLeaks] had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton campaign.”
Stone has denied having any contact with Assange and claims that he had been tracking the WikiLeaks founder’s public statements about WikiLeaks’ plans.
July 22, 2016
WikiLeaks releases nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC.
A “senior Trump campaign official” was directed shortly after the release to contact Stone “about any additional releases” from WikiLeaks, according to the indictment of Stone.
July 25, 2016
An associate of Stone’s named Charles Ortel forwarded him an email from Fox News reporter James Rosen who wrote: “Am told Wikileaks will be doing a massive dump of HRC emails relating to the CF in September.”
Stone says he interpreted “CF” as a reference to the Clinton Foundation.
After receiving the email, Stone contacted right-wing author Corsi, suggesting that he “get to Assange at Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending WikiLeaks emails. They deal with Foundation, allegedly.”
Corsi forwarded the email to Ted Malloch, a London-based academic who supported President Donald Trump’s campaign.
July 29, 2016
Assange told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “We have more material related to the Hillary Clinton campaign.”
July 31, 2016
Stone emails Corsi with a list of three suggestions for Malloch that could potentially help the Trump campaign.
“Malloch should see Assange,” wrote Stone.
Stone has told The Daily Caller News Foundation that at the time he sent the email, he believed Malloch might have a channel to Assange. Stone said that during their first meeting in 2016 (which Corsi attended), Malloch made comments suggesting that he knew or had a link to Assange. Stone has since said he now believes Malloch was merely name-dropping and had no actual link to the WikiLeaks founder.
August 2, 2016
Corsi sent Stone an email that would later draw intense scrutiny from Mueller.
“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging,” wrote Corsi, referring to Assange. “Time to let more than Podesta to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC. That appears to be the game hackers are now about.”
Corsi claimed he came up with a theory on his own that WikiLeaks had Podesta’s emails and that he shared that theory with associates, including Stone. Stone said he did not interpret the email as saying that WikiLeaks had Podesta’s emails.
Aug. 8, 2016
Stone said he had communicated with Assange.
“I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be,” he told a group of Republicans at an event in Florida.
Stone has since downplayed those remarks, saying he was embellishing, and his comment reflects the inaccurate tip he received via the Rosen email he thought referred to the Clinton Foundation.
Aug. 9, 2016
“Stone is a bullshitter,” WikiLeaks said in a private Twitter message released in 2017. The group would repeatedly deny having any contact with Stone.
Aug. 12, 2016
Stone said in an interview that he was “in communication with Assange” but that he was “not at liberty to discuss what I have.”
Aug. 19, 2016
Credico texted Stone, “I’m going to have Julian Assange on my show next Thursday.”
“Kunstler wife is his lawyer or at least one of them,” he said.
Credico was seemingly referring to Margaret Ratner Kunstler, who has been identified as a lawyer for WikiLeaks.
Aug. 21, 2016
Stone posted a tweet that would later thrust him into the center of the Russia probe.
“Trust me, it will soon [be] the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” Stone wrote.
Podesta and other Stone critics have pointed to the tweet as evidence that Stone had prior knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of Podesta’s emails two months later.
Stone said rather than referring to forthcoming WikiLeaks emails, he was referring to a conversation he had with Corsi, who had researched the business activities of Podesta and his brother, Tony Podesta.
Stone noted his tweet referred to “the Podesta’s,” which he meant to be plural, rather than solely to John Podesta.
Aug. 27, 2016
Credico texted Stone: “Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary.”
Aug. 31, 2016
Corsi provided a nine-page memo to Stone regarding the Podesta brothers and the Podesta Group’s various lobbying relationships.
Corsi claimed that he told Mueller’s grand jury that he wrote the memo in order to help Stone create a cover story to explain his tweet from 10 days earlier. Corsi, who claims that he received immunity in order to testify on the topic, has not said whether Stone explicitly told him that the memo was part of a cover story.
Stone has denied this allegation, which he calls “illogical.” He claimed there would have been no need for a cover story at the time because his tweet did not receive scrutiny until after John Podesta’s emails were published six weeks later.
Sept. 18, 2016
Credico asked Stone not to identify him as his link to Assange.
“Just remember do not name me as your connection to Assange you had one before that you referred to,” he wrote.
Sept. 19-20, 2016
Stone asked Credico to pass a request to Stone for emails related to Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.
Credico “forwarded a request to a friend who was an attorney with the ability to contact [Assange],” according to the indictment.
This exchange will undercut Credico’s future denials about knowing any attorneys for WikiLeaks.
Sept. 25, 2016
“I’m flying to London after show,” wrote Credico to Stone. “Will be seeing the man on Tuesday actually on Wednesday night.”
Credico traveled to London, but said he did not meet with Assange.
Sept. 29, 2016
Credico again asked Stone not to link him publicly to WikiLeaks.
“You are not going to drag my name into this are you,” Credico wrote.
“No,” Stone replied.
“Leave my name out Im [sic] going to be all screwed up today,” Credico wrote.
Sept. 30, 2016
Credico posted a photo of himself on Facebook from outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
“Outside the ecuador [sic] Embassy London take a look at the dude with a white shirt … I have a feeling that in the next couple days some very damaging material will be coming out from the gentleman inside that embassy,” he wrote.
Oct. 1, 2016 (Saturday)
“ig news Wednesday,” Credico wrote to Stone, adding: “Now pretend u don’t know me.”
“Hillary’s campaign will die this week,” he texted later that day.
Oct. 2, 2016 (Sunday)
“Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done,” Stone wrote on Twitter.
WikiLeaks canceled a press conference with Assange, citing security concerns.
Stone contacts Credico through a text message, asking: “Did Assange back off?”
Corsi also tweeted in response to Assange’s canceled press conference.
“If Assange has the goods on Hillary, he ought just to drop the goods,” Corsi wrote on Twitter. “Otherwise, he’s going to make a fool of himself.”
Oct. 3, 2016 (Monday)
Credico responded to Stone the next morning, writing: “I can’t tall [sic] about it.”
“I think its on for tomorrow,” he said.
Stone tweeted: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon. #LockHerUp.”
Credico wrote to Stone that information would be released Tuesday.
“There is so much stuff out there,” he texted, adding, that “there will be an announcement but not on the balcony.”
Credico also told Stone: “I’m best friends with [Assange’s] lawyer and leave it at that and leave it alone.”
Oct. 4, 2016 (Tuesday)
Assange held a press conference and announced WikiLeaks would release documents prior to the election. He said the pending release was not targeted at Clinton and documents would be leaked beginning that week.
Stone exchanged emails with former White House strategist Steve Bannon regarding Assange’s press conference.
“What was that this morning???” Bannon wrote to Stone.
“Fear. Serious security concern. He thinks they are going to kill him and the London police are standing down,” Stone responded.
“However — a load every week going forward,” he added, repeating Assange’s announcement.
Numerous Trump supporters, including Corsi, expressed frustration at the press conference.
“So Assange made a fool of Himself,” Corsi tweeted. “Had zero, or he would have released it. Will take grassroots on Internet to get truth out & beat Hillary.”
Oct. 5, 2016 (Wednesday)
Stone continued teasing the WikiLeaks release.
“Libs thinking Assange will stand down are wishful thinking. Payload coming #Lockthemup,” he tweeted.
Oct. 6, 2016 (Thursday)
“Julian Assange will deliver a devastating expose on Hillary at a time of his choosing. I stand by my prediction,” Stone tweeted.
Oct. 7, 2016 (Friday)
WikiLeaks released the first batch of stolen Podesta emails. Hours earlier, The Washington Post released audio recorded in 2005 of Trump speaking in crude terms about women during an interview for “Access Hollywood.”
Corsi claimed he told Mueller’s grand jury that Stone contacted him earlier in the day after hearing of the impending release of the “Access Hollywood” tape. He claimed Stone asked him to contact WikiLeaks to orchestrate the release of John Podesta’s emails.
Stone has also disputed this claim, calling it “absurd.” He has said he had no advance knowledge of the publication of the tape, and that if he had, he would not have asked Corsi for help in contacting Assange given that he believed Corsi had no connection to WikiLeaks.
According to Mueller’s indictment, an associate of a high-ranking Trump campaign official believed to be Bannon texted Stone: “well done.”
The indictment alleges that in subsequent conversations with Trump campaign officials, Stone “claimed credit for having corrected predicted” the WikiLeaks release.
Oct. 11, 2016
Podesta accused Stone of having prior knowledge of the WikiLeaks release.
Oct. 12, 2016
Stone disputed Podesta’s comments and for the first time said he had a back channel to Assange.
“I do have a back-channel communication with Assange, because we have a good mutual friend,” Stone told CBS’s affiliate in Miami. “That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk. I had dinner with him last Monday.”
Sept. 26, 2017
Stone appeared before the House Intelligence Committee. He refused to reveal the identity of his WikiLeaks back channel.
Oct. 13, 2017
Stone privately identified Credico to the Intelligence Committee.
Nov. 19, 2017
After Credico is asked to appear voluntarily before the House Intelligence Committee, Stone sent him a text message that reads: “Stonewall it. Plead the fifth.”
The special counsel cited other texts that show Stone encouraging Credico to avoid testifying to Congress.
Dec. 13, 2017
Credico asserted his Fifth Amendment rights prior to an interview scheduled with the House Intelligence Committee.
Feb. 13, 2018
Credico said he provided “disinformation” to Michael Isikoff and David Corn, the authors of “Russian Roulette,” a book about the collusion investigation.
“I put together phony emails, gave it to them. I did all this stuff, and he’s going to put it in his book. I can’t wait,” Credico said in an interview with H. A. Goodman.
Credico claimed he texted Isikoff to say, “I’m glad that I bamboozled you.”
“I’m just making things up for the guy, and he’s just writing it down,” he said.
March 21, 2018
Credico denied being a source for Stone, telling MSNBC’s Ari Melber: “I have no idea, some of the things I may have said to him, but certainly did not pass any information from Julian Assange to Roger Stone.”
April 13, 2018
In an interview with Isikoff, Credico reiterated his denials that he was Stone’s link to WikiLeaks. He also denied he knew attorneys who worked for Assange, undercutting his claims in his text messages with Stone.
“He had another version — that I was protecting a lawyer friend of mine of Assange,” Credico said of Stone. “I don’t know any lawyers in this country that actually represent Assange. I know three of his lawyers. They all live in London. I met them last year when I met Assange for the very first time, face-to-face, which was on Sept. 13, 2017.”
April 30, 2018
Credico said in an interview with radio host David Feldman that he pleaded the Fifth before House Intelligence on the instruction of his lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Credico said his legal team told him: “We’ve seen you on television so many times talking about this that you cannot go in there and answer questions. You’ve got to take the Fifth because you’re all over the map.”
“So at the advice of my lawyers I took the Fifth,” said Credico.
July 13, 2018
Mueller indicted 12 officers with Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, over the hacks and dissemination of DNC emails.
Aug. 8, 2018
Mueller subpoenaed Credico.
Aug. 28, 2018
Mueller subpoenaed Corsi.
Sept. 7, 2018
Credico testified to Mueller’s grand jury. He said in an interview with CNN after his appearance that his testimony matched his public denials that he was Stone’s back channel to WikiLeaks.
Oct. 19, 2018
David Lugo, a filmmaker who has worked with Stone and Credico, testified to the Mueller grand jury that Credico told him on May 12, 2017 that he was a conduit between WikiLeaks and Stone.
Nov. 2, 2018
An attorney who has worked for Stone, Tyler Nixon, testified he was at a dinner in mid-November 2017 where Credico seemingly acknowledged he was Stone’s link to WikiLeaks and Assange.
Nov. 9, 2018
Corsi testified for the second time before Mueller’s grand jury. He claimed days later that prosecutors had informed him he would be indicted for perjury.
Nov. 14, 2018
Mueller’s office offered Corsi a plea deal that would have required the conspiracy theorist to plead guilty to lying about the specifics of his email exchanges with Stone in July and August 2016 that referred to Assange.
Corsi claimed he rejected the plea deal because he did not lie to prosecutors on purpose.
Corsi releases a book, “Silent No More,” detailing his interactions with the special counsel and his activities during the 2016 campaign.
He denied having any contact with Assange or WikiLeaks, but also made claims that could pose legal problems for Stone.
Jan. 25, 2019
Stone was indicted on seven charges: five charges of making false statements to Congress, one charge of witness tampering and one charge of obstruction of a criminal proceeding.
Most of the charges related to Stone’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.
Stone disputed the allegations and said he will plead not guilty to the charges.
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