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Cohen’s Explosive Testimony on Trump and Wikileaks puts Farage back in the Spotlight

Roger Stone’s speakerphone conversation with Trump about Wikileaks and hacked emails coincides with a secretive meeting between Stone and Nigel Farage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that year.

Cohen’s Explosive Testimony on Trump and Wikileaks Puts Farage back in the Spotlight

Roger Stone’s overheard speakerphone conversation about Wikileaks and hacked emails coincides with a secretive meeting between the Trump adviser and Nigel Farage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that year

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Among the many extraordinary allegations Michael Cohen plans to publicise today in Congress is one that puts the President at the centre of the Mueller investigation into Russian hacking and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

In his prepared remarks Cohen recalls an overheard conversation between Trump and his long-term advisor Roger Stone:

“In July 2016, days before the Democratic convention, I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone. Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”

The timeline of this alleged conversation is important. Julian Assange had been holed up in Ecuador’s UK Embassy in Knightsbridge since 2012. When Stone was arrested three weeks ago, his indictment revealed he had a variety of direct and indirect routes to Assange including a ‘friend in London’.

The DNC Hack in July 2016

The timeline of this first major data dump – the DNC hacks – puts Nigel Farage in the centre of the storm about alleged collusion with Russian hackers.

In April and May 2016, Russian hackers stole large numbers of files from the Democratic National Committee’s network and email servers, and Trump adviser Roger Stone began interacting with Julian Assange in the spring, according to The Washington Post. By June 12 Assange himself was telling ITV that Wikileaks had Clinton emails which could be used to indict the democratic candidate.

Three days later, Russian intelligence created a fake Romanian persona, Guccifer 2.0, and used the cut-out to start leaking the hacked material.

Both Stone and Assange attempted to make contact with Guccifer 2.0. Wikileaks hoped the stolen documents could stir dissension between supporters of Hilary Clinton and Bernie Saunders and asked to review and distribute the hacked material because Wikileaks “would have a much higher impact than what you are doing.”

The Republican National Convention took place in Cleveland Ohio, and the triumphant Brexiter Nigel Farage attended as an observer. Sometime between July 18 or 21, as reported by Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr, Farage had a secret dinner with Roger Stone and the Infowars host Alex Jones.

A member of the film crew who witnessed the meeting told Cadwalladr:

“It was the first time that Alex Jones, Roger Stone and Nigel Farage met face to face… What was so noticeable was how Alex Jones was so pumped up afterwards about the leaks that were coming. He was saying it openly on his show. And then days later, the DNC leaks dropped and blew apart the Democratic National Convention.”

On July 22 , 2016, a day after the RNC had closed and before the Democratic convention opened on July 25, Wikileaks started releasing the hacked material. The subsequent furore led to the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair, and internal dissension between supporters of Hilary Clinton and Bernie Saunders.

The Search for ‘Her’ Emails

After the successful impact of the DNC hacks in destabilising the Clinton Campaign, the search was on for more damaging material and Roger Stone was once more desperately trying to get contacts in London.

On July 27, 2016, Trump called on the Russian to release hacked materials from Hillary Clinton’s private email server which was a focus of congressional inquiries during the Obama administration.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump he told a press conference in Florida, adding: “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

(Russian military intelligence had been downloading the emails of Clinton’s Campaign manager John Podesta since March that year, but according to Mueller’s indictment of 12 GRU officers, they attempted to hack Clinton herself the same day as Trump’s plea.)

After the appeal from Trump, Roger Stone was even more eager to make contact with Assange. As the indictment of Stone explains, he was now beginning to use London based intermediaries associated with Farage rather than direct communication. (By this point the Russian hacking had become public)

On or about July 25, 2016, STONE sent an email to Person 1 with the subject line, “Get to [the head of Organization 1].” The body of the message read, “Get to [the head of Organization 1] [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [Organization 1] emails . . . they deal with Foundation, allegedly.” On or about the same day, Person 1 forwarded STONE’s email to an associate who lived in the United Kingdom and was a supporter of the Trump Campaign.

‘Organisation 1’ is Wikileaks. ‘Person 1’ is Jerome Corsi, an author who promoted conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth and was Infowars’ White House correspondent under Trump.

The ‘associate who lived in the UK’ is Ted Malloch, an America academic and author based in Britain and a close associate of Nigel Farage. In an email obtained by ABC, Stone wrote to Corsi on July 31 2016 – only nine days after the first batch of hacked documents were released – “Malloch should see Assange”. Malloch was detained by the FBI in March 2018 at Boston airport and subpoenaed by Robert Mueller

The Podesta Hack: ‘My Friend in London’

Who was Stone’s friend in London during the second major tranche of Russian hacking and Wikileaks dissemination in the autumn of 2016?

Farage has denied ever being an intermediary between Assange, Russia and the Trump campaign and has mocked suggestions that he ever handed over any data. However, he did visit Assange secretly in 2017, and when challenged by Buzzfeed on the steps of the Ecuadorean embassy over what was discussed at the meeting just finished Farage said he couldn’t remember.

Meanwhile questions still remain about who was Stone’s London contact in October 2016, in the final days of the presidential race, when Stone clearly had information of a new product of Russian hacking – the Podesta emails. As the indictment states.

b. On or about October 3, 2016, STONE wrote to a supporter involved with the Trump Campaign, “Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.”

Credico, Corsi and Malloch have denied being the ‘friend in London’ at the time, and Farage has not responded to multiple requests to comment. Meanwhile, another Farage associate was involved in discussions about the long-awaited ‘October Suprise’ over the Podesta emails.

c. On or about October 4, 2016, STONE told a high-ranking Trump Campaign official that the head of Organization 1 had a “[s]erious security concern” but would release “a load every week going forward.”

The unnamed ‘high ranking Trump campaign official’ has been confirmed as Steve Bannon, who was not only running the Presidential campaign by then, but had been a supporter and friend of Farage’s for the previous five years. After the unexpected victory of the Leave campaigns in the European Referendum that summer Farage had raised a toast to both Bannon and his publishing company Breitbart for making Brexit happen. “Well done, Bannon. Well done, Breitbart,” Farage said: “You helped with this. Hugely.”

Wikileaks began publishing hacked emails of Democratic chairman John Podesta only hours after the release of the Access Hollywood tapes, and the hacked material rapidly changed the news cycle away from questions of sexual assault. One of Bannon’s associates working on Breitbart sent a text message to Stone saying “well done.”

These three Farage connections – Stone, Malloch, Bannon – over Wikileaks dissemination of Russian hacked material, are key to the whole Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the US presidential election and possible collusion by associates of Donald Trump.

Cohen’s admissions only make the focus on that more intense, and put the role of Farage during the campaign under a sharper spotlight.

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