Donald Trump and UK politician Nigel Farage, who may soon be caught up in Trump-Russia investigation, celebrate in Trump Tower, New York, November 2016
The team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller widens its investigation of the Trump campaign, Russian operatives, and WikiLeaks, amid talk of imminent indictments and a possible Donald Trump pardon of former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
In the past two weeks, a series of revelations — included from those under suspicion — have pointed to Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone and his close friend, conspiracy theorist and radio show host Jerome Corsi, as contacts with WikiLeaks founder in summer 2016. The interaction occurred just before and during WikiLeaks’ publication of e-mails, obtained by Russian hackers from Democrat officials around nominee Hillary Clinton, in July and October 2016.
Throughout the campaign, Trump often called Stone late at night. Those calls are now under investigation by Mueller’s team, and have been mentioned in a draft legal document by the Special Counsel.
On Tuesday, The Guardian of London added the report that Manafort — guilty of 10 charges of tax and financial fraud and awaiting sentencing — met Assange “around March 2016”, the month when WikiLeaks issued a public call for documents on Clinton and the investment firm Goldman Sachs and when Russian military intelligence began attempts to hack Democrat servers.
On Wednesday, US investigators brought the British politician Nigel Farage into the story. Echoing Mueller’s legal document, they said his ally Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, a hard-right activist once considered as Trump’s envoy to the European Union, was asked by Trump’s advisor to obtain information from WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.
In March, Malloch was stopped and questioned by the FBI upon his arrival at a US airport, and he was later subpoenaed by the Special Counsel to appear before a grand jury.
Mueller’s team is also reportedly interested in interviewing Farage. The former leader of the UK Independence Party was a prominent ally of the Trump campaign, appearing alongside Trump at a Mississippi rally. He was the first UK politician, rather than Prime Minister Theresa May, welcomed by Trump at Trump Tower after the November election.
Mueller’s draft document said Corsi forwarded an e-mail from Roger Stone, dated July 25, 2016, to Malloch: “Get to Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending WikiLeaks emails.”
Six days later, Stone e-mailed Corsi again to say Malloch “should see Assange”. On August 2, Corsi replied: “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps….Impact planned to be very damaging.”
The Special Counsel explicitly linked the exchange to Trump’s inner circle, saying Corsi understood Stone “to be in regular contact with senior members of the Trump campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J Trump”.
Corsi said in an interview on Wednesday:
Ted Malloch and I were in touch. Roger Stone wanted Malloch to go and see Julian Assange and I did pass the message on. But to my knowledge he did not. I don’t think he ever saw Assange.
The activist claimed that he gathered information about WikiLeaks’ intentions from other sources.
The draft Mueller document accuses Corsi of lying to investigators about his involvement. It says the conspiracy theorist claimed to have declined Stone’s request for help over WikiLeaks, when in fact he passed the e-mail to Malloch.
Corsi has said in a series of interviews that he expects to be indicted soon and has rejected a plea bargain.
Earlier this month, a court filing by federal prosecutors unwittingly revealed that Assange has been indicted by the Justice Department on counts that remain sealed.
Trump Maintains Option of Manafort Pardon
In an interview with The New York Post on Wednesday, Trump said of a pardon for Manafort, a senior advisor from March 2016 and his campaign manager from June to August, “I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?”
Trump repeated his assertion that Manafort has been poorly treated by Mueller and his team.
On Twitter, Trump tipped off his concern about both Manafort and the investigation of Corsi, Stone, and WikiLeaks.
While the disgusting Fake News is doing everything within their power not to report it that way, at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief. This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2018
He said of the three men in the interview: “It’s actually very brave. I’m telling you this is McCarthyism. We are in the McCarthy era. This is no better than McCarthy.”
In a written answer to Mueller, Trump reportedly said that he did not discuss WikiLeaks with Stone. He also denied advance knowledge of a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between his top advisors — son Donald Trump Jr.; son-in-law Jared Kushner; and Manafort — and three Kremlin-linked envoys about provision of the e-mails with “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
But Trump’s lawyers are so concerned about the revelations around Stone, Corsi, and WikiLeaks that they refused to hand over the answers to Mueller’s team. They only relented after fresh assurances that the investigation will not move against Trump in the near-future.
Trump tweeted just before midnight on Wednesday:
So much happening with the now discredited Witch Hunt. This total Hoax will be studied for years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018