UPDATE — 3/15, 5:07 p.m. EDT: In a Wednesday interview with AP, Roger Stone said he suspects private messages exchanged on Twitter between himself and alleged Russian hacker, “Guccifer 2.0”, were intercepted by U.S. intelligence through a FISA warrant.
Stone said he will agree to testify in front of a congressional committee on the matter if requested.
A veteran campaign strategist and former campaign aide to Donald Trump admitted late last week to having engaged in a private Twitter exchange with an internet hacker identified as “Guccifer 2.0.”
In his account of the encounter with Business Insider on Thursday evening, Trump confidante Roger Stone dismissed the communication as “innocuous.”
Guccifer 2.0 is alleged to have successfully overcome Democratic Nation Committee (DNC) computer defenses and turned over content obtained to investigative journalistic group WikiLeaks and several media outlets.
The U.S. government asserts Guccifer 2.0 is artificial, a creation of Russian’s Main Intelligence Directorate, the GRU.
Describing the contact with Guccifer 2.0 in an email as “brief and banal,” Stone added:
“Not exactly 007 stuff even if Gruccifer 2.0 [sic] was working for the Russkies. Meaningless.”
In the exchanges made public by Stone himself, the long-time political consultant expressed satisfaction Guccifer 2.0 had his Twitter account re-activated. Later, the unknown hacker offered assistance to Stone while praising him as a great man in the same message.
As Stone was in the midst of his August 2016 Twitter back-and-forth with the hacker, he penned an essay for Breitbart urging then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to stop assigning blame for DNC breaches on Russia.
Following his admission to Business Insider and, later, The Washington Times, Stone tweeted a defense of his actions, stating his contact with the alleged mastermind of the DNC hacking occurred after Guccifer 2.0 penetrated Democratic Party computers and made off with his trove.
Sorry haters- my casual contact with @Gruccifer2.0 came AFTER release by Wikileaks of DNC documents -“collusion” impossible@StoneColdTruth
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) March 11, 2017
Known for his sartorial style, the flamboyant Stone is a long-time adviser to Mr. Trump, offering political, professional and personal guidance to the New York businessman over the last 30 years.
House and Senate Intelligence Committees are currently probing alleged links between Trump campaign officials and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, but the White House steadfastly denies any collusion with Russia effected the outcome of the election.
[Business Insider] [Washington Times] [AP] [Photo courtesy PBS]