WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller's team believes a conservative author and conspiracy theorist tipped off Trump confidant Roger Stone months before WikiLeaks released thousands of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton's campaign, according to a document made public Tuesday.
The document, which was drafted as part of a plea offer to Jerome Corsi, provides an unprecedented window into an active part of Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Donald Trump's associates. It reveals that Mueller is keenly focused on whether Americans close to the Trump campaign had any foreknowledge of WikiLeaks' plans to release hacked material during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The document's contents were first reported by NBC News and a copy of it was posted online by The Washington Post. Corsi told The Associated Press on Tuesday evening that the document had been provided to his attorney by Mueller's team.
Corsi said the document, which mirrors similar ones filed by Mueller in previous plea deals, contains portions of emails he exchanged with Stone in the summer of 2016 about WikiLeaks. But he denied that he intentionally lied to investigators about the emails, and said that was why he rejected the plea offer, which would have charged him with one count of making false statements.
According to the document, in late July 2016, Stone asked Corsi to get in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in Ecuador's Embassy in London since 2012, and to try to obtain emails the group possessed about Clinton. The document says Corsi passed Stone's request to an "overseas individual." And on Aug. 2, 2016, the document quotes Corsi's response to Stone.
"Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging," wrote Corsi, who was in Europe at the time. He then told Stone it was time for Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, to "be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC," a reference to Clinton.
On Tuesday, Corsi told the AP that the email he sent Stone — which accurately forecast that WikiLeaks would release derogatory information about Podesta in October — was based on his own deduction and not the result of any inside information or a source close to the group.
He said he has never had contact with Assange and he didn't obtain any advance knowledge of WikiLeaks' plans.
Stone has denied knowing about WikiLeaks plans' ahead of time.
Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.