Timeline: Roger Stone and His Interactions with Wikileaks, Russians, and More

The following timeline contains events relevant to whether Roger Stone worked with Russian government agents and intermediaries or supported Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections. As a background matter, it is important to know that the U.S. Intelligence Community’s report concludes with “high confidence” that the Russian intelligence operation used Guccifer 2.0 (a front for a Russian intelligence group) and Wikileaks to release the stolen materials in the US election.

Timeline

August 2015: In his congressional testimony, Stone claims that his “consulting relationship” with the Trump campaign ended in August 2015. [Note that among other information in the public record, the Special Counsel’s indictment of 12 Russian military officials states that Stone remained “in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.”]

May 2016: Michael Caputo, senior Trump campaign communications adviser who has had deep business ties to Russia and is described as a protégé of Stone, arranges for Stone to meet in Sunny Isles, Florida with a Russian national, “Henry Greenberg” (a.k.a. Henry Oknyansky) who said he could provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Stone told the Washington Post that he met with Greenberg but rejected the man’s proposal because he asked for $2 million. Stone also says that Greenberg did not reveal the information he claimed to possess. Stone told the Post that Greenberg was alone, but Greenberg said he was with a Ukrainian friend who conducted the meeting. “How crazy is the Russian?,” Caputo texted Stone after the meeting.

Note: In their congressional testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, neither Caputo (in July 2017) nor Stone (in Sept. 2017) revealed the meeting to congressional investigators. Caputo testified that he had no contacts with Russians during his time on the campaign. Stone testified that he “never had any communication with any Russians or individuals fronting for Russians, in connection with the 2016 presidential election.” Stone has reportedly not been interviewed by the Special Counsel. The Special Counsel interviewed Caputo in May 2018 and asked him about the Florida meeting during a sometimes-heated questioning session, according to Caputo.

Spring 2016: Sometime in the spring of 2016, Stone reportedly told a confidant that he had contact with Assange earlier that year. Stone’s confidant told the Washington Post that Stone said he learned from Assange that Wikileaks had obtained emails that would torment senior Democrats such as John Podesta. The conversation occurred before any public reports that hackers had obtained emails of the Democratic National Committee, let alone Podesta.

June 12, 2016: The British press reports that Julian Assange said that WikiLeaks had obtained and planned to publish a batch of emails “in relation to Hillary Clinton”

June 14, 2016: Washington Post reports that the Russia government hacked DNC computers

June 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 claims responsibility for the hack as “a lone hacker”

July 22, 2016: Shortly before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks releases  nearly 20,000 internal DNC emails

July 25, 2016: Stone-associate Charles Ortel emails then Fox News correspondent James Rosen and Fox’s Judge Andrew Napolitano, blind copying Stone, with the subject line: “Fox London needs to meet Assange.” Rosen replies: “”Am told Wikileaks will be doing a massaive dump of HRC emails relating to the CF in September.” Ortel says he forwarded Rosen’s email to Stone.

July 25, 2016: Stone emails Jerome Corsi: “Get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending (WikiLeaks) emails.” Corsi passes the request to Ted Malloch.

July 31, 2016: Stone emails Corsi with the subject line, “Call me MON.” The body of the email says that Malloch “should see [Assange].”

August 2, 2016: Corsi emails Stone informing him of the contents and timing of future Wikileaks document releases, including ones involving Podesta and information related to Clinton’s health:

“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.… Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign Chairman] 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. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke — neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.”

[Note: NBC News reported in late Oct. 2018 that “Mueller’s investigators have reviewed messages to members of the Trump team in which Stone and Corsi seem to take credit for the release of Democratic emails, said a person with direct knowledge of the emails.”]

August 3, 2016: Stone said that he spoke with Trump on August 3.

August 4, 2016: Stone sends an email to Sam Nunberg saying, “I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last nite.” It is unclear whether Stone meant he had an online meeting with Assange, since it appears he did not leave the United States, and Assange remained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

August 5, 2016: Stone publishes an article in Breitbart claiming Guccifer 2.0 and not Russia hacked the DNC

August 8, 2016: In a video: Stone says he has communicated with Assange:

QUESTIONER: With regard to the October surprise, what would be your forecast on that given what Julian Assange has intimated he’s going to do?
ROGER STONE: Well, it could be any number of things. 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.

[Note: Stone would later claim he meant that he was communicating with Assange through “an intermediary.” A spokesperson for Assange issued several denials including, “Wikileaks has had no contact with Roger Stone.” and “No communications, no channel”]

August 12, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases Democrats’ records it says were taken from a breach of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

August 12, 2016: @GUCCIFER_2 tweets at Stone: “thanks that u believe in the real #Guccifer2″

August 13, 2016: Stone tweets at @wikileaks @GUCCIFER_2 that it is “Outrageous” that Twitter has suspended Guccifer’s account.

August 13, 2016: Stone tweets that Guccifer is a “HERO”

August 14-September 9, 2016: Stone communicates privately with Guccifer 2.0 using Twitter’s Direct Messages. (Only after a news outlet revealed the existence of these communications in March 2017, Stone publishes the exchange. Stone says this is the entirety of his communication with Guccifer, but the exchange ends abruptly, and there is no way of telling if the two did not continue through other Twitter accounts or other platforms.)

[Note: Stone does not notify law enforcement authorities.]

August 15, 2016: In one Direct Message exchange, Guccifer 2.0 asks Stone: “do you find anything interesting in the docs i posted?”

August 17, 2016: Donald Trump is briefed by US intelligence agencies that Russia is implicated in the DNC hack (h/t: @RVAwonk)

August 17, 2016: In one Direct Message exchange, Guccifer 2.0 says to Stone. “please tell me if i can help u anyhow. it would be a great pleasure to me.”

August 19, 2016: Paul Manafort formally resigns from the Trump campaign following a New York Times report on his receiving secret cash payments from Ukrainian political groups.

August 21, 2016: Stone tweets: “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary”

[Note: In an interview on October 19, Stone would later claim he had meant only that his tweet was not about Podesta’s emails but about business dealings, which he did not learn about from Wikileaks. Think Progress has a helpful analysis of why “Stone’s alibi falls apart.” See also the entry for Aug. 30, 2016 involving the Corsi “cover story.”]

August 22, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 sends to Florida GOP operative Aaron Nevins 2.5 gigabytes of data from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Nevins posts some of that data on his anonymous Florida politics blog.

Late August: Guccifer 2.0 may have thought/been aware that the FBI was monitoring his Direct Messages. That is revealed by a separate exchange with The Smoking Gun (TSG) news outlet, which would break the story, in March 2017, about the exchanges. In its March 2017 piece, TSG writes:

In late-August, TSG asked “Guccifer 2.0” about contact with Stone. After wondering, “why r u asking?,” “Guccifer 2.0” then accused TSG of receiving reportorial guidance from federal investigators: “the fbi’s tracing me, reading my dm [direct messages] and giving u hints. no?” When further pressed, “Guccifer 2.0” said, “i won’t comment on my conversations with other ppl.” The self-professed “freedom fighter” added, “why r u so interested in stone? he’s just a person who wrote a story about me. or i don’t know some important stuff?”]

August 30, 2016:  Stone calls Corsi, nine days after the tweet referring to Podesta—and asks Corsi for help in creating an “alternative explanation” for the tweet after the fact, according to an interview Corsi gave to the Wall Street Journal in Nov. 2018). Corsi also told the Journal, “What I construct, and what I testified to the grand jury, was I believed I was creating a cover story for Roger, because Roger wanted to explain this tweet … the special counsel knew this. They can virtually tell my keystrokes on that computer.”

September 9, 2016: After asking Stone what Guccifer 2.0 can do to help, Guccifer 2.0 sends Stone a link to Nevins’ page containing DCCC’s turnout data and asks what Stone thinks. Stone replies, “Pretty Standard.”

[Note: If that type of information being disclosed is not pretty standard, then Stone’s reply is incriminating. Analysis by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo suggests it was not pretty standard. The Direct Message exchange between Stone and Guccifer then ends abruptly.]

On Sept. 18, 2016, Stone emailed Randy Credico, a New York radio personality who had interviewed Assange, with a specific document request, “Please ask Assange for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30–particularly on August 20, 2011.” Credico initially replied that the information would be on Wikileaks website if it existed. Stone responded, “Why do we assume WikiLeaks has released everything they have???” Credico then asked for a “little bit of time,” and wrote a few hours later, “That batch probably coming out in the next drop…I can’t ask them favors every other day. I asked one of his lawyers.” Credico was presumably referring to prior requests to Wikileaks. Credico would later say that he never passed on the request to Assange or his lawyers, but got weary of Stone “bothering” him.

October 2, 2016 (Sunday): Stone says on Alex Jones’ show: “An intermediary met with him [Assange] in London recently who is a friend of mine and a friend of his, a believer in freedom. I am assured that the mother lode is coming Wednesday. It wouldn’t be an October surprise if I told you what it was but I have reason to believe that it is devastating because people with political judgment who are aware of the subject matter tell me this.”

October 2, 2016 (Sunday): Stone tweets: “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. .”

October 3, 2016: Stone tweets: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon. #LockHerUp”

October 3-4, 2016: A series of emails, obtained by the New York Times, show that Stone held himself out to members of the Trump campaign as a conduit to Wikileaks, and suggested he knew of Assange’s plans and reasons for making decisions about timing. Documents include emails directly between Stone and Stephen Bannon, campaign chairman at the time. In an email from Matthew Boyle, Washington editor of Breitbart News and Bannon, Boyle wrote, “Well clearly he knows what Assange has.”

October 5, 2016 (Wednesday): Stone tweets: “Libs thinking Assange will stand down are wishful thinking. Payload coming #Lockthemup”

October 7, 2016: WikiLeaks’ publication of Podesta’s emails began two hours after the “Access Hollywood” story is published by the Washington Post.

[Note: The Washington Post may have given the Trump team some advance warning by seeking comment before publishing. The Post’s story states that the paper sought comment from NBC beforehand.]

October 12, 2016: The Daily caller reports, “Stone told TheDC that the release was actually delayed by Assange. ‘I was led to believe that there would be a major release on a previous Wednesday,’ Stone said.”

[Note-1: Examining this part of the Daily Caller’s interview with Stone, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explains, “Stone has effectively admitted in an interview that his statements in October saying something significant was about to drop were, indeed, references to the Podesta emails.”]

[Note-2: As Mariotti also mentions, Stone has repeatedly said that he had “no advance notice about the hacking of Mr. Podesta.” Stone uses essentially that exact same phrase each time (Stone’s blog, Breitbart interview, Reddit Ask Me Anything, local Florida television). What Stone does not say is whether he had no advance notice about the release of Podesta’s hacked emails.]

October 13, 2016: Wikileaks issues a statement denying any communications with Stone. The same day, Stone sends a private message over Twitter to Wikileaks saying, “Since I was all over national TV, cable and print defending wikileaks and assange against the claim that you are Russian agents … you may want to rexamine[sic] the strategy of attacking me.” Wikileaks replies, “the false claims of association are being used by the democrats to undermine the impact of our publications. Don’t go there if you don’t want us to correct you,” to which Stone responds, “The more you ‘correct’ me the more people think you are lying.”

Post-election:

November 9, 2016: Wikileaks sends a private message to Stone on Twitter: “Happy? We are now more free to communicate.”

March 4, 2017: Stone tweets that he “had a “perfectly legal back channel to Assange.”

March 8, 2017: The Smoking Gun publishes a piece titled revealing Stone’s private communications with Guccifer 2.0. The Smoking Gun reports that Stone first said he did not recall these exchanges, and Stone said the entire exchange was public:

“Asked if he had exchanged private Twitter direct messages with ‘Guccifer 2.0,’ Stone said in a text, ‘don’t recall.’ … Stone said he thought his “entire communication” with “Guccifer 2.0” “was on twitter for the world to see.” The “brief exchange was public,” Stone contended.

March 10, 2017: Following The Smoking Gun revelations, the Washington Times interviews Stone about his Direct Message private communications with Guccifer 2.0. Stone says the conversations were “completely innocuous,” and “[i]t was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it.”

[Note: it is not credible that this exchange was “banal” and that he had “forgotten” about it, in part, due to Stone’s own Breitbart article preceding the exchange, in which he obviously recognized the importance of Guccifer 2.0.]

March 10, 2017: Only after The Smoking Gun breaks the story about his private Direct Messages with Guccifer 2.0, Stone publishes a statement on his website including the same representations he made to Washington Times, and publishes what he says is the complete exchange with Guccifer 2.0

September 25, 2017: Stone testifies before the House Intelligence Committee. On or following that date, Stone also subsequently amends his congressional testimony three different times reportedly having to do with “his contacts with Russian nationals, the extent of his interactions with WikiLeaks, and his conversations with Trump-campaign officials.”

November 28, 2017: Stone learns that the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Credico, after Stone had told he Committee that Credico was his “source” or “intermediary” for communications with Wikileaks.

November 30, 2017: Stone asks Corsi to write publicly about Credico, and tells Corsi that Credico “will take the 5th,” according to the special counsel’s draft Statement of Offence for Corsi.

January 6, 2018: Stone texts Credico saying he is “working with others to get JA [Julian Assange] a blanket pardon. … It’s very real and very possible.”

[Editor’s Note. Be sure to also read Just Security’s Renato Mariotti’s analysis: Method to the “Madness”: Dissecting Roger Stone’s Statement to Congress, by a Former Fed Prosecutor]

Photo credit: Roger Stone signs copies of his new book on President Trump, March 21, 2017 in Boca Raton, Florida – Joe Raedle /Getty Images

  

About the Author(s)

Ryan Goodman

Co-Editor-in-Chief of Just Security, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, former Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-2016). You can follow him on Twitter @rgoodlaw.

Laura Rozen

Diplomatic Correspondent for Al-Monitor, Former Senior Foreign Policy Reporter for Politico, Yahoo News, and Foreign Policy Magazine Follow her on Twitter (@LRozen).