Wikileaks Denies Roger Stone Had ‘Back-Channel’ Contact With Assange

Albin Lohr-Jones/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Wikileaks on Monday denied longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone’s claim that he had “back-channel communication” with the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, before the 2016 election.

“No communications, no channel,” a Wikileaks representative told CNN’s KFILE by email.

In August 2016, Stone claimed to be in touch with Assange in advance of a so-called “October surprise” comprised of documents the Wikileaks founder promised to release in order to derail Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“I actually have communicated with Assange,” Stone said.

Stone denied in October 2016 that he had direct contact with Assange, but claimed to have “a back-channel communication” with him.

“We have a good mutual friend,” he told local Miami TV station WFOR.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Wikileaks denied on Twitter that it had any contact with Stone. It is unclear who was responsible for those posts.

The Wikileaks representative, who declined to identify themselves, called Stone “no-one who knows nothing about anything” and accused him of making the claim “to raise his profile and market his books.”

“Stone is playing slovenly Democrat-aligned journalists like a fiddle, brilliantly inserting himself, as is his habit,” the representative wrote to CNN. “He is entirely delighted with inviting scrutiny.”

The representative said that Stone “was pushed out of the Trump team a long time ago for just this type of opportunism.”

In response, Stone told CNN by email that if Wikileaks’ denial was the truth, he must be either “clairvoyant or just a good guesser because the limited things I did predict (Oct disclosures) all came true.”

Stone insisted last week that his communications with Guccifer 2.0, a hacker who published stolen Democratic National Committee emails online and who U.S. officials believe is associated with the Russian government, were “benign.”

Wikileaks had something to say about that too. Its representative accused Stone — “or at least someone who has access to his account/computer/smartphone” — of leaking his own private Twitter exchange with Guccifer 2.0.

“Once again, feeding the idiots,” the representative wrote to CNN, apparently referring to the press, “who go wild with the idea that they’re Woodward & Bernstein, and they’re taking Stone — and then the President down — when in fact, they’re puffing him up, just like he planned.”

Stone offered on Friday to testify before the House Intelligence Committee to address allegations that he communicated with Russian officials before the 2016 election.

“Mr. Stone deeply resents that several members of your Permanent Select Committee have intimated that he has committed treason,” Stone’s attorney wrote in a letter to the panel. “He is eager to voluntarily appear in open session in front of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence without the necessity of a subpoena.”

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Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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