Newly unredacted portions of the Mueller report show that Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen told investigators Stone had promised the campaign damaging revelations by WikiLeaks. The information was released following a lawsuit by BuzzFeed News.
Donald Trump was told in advance that WikiLeaks would be releasing documents embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, according to newly unredacted portions of the Mueller report released Friday.
In July 2016, political consultant Roger Stone told Trump as well as several campaign advisors that he had spoken with Julian Assange and that WikiLeaks would be publishing the documents in a matter of days. Stone told the then-candidate via speakerphone that he “did not know what the content of the materials was,” according to the newly unveiled portions of the report, and Trump responded “oh good, alright” upon hearing the news. WikiLeaks published a trove of some 20,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee on July 22 of that year.
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen told federal investigators that he overheard the phone call between Stone and Trump. Agents were also told by former campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that Stone had spoken several times in early June of something “big” coming from WikiLeaks. Assange first mentioned having emails related to Clinton on June 12.
The new revelations are the strongest indication to date that Trump and his closest advisors were aware of outside efforts to hurt Clinton’s electoral chances, and that Stone played a direct role in communicating that situation to the Trump campaign. Trump has publicly denied being aware of any information being relayed between WikiLeaks and his advisors.
In written testimony to Mueller’s team in November 2018, Trump denied being aware of any communications between Stone, Manafort, Gates, or Donald Trump Jr and WikiLeaks or Assange. Yet according to the newly public portions of the Special Counsel’s report, “Trump knew that Manafort and Gates had asked Stone to find out what other damaging information about Clinton WikiLeaks possessed, and that Stone’s claimed connection to WikiLeaks was common knowledge within the Campaign.”