Since the investigation being conducted into the 2016 election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller began, many have wondered if perhaps a “smoking gun” would ever be uncovered which conclusively proves that members of the Trump campaign did indeed commit a criminal conspiracy with Russia to elect Donald Trump as president.
And now a new report from David Corn of Mother Jones would seem to provide just such evidence, in the form of text messages sent by Roger Stone, a senior campaign adviser to Trump, regarding a possible pardon of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who leaked hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the heat of the 2016 presidential race:
“In early January, Roger Stone, the longtime Republican operative and adviser to Donald Trump, sent a text message to an associate stating that he was actively seeking a presidential pardon for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—and felt optimistic about his chances. ‘I am working with others to get JA a blanket pardon,’ Stone wrote, in a January 6 exchange of text messages obtained by Mother Jones. ‘It’s very real and very possible. Don’t fuck it up.’ Thirty-five minutes later, Stone added, ‘Something very big about to go down.'”
If indeed Stone was in contact with the White House about a possible pardon for Assange, that would not only provide a direct link between WikiLeaks (which received the stolen DNC emails from Russian hackers) and the Trump campaign, it would also constitute evidence that Trump conspired to obstruct justice by keeping Assange silent in exchange for a pardon. As Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior counsel to Kenneth Starr on the Whitewater investigation, explained:
“If Stone worked with WikiLeaks on the release DNC emails, an effort by Stone to try to help Assange secure a pardon could be considered evidence of a conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
News of the Stone’s text messages comes just days after the Washington Post reported that a close friend of Stone’s, Randy Credico, recently testified before a federal grand jury that Stone had informed him in September 2016 that he had an inside source providing him with updates on what WikiLeaks would release in the closing weeks of the presidential race.
Mueller’s ultimate goal is to charge Stone and compel his testimony before a grand jury so that he can determine how deeply Trump is involved in the larger conspiracy.
At the moment, Stone is in the crosshairs, and the only choice he will soon have is to spend the rest of his life in prison or testify against others, including the president. Which would you choose?