by Chuck Ross
- Jerome Corsi claims in his new book, ‘Silent No More,’ that he testified to Mueller’s grand jury that on Oct. 7, 2016, Trump confidant Roger Stone asked him to contact Julian Assange about releasing John Podesta’s emails.
- Corsi claims Stone had advance knowledge of the release of the ‘Access Hollywood’ video that showed Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women by the genitals.
- Stone is strongly disputing Corsi’s claim, saying that he did not know about the ‘Access Hollywood’ video until it was published.
Right-wing author Jerome Corsi said in a forthcoming book that he testified to a grand jury in the special counsel’s investigation that political operative Roger Stone asked him to contact WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about releasing emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
The alleged request was intended to distract from the Oct. 7, 2016, release of unaired footage from “Access Hollywood” that showed Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women by the genitals, Corsi writes in his book, “Silent No More.”
Hours after The Washington Post published a story on the video, which is also known as the “Billy Bush tape,” WikiLeaks released its first batch of Podesta emails.
Corsi described in his book an exchange between his attorney, David Gray, and a prosecutor with the Special Counsel’s Office, Aaron Zelinsky, regarding the video.
“Zelinsky told David Gray that Stone had told me in advance about the Billy Bush video and asked me to get word to Assange to hold the release of the first batch of the Podesta emails until after the Washington Post had published the damaging Billy Bush ‘hot mic’ recording,” Corsi wrote.
“That is exactly what happened,” he continued.
Stone responded to the book, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation that Corsi’s claims are “preposterous” and “completely false.” He said he did not know about the “Access Hollywood” footage until it was published by The Post.
Stone also provided TheDCNF with a text message from Oct. 4, 2016, just days before the email release, in which Corsi appeared not to have inside knowledge about WikiLeaks or Podesta emails.
“Assange made a fool of himself,” wrote Corsi, referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who held a press conference to announce vague plans of releasing campaign-related documents.
“Has nothing or he would have released it. Total BS hype.”
While Assange did not release materials as many observers expected, he announced that WikiLeaks would begin releasing campaign-related documents later that week.
Stone also asserted that if he had known about the “Access Hollywood” tape, Corsi would not have been the person to ask to make contact with Assange. Stone had for months been in contact with Randy Credico, a left-wing activist who provided tips to Stone about WikiLeaks’ plans to release information that would harm the Clinton campaign, text messages show.
“Hillary’s campaign dies this week,” Credico texted Stone on Oct. 1, 2016.
“Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary,” he wrote on Aug. 27, 2016.
“It’s illogical for me to ask Jerry Corsi to ask him to contact someone he doesn’t know,” Stone told TheDCNF.
The competing claims pit two longtime political tricksters against each other at a crucial point in the special counsel’s investigation. Corsi’s testimony could present legal issues for Stone, a longtime Trump confidant who is a target in the special counsel’s probe.
Corsi, who is best known for pushing conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, announced his book on Monday after he revealed that he had rejected a plea offer from the special counsel.
The offer would have required Corsi to plead guilty to lying to the FBI and the special counsel about an email he received on July 25, 2016, from Stone suggesting that he contact Assange.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating whether Stone had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release Podesta’s emails. Mueller is also probing whether Stone or anyone else told the Trump campaign of any WikiLeaks plans.
Stone has testified to the House Intelligence Committee that he had no advance knowledge that WikiLeaks would release Podesta’s emails. He has instead said that Credico told him that the group would release information that would “roil” the Clinton campaign.
In addition to text messages that Stone released, three witnesses have also told the Mueller grand jury that Credico acknowledged being Stone’s link to WikiLeaks.
But prosecutors are seemingly investigating whether Stone had more than one connection to WikiLeaks, possibly through Corsi. Both Stone and Corsi deny meeting Assange.
Stone has disputed several other claims from Corsi.
He disputes Corsi’s claim that he told Stone in August 2016 that he believed that WikiLeaks had Podesta’s emails and would release them in October. Stone also disputes Corsi’s testimony that the pair worked together to craft a cover story to explain Stone’s Aug. 21, 2016, tweet that said: “it will soon [be] the Podesta’s time in the barrel.”
Stone has claimed that his tweet was based on Corsi’s research into John and Tony Podesta’s business activities.
Corsi said the plea offer from Mueller’s team came after weeks of contentious interviews with the special counsel’s office over whether he had a source for his belief that WikiLeaks had Podesta’s emails.
Corsi said that he did not have a source for the information. Instead, he claims he developed the theory during a family vacation to Italy in July and August 2016.
Corsi wrote in his forthcoming book Gray told him that Zelinsky and fellow Mueller prosecutor Jeannie Rhee said on Nov. 2 “that they had reached a point where all your testimony was useless to them.”
“They are even throwing out your grand jury testimony and everything from your first interviews – evidence Rhee told me was absolutely pivotal to their case,” Gray continued, according to Corsi. “They are angry, but they said you can go home for now. Our next step, they said, would be to negotiate a plea deal.”
The plea deal would require Corsi to plead guilty to lying when “he denied an associate’s request to get in touch with an organization that he understood to be in possession of stolen emails and other documents pertaining to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, that the associate never asked him to have another person try to get in touch with the organization, and that he did not provide the associate with any information about what materials the organization possessed or what it might do with these materials.”
The references appear to be to Stone and WikiLeaks.
Corsi told prosecutors during his Sept. 6 meeting that he had no contact with WikiLeaks and that he did not ask anyone to contact Assange.
But prosecutors told Corsi that they had evidence contradicting his claim. Zelinsky and others on Mueller’s team offered to allow Corsi to review his emails, which he claimed numbered more than 60,000.
After scouring through the documents, Corsi said he discovered a July 25, 2016, email from Stone entitled “Get to Assange.”
“At the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending WikiLeaks emails … they deal with [Clinton] Foundation, allegedly.”
Corsi forwarded the email to Ted Malloch, a London-based academic who had expressed interest in working on the Trump campaign.
“Ted. From Roger Stone. Jerry.”
Malloch was detained by FBI agents at Boston’s Logan Airport in March 2018 and was subpoenaed by the Mueller team.
As Corsi notes, Stone sent the email hours after he had been forwarded an email in which then-Fox News reporter James Rosen purported to have knowledge that WikiLeaks would release Clinton Foundation emails in September 2016.
“Am told Wikileaks will be doing a massive dump of HRC emails relating to the CF in September,” Rosen wrote.
Stone told TheDCNF that his email to Corsi was a reference to the Rosen email, noting that both included the inaccurate prediction that WikiLeaks would release Clinton Foundation emails.
Corsi wrote that he “understood why the Special Counsel had accused me of lying,” though he denied willfully misleading prosecutors.
“Clearly, I did not shut the door on Roger Stone’s efforts to contact Julian Assange.”
Three days after the email, Corsi and his family left for vacation in Italy that is also of interest to Mueller’s team. It was on that trip that Corsi claims he developed “a vague recollection” that he came to the conclusion that WikiLeaks would release Podesta’s emails in December.
“I could not remember how I came to know this, but I was beginning to feel certain that I did.”
Corsi claims that he told associates, including Stone, about his theory, but that Stone did not seem to take him seriously.
Meanwhile, Corsi wrote in his forthcoming 57,000-word book that he told Zelinsky that Stone told him in advance that the “Access Hollywood” tape would be released.
He wrote that “although I could not remember exactly when Roger told me, or the precise substance of the discussion, I remembered Roger told me before the Washington Post went to press with the Billy Bush tape that the tape was coming and that it would be a bombshell.”
Corsi said he had three phone calls with Stone in the hours before the release of the tape.
“I know nothing about that, either does Jerry Corsi,” Stone told TheDCNF. When asked why Corsi might be motivated to make a false claim, Stone said: “He’s saying this because the prosecutors induced him to say it.”
Corsi also wrote that Zelinsky revealed that prosecutors had evidence of an email exchange between he and Stone “in which Stone expressed pleasure that Assange had released the Podesta emails as instructed.”
Corsi said he replied that he and Stone “should be given credit” for the release.
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