Just a couple of hours after Trump complained in a press conference, with UK Prime Minister May, that the “witch hunt” Russia investigation complicated his dealings with Russia, Special Prosecutor Mueller issued indictments against 12 additional Russians.
This is already being spun as not involving allegations against any Americans and not involving the Trump campaign. When one reads the indictment, it comes closer to the Trump campaign than is being generally reported now. Here are the basics.
The Indicted: 12 members of the Russian GRU (the successor to the KGB). The indictment identifies them as members of GRU Groups 26165 and 74455, both set up for this purpose of meddling in the American election.
The Charges: Computer hacking and fraud. Identity theft and money laundering to cover the conspiracy.
Purpose of the Conspiracy: Per Paragraph 20 of the indictment:
The object of the conspiracy was to hack into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, steal documents from those computers, and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
There are other players in this named in the indictment that will become important later in this discussion. They include:
DCLeaks: GRU front organization set up to leak documents stolen in the GRU hacking operation.
Guccifer 2.0: A second GRU front organization set up to leak documents stolen in the GRU hacking operation. The GRU given cover was that Guccifer was a sole Romanian hacker. However Guccifer 2.0 was never anything other than a front created by and for the GRU.
Wikileaks (aka “Organization 1”): Starting with Paragraph 47, the indictment discusses “Organization 1,” which it states received the stolen data from Guccifer and with “Guccifer 2.0, discussed the release of the stolen documents, and the timing of those releases with Organization 1, to heighten their impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
While always referred to as “Organization 1,” as discussed below, the indictment discusses specific releases of information, with dates, making clear Organization 1 is Wikileaks.
Paragraphs 47a and b discuss specific communications between Wikileaks and Guccifer where Wikileaks made some chilling statements. These include:
[s]end any new material stolen from the here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing . . . if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next two days preferably because the DNC is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after . . . we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.
The indictment does not directly allege that Wikileaks was aware of Guccifer’s status as a GRU front organization, but two things are clear. First, Wikileaks knew the material was “stolen.” Second, Wikileaks’ statement that it was a higher impact source than Guccifer suggests Wikileaks may have known that Guccifer was the Russian GRU. In addition, Wikileaks directly asked the GRU to provide the materials in time to disrupt the Democratic National Convention.
Something else suggests Wikileaks knew what Guccifer was. As Paragraph 48 of the indictment informs, Wikileaks made its leaks without informing that its source was Guccifer:
“On or about July 22, 2016, Organization 1 released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators. This release occurred approximately three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention. Organization 1 did not disclose Guccifer 2.0’s role in providing them.”
On July 22, that Wikileaks released 20,000 of the GRU/Guccifer hacked emails. That is how we know “Organization 1” is Wikileaks.
As the above quotes establish, Wikileaks worked with Guccifer to time the release of these emails for maximum effect, and the “weaponized” releases, just three days before the Convention, were devastatingly effective. The emails included evidence the DNC favored Clinton over Bernie Sanders, creating a split in the party just as it was attempting to unite. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was quickly compelled to resign and ramifications blistered the party and Clinton Campaign throughout the election.
The connection in all this to the Trump Campaign is Trump Campaign Advisor Roger Stone. Stone was one of Trump’s primary media surrogate faces starting in 2015 through most of the campaign.
As detailed below, Stone was deeply connected to both Guccifer and Wikileaks, a fact further reducing the chances that Wikileaks didn’t know what Guccifer was. The following timeline spells all that out.
August 4, 2016: Roger Stone emails Sam Nunberg stating he had dinner with Wikileaks head Julian Assange the night before.
August 5, 2016: Stone publishes an article in Brietbart fully endorsing the GRU/Guccifer cover story that Guccifer is just a lone hacker. In an article entitled “STOP BLAMING RUSSIA,” Stone writes:
“It doesn’t seem to be the Russians that hacked the DNC, but instead a hacker who goes by the name of Guccifer 2.0 . . . Guccifer 2.0 is the real deal.”
The truth is, and always was, that Guccifer 2.0 were Commands 26165 and 74455 of the Russian GRU. In addition, Stone tweets “Hillary lies about Russian Involvement in DNC hack -Julian Assange is a hero.”
August 8, 2016: Roger Stone brags to a group of Republicans in Florida that he has advance knowledge of what is coming from Wikileaks: “I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”
August 12, 2016: Guccifer tweets to Stone: “thanks that u believe in the real #Guccifer2.″
August 13, 2016: Stone tweets at Wikileaks and Guccifer that it is “Outrageous” that Twitter has suspended Guccifer’s account. Later in the day Stone tweets that Guccifer is a “HERO.”
August 15, 2016: Roger Stone exchanges Twitter Direct Messages with Guccifer. This conversation, appears in Paragraph 44 of the indictment where Stone is described as “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.” From that paragraph of the indictment, Guccifer started the DMs:
“thank for writing back . . . do u find anyt[h]ing interesting in the docs i posted?? On August 17thGuccifer added, please tell me if i can help anyhow . . . it would be a great pleasure to me.” On or about September 9, 2016, Guccifer 2.0, referred to a stolen document posted online and asked the person [Stone], what do think of the info on the turnout model for the democrats entire presidential campaign? The person [Stone] responded, [p]retty standard.”
For the record, we know that was Roger Stone because the conversation was previously reported by the press, and Stone admitted to it, but not until March 2017.
August 21, 2016: Roger Stone tweets “Trust me, it will soon [be] the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary”
October 2, 2016: Stone tweets “Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #WikiLeaks.” The message is widely seen as reflecting Stone’s advance knowledge of the October 7 release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks.
October 3, 2016: Stone tweets : “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon. #LockHerUp”
October 5, 2016: (Wednesday): Stone tweets : “Libs thinking Assange will stand down are wishful thinking. Payload coming #Lockthemup.”
October 7, 2016: WikiLeaks’ publication of Podesta’s emails began two hours after the “Access Hollywood story” is published (with the notorious“grab them by the pussy” tape).
October 10, 2016: Candidate Donald Trump shouts triumphantly to a rally, “I love WikiLeaks.”
October 11, 2016: Donald Trump’s son, Trump Jr., delivers a paid speech in Paris to a group supporting Russian interests.
October 12, 2016: WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump Jr., stating: “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us.” The message links wlsearch.tk, claiming it would provide a trove of stolen documents and further advises the President’s son, “There’s many great stories the press are missing and we’re sure some of your follows will find it, Btw we just released Podesta Emails Part 4.” That link was first created by Guccifer (the GRU) and given to Wikileaks. Trump Jr., shortly thereafter tweets this GRU link to the world saying “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”
October 14, 2016: Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence is directly asked if the Trump Campaign is “in cahoots” with WikiLeaks. Pence replies “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Quite obviously it is very close to the truth.
A Senior member of the Trump Campaign was in dialogue with the very Russian GRU units that hacked the DNC and the communications concerned those stolen documents. He was also in more extensive dialogue with Wikileaks. Wikileaks received the stolen documents from the GRU, with knowledge that they were stolen, and communicated with Roger Stone about them. Stone clearly had advance knowledge of many of the leaks coordinated between Wikileaks and the GRU. This indictment quotes communications between the GRU and Roger Stone.
If I had to guess the next indictment, it would be Roger Stone. Mueller continues to slowly close in on the Trump Campaign and that whole collusion thing.