One of President Donald Trump’s closest associates appears to have been a key player in the plot to illegally leak documents intended to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Roger Stone is a long-time GOP operative who has made a career out of manufacturing controversy about his political opponents. He served in a top role on the Trump campaign, responsible for circulating false propoganda about Trump’s enemies.
New reports published on Wednesday confirm that Stone was in direct contact with the pro-Russia hacker known as “Guccifer 2.0” and helped coordinate the illegal leaks that tarnished Clinton’s campaign before last November’s election. Many pundits believe those leaks were largely responsible for helping Trump to steal the presidential election.
In the months before Election Day, a longtime confidante and political consultant for Donald Trump was in contact with the Russian hacking group that U.S. intelligence officials have accused of illegally breaching the Democratic National Committee’s computer system and the e-mail accounts of Hillary Clinton campaign officials in a bid to aid Trump, The Smoking Gun has learned.
The contact between Roger Stone, the Trump associate, and the Russian influence operation came via private messages exchanged on Twitter, according to a source. Stone’s contact was with “Guccifer 2.0,” an online persona that U.S. officials say was created by Russian government officials to distribute and publicize material stolen during hacks of the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Gmail accounts used by Clinton staffers like John Podesta, the campaign’s chairman.
… Among the Trump associates being investigated by the FBI, Stone has known the 45th president the longest. For more than 30 years, Stone has worked, on and off, for Trump as a lobbyist, strategic advisor, and political consultant. Stone, who urged Trump to run for president in 1988, 2000, and 2012, wrote in 2011 that the real estate developer was a “middle class phenomenon,” adding that, “The higher your level of education the more likely you are to loathe Trump.”
Like Trump, Stone is vain, vindictive, and prone to declarations untethered to the truth. Both men are protégés of Roy Cohn, the reptilian attorney whose career initially blossomed at the elbow of Senator Joseph McCarthy and ended in disbarment weeks before his death from AIDS in 1986.
Stone has been surrounded by controversy throughout his career, for allegations of lying, racist comments, and sexual misconduct scandals.
Toward the end of the campaign, the Trump campaign cut its official connection to Stone and tried to keep it’s distance. However, Stone’s personal visit to Trump following the election raises doubts about whether Stone and Trump really ended their close relationship.
If these allegations can be independently verified by federal investigators, it could bring the whole Trump administration down.