Tags: Roger Stone | house | intelligence | committee | stevebannon

Stone Predicts Discrepancy in Bannon Testimonies

roger stone shows the victory sign outside of a courthouse
Roger Stone, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, leaves the Federal Courthouse on Jan. 25, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 10 May 2020 02:41 PM

As he awaits the beginning of his 40-month prison sentence – barring a delay on appeal or a potential presidential pardon – Roger Stone predicted, accurately, key 2019 court testimony by former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon did not jibe with what Bannon told the House Intelligence Committee in 2018.

"Steve Bannon testified that he and I spoke regularly about WikiLeaks," Stone told "Coast to Coast AM" with George Noory, referring to Bannon's trial testimony before the pending release of House Intelligence investigation interview transcripts.

"I'll be very anxious to see whether what Steve told the committee under oath is different than what he said on the stand, because he and I never discussed WikiLeaks – although, according to him, we discussed it in every conversation and that I was viewed in the campaign as the access point to WikiLeaks, which would be news to me."

It turns out, Stone has a point here. Bannon not only denied talking about WikiLeaks with Stone, he denied much contact with Stone at all until after the election. It is a key point, because Stone was investigated for allegations of pre-election WikiLeaks activity, not about talking about WikiLeaks after the election.

Bannon's Nov. 19, 2019 testimony in Stone's trial does appear to be subtly different, if not conflicting, from what appears in the recently released transcripts from House Intelligence Committee interviews over two days: Jan. 16, 2018, and Feb. 15, 2018.

"The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange, but Roger would be considered, if we needed, an access point – an access point because he had implied or told me that he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange," Bannon testified Nov. 19, 2019.

That trial ultimately led to Stone's 40-month sentence for lying to Congress, obstruction of Congress, and witness tampering, and Bannon's testimony was key in establishing the legal basis of the lying to Congress.

But Bannon made no such claims to the House Intelligence Committee investigators in 2018, according to the transcripts released late this week.

To then Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., Bannon said (pages 54 and 55):

"Gowdy: Do you have any evidence that anyone connected officially with the campaign of Donald Trump in either the primary or the general election had foreknowledge that the DNC server or John Podesta's emails would be hacked?

Bannon: No.

Gowdy: Do you have any evidence, regardless of the source and regardless of whether or not you even believed it at the time, that anyone unofficially connected to the Donald Trump campaign, a hanger-on, someone who represented himself or herself as being part of the campaign but really was not, that they had fore or preknowledge that the DNC server or John Podesta's email would be hacked?

Bannon: No.

Gowdy: Do you know whether Roger Stone sent anyone to talk to Julian Assange?

Bannon: Sent anyone from the campaign or sent anyone?

Gowdy: Period.

Bannon: No.

Gowdy: Have you ever had a conversation with Roger Stone about sending someone to talk to Julian Assange?

Bannon: No.

Gowdy: Did the campaign send anyone to talk to Julian Assange?

Bannon: No.

Gowdy: Was the campaign in contact with WikiLeaks or Julian Assange up until the day of the election?

Bannon: Not to my knowledge."

Then, on pages 148-149, Bannon referenced the now-infamous "half-baked" quip on WikiLeaks campaign contacts: "If somebody told me they were going to call up Julian Assange, I'd say that's ridiculous. It's a half-baked idea. It's the definition of a half-baked idea."

Bannon added to Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., (page 155), when asked about Donald Trump Jr. talking to him about WikiLeaks: " I don't specifically remember, but a lot of people were talking about the – the – you know, just in passing, the WikiLeaks, you know, Podesta emails, things like that."

In the transcript, Bannon did refuse to answer the questions about contacts about WikiLeaks after Nov. 8, 2016 because of the potentially privileged presidential transition and administration information.

Asked by Swalwell: "Were you aware of anyone else other than Donald Jr. being in contact with WikiLeaks?"

Bannon replied: "No. I'm not – that presupposes he was in contact with WikiLeaks off this. I'm not agreeing to that. I don't think that says this."

Also, specifically on the volume of calls between Bannon and Stone, Bannon testified to Swalwell: "I don't remember ever talking to him at all, but I think I may have taken a call after I was first there. Been one time, maybe saw a couple emails, but it wasn't – I mean, it wasn't more extensive than a congratulatory call and a couple emails."

Bannon did suggest he had contact with Stone after the election, but he refused to talk about transition and administration timeline topics (pages 239-240) under examination by Swalwell and then-ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif.:

"Swalwell: Did you ever talk to Roger Stone after the campaign?

Bannon: Yes.

Swalwell: How many times?

Bannon: Well, that goes into the transition and things, so I can't – on advice of counsel and the White House, I'm not going to talk about that.

Swalwell: Have you talked to Roger Stone since you left the White House?

Bannon: Yes.

Swalwell: How many times?

Bannon: A half a dozen.

Swalwell: Have you talked to Roger Stone since you left the White House about the Russia investigation?

Bannon: Never. He named me the top of his worst-dressed list.

Swalwell: He's got a book coming out that will help all of us, I understand. I yield back to the ranking member.

Schiff: Thank you. Just a clarification on Roger Stone, Are you able to share what conversation you had with Roger Stone after you left the White House?

Bannon: Yes.

Schiff: And what did they involve?

Bannon: You know, normal things on what's happened politically. You know, I met with him one time and talked to him, you know, four or five times on the phone, I think.

Schiff: And did Mr. Stone ever discuss with you at that time or at any other time his communications with WikiLeaks?

Bannon: No.

Schiff: Or his communications with Julian Assange?

Bannon: No.

Schiff: Never raised that with you?

Bannon: Never mentioned it.

Schiff: How about his communications with Guccifer 2.0?

Bannon: No."

Then, in the ensuring Bannon return to Congress the next month in 2018:

"Schiff: Were you ever contacted by WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, or anyone with the organization after November 8th?

Bannon: No.

Schiff: Did you ever discuss whether others in the administration or campaign were in communication with WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, or anyone associated with the organization?

Bannon: That's not an authorized question; I can't answer.

Schiff: Did you ever discuss with the president-elect campaign contacts with WikiLeaks or Julian Assange?

Bannon: It's not an authorized question; I can't answer it.

Schiff: Did you ever discuss with President Trump campaign contacts with WikiLeaks or Julian Assange?

Bannon: It's not an authorized question; I can't answer it."

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As he awaits the beginning of his 40-month prison sentence - barring a delay on appeal or a potential presidential pardon - Roger Stone predicted, accurately, key 2019 court testimony by former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon did not jibe with what Bannon told the...
house, intelligence, committee, stevebannon
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2020-41-10
Sunday, 10 May 2020 02:41 PM
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