The Mueller indictment, returned Friday by a federal grand jury, said a dozen Russian intelligence officers tried to hack Democrats and aides to candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race. The indictment also named a “US person” who “was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump” and exchanging tweets with those same Russians.
In their correspondence with the “US person,” the alleged hackers were pretending to be hacker Guccifer 2.0, and asked whether the material they posted online (a turnout model for the Democrats presidential campaign) was of use. Stone responded that the information was “pretty standard.”
Stone told ABC News today that he believes the reference to that “US person” in the indictment was him.
“As I testified before the House Intelligence Committee under oath, my 24-word exchange with someone on Twitter claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 is benign based on its content, context and timing,” Stone said. “This exchange is entirely public and provides no evidence of collaboration or collusion with Guccifer 2.0 or anyone else in the alleged hacking of the DNC emails, as well as taking place many weeks after the events described in today’s indictment.”
Stone’s admission was not really a surprise. He published two screenshots on his own website in March 2017 of the exchange with the bogus Guccifer 2.0. The dates and message content match that described in the Mueller indictment.
ABC News has reported that Mueller’s investigators have contacted at least seven associates of Stone. Investigators are presumed to be searching for evidence that Trump or any close associates knew that the Russian government had hacked the DNC and gave them to Wikileaks for publication.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that no Americans are accused of having knowingly conspired with Russian intelligence officers. Stone has denied being part of any conspiracy or knowing that Guccifer 2.0 was Russian military intelligence.
“I’ve written a 5,000 word piece you can see it stone cold truth that argues against that,” Stone told ABC News last month. “But even if he was, my communication with him is ex post facto it happens weeks after the WikiLeaks have already published the Democratic National Committee emails and therefore collusion would have to be, would have to be chronological.”
“Leaking after the fact,” Stone added, “impossible.”