Roger Stone has replied to a Tuesday report that Jerome Corsi's research on the Podesta brothers was designed as a cover story for Stone's apparent foreknowledge of the WikiLeaks publication of John Podesta's emails.
Responding in a Daily Caller piece suggesting that his friend "Jerry" is "simply mistaken," and maintains that he based his tweets on Corsi's yet-to-be-released work.
Go back and look at the reporting at the time. It was not until after the Podesta emails were released that my tweet got any attention. If the reports are true, Jerry is simply mistaken that what we discussed was a cover. Ask yourself: a cover for what? In August 2016, there was no investigation, no special counsel, no congressional committees, and no subpoenas. Why would a cover story be necessary?
Corsi told One America News that Mueller wanted him to say he was my conduit to Assange, and that I passed allegedly stolen or hacked emails to Donald Trump or the Trump campaign. Corsi said he refused to say it because that statement would have been false.
Despite all this, media reports indicate that Mueller deputy Jeannie Rhee, a former lawyer for the Clinton Foundation, ridiculed and badgered Dr. Corsi — a 72-year-old man — over 40 hours of interrogation. -Roger Stone
According to a report in the Daily Caller, Corsi has claimed in a new book that he has a joint defense agreement with President Trump to provide Stone with a cover story for a tweet which suggested that he had foreknowledge of WikiLeaks' release of emails which would be damaging to Hillary Clinton campaign manager, John Podesta.
Corsi claims he was also given limited immunity by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross - who has seen an advanced copy of the book.
The cover story in question revolves around Stone's August 21, 2016 tweet that it would "soon [be] the Podesta's time in the barrel."
Corsi testified that he and Stone hatched a plan in which Corsi would write a memo about the Podestas to allow Stone to cite it as the basis for his tweet. The revelation, if accurate, would undercut Stone’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that opposition research on the Podesta brothers’ business activities was the catalyst for the tweet. -Daily Caller
Stone has denied that he and Corsi concocted the cover story - insisting that his tweet was in reference to forthcoming opposition research on the topic. The longtime Trump adviser also noted that Corsi has not claimed to have email or text message evidence supporting his story about the memo. Stone also sent the Caller a series of tweets he posted before the August 21 twee which showed that he was following reporting on Podesta activities in Ukraine.
“John Podesta makes Paul Manafort look like St. Thomas Aquinas. Where is The New York Times?” Stone wrote on Aug. 15, 2016, referring to news articles alleging that Manafort, the chairman of Trump’s campaign, had engaged in illegal business dealings in Ukraine. Stone claims that he was researching the Podesta Group’s lobbying activities in Ukraine. -Daily Caller
On Monday, Corsi announced both his book's release and that he had rejected a plea arrangement from Mueller - stating that he would not plead guilty to a crime he did not commit. In his new book, Cosri says that his joint defense agreement with Trump's legal team was designed to conceal the cover story.
He claims that Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, suggested the agreement could be verbal in nature and did not need to be put in writing.
“This saved creating a document that might appear later in some relevant legal proceeding or newspaper article,” Corsi writes.
Joint defense agreements are common in criminal proceedings, especially when multiple witnesses and investigative targets are dealing with the same prosecutors. Trump has one such agreement with Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was convicted of tax and bank fraud in the special counsel’s probe on Aug. 21. Prosecutors often bristle at the agreements because they allow witnesses to exchange information about the investigation that would otherwise be limited by attorney-client privilege. -Daily Caller
Corsi insists that he and Trump's legal team entered into the agreement before his first meeting with Mueller's team on Sept. 6, after his first encounter with the DOJ on August 28 during which FBI agents subpoenaed him to testify before the grand jury.
Corsi's attorney, David Gray, was leery of the government offer - suggesting that it might make the Stone associate appear less cooperative to Mueller's team.
"During their phone conversation, Sekulow offered to Gray that the White House was willing to enter into what is known as a mutual defense agreement with us," writes Corsi - adding that under the verbal agreement "we and the White House would be permitted to share information privately about the Special Prosecutor’s investigation, with the goal of the White House and me assisting one another in defending ourselves."
Corsi claims that after a few days of mulling it over, Gray called Seculow back and accepted the offer.
"After debating the pros and cons, we had decided that anytime we could get the attorney for the president of the United States to offer assistance to us, we needed to say to be thankful and accept," Corsi writes in his book.
Corsi writes of one instance in which Gray, his lawyer, had contact with Sekulow. He says that he wanted Gray to warn Trump that “we had to assume the Special Counselor would have everything.”
“All emails, text messages, written notes, and phone records could be obtained by search warrant.”
“I wanted the president warned NOT to give in-person verbal testimony to Mueller under any circumstances,” he adds, expressing concern that prosecutors were moving towards a “perjury trap” against him for misremembering details about a July 25, 2016, email he received from Stone. -Daily Caller
Corsi, meanwhile, accepted "limited use immunity" from Mueller's team to avoid what he says would have been another perjury trap. The immunity discussions began when Mueller attorney Aaron Zelinsky - one of Trump's so-called "13 Angry Democrats" - asked Corsi if he was aware that Stone had testified to the House Intelligence Committee that Corsi's Podesta brothers research was the foundation for his August 21, 2016 tweet.
After interrupting the interview to confer with prosecutors, Gray informed Corsi that Mueller's team "had agreed to give me a grant of immunity for my testimony here."
"David explained to me that I could be criminally charged for subornation of perjury for my role in creating a ‘cover story’ about Podesta that Stone used in his testimony under oath to the House Intelligence Committee," writes Corsi.
Where did Stone really hear about the emails?
Stone's Podesta tweet indicating that he knew of the upcoming WikiLeaks release has been a central aspect of Mueller's Russia probe - with John Podesta suggesting after Hillary Clinton's 2016 election defeat that various tweets by Stone showed that the Trump adviser had advanced knowledge of the publication.
Stone has said in other tweets that left-wing activist and radio host Randy Credico was his source, as Credico is close friends with WikiLeaks lawyer Margaret Ratner Kunstler.
Stone released text messages on Nov. 14 that showed that Credico told him that WikiLeaks would release documents that would roil the Clinton campaign.
“Hillary’s campaign will die this week,” Credico texted Stone on Oct. 1, 2016.
“Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary,” Credico told Stone on Aug. 27, 2016.
Though Credico appears to be one source of information for Stone, prosecutors appear unconvinced by Stone’s public denials that he had no other back channels to WikiLeaks. -Daily Caller
Corsi has denied ever speaking with Julian Assange - instead claiming that he had begun researching John Podesta's business ties with Russians, and believed that the research "would make an excellent cover-story for Stone's unfortunate tweet."
He writes that in a phone call on August 30, 2016 that "I suggested Stone could use me as an excuse, claiming my research on Podesta and Russia was the basis for Stone’s prediction that Podesta would soon be in the pickle barrel."
"I knew this was a cover-story, in effect not true, since I recalled telling Stone earlier in August that Assange had Podesta emails that he planned to drop as the ‘October Surprise,’ calculated by Assange to deliver a knock-out blow to Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations."
Corsi emailed a nine-page research memo to Stone the next day.
“So you knew this was a lie when you wrote the Podesta email,” Zelinsky asked Corsi during one question-and-answer session, he writes.
“Yes, I did,” Corsi responded. “In politics, it’s not unusual to create alternative explanations to deflect the attacks of your political opponents.”
Corsi maintains that neither he nor Stone committed any crime.
“The evidence I provided against Stone was very weak,” he asserts.
“So, what if we had concocted a cover story to explain away Stone’s ‘Podesta’s time in the barrel’ email … So, what if Roger Stone used my cover story to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Roger could amend that testimony and Congress rarely pursues anyone for criminal charges of perjury,” he wrote. -Daily Caller
Corsi concludes: "Without the link to Assange, there was no ‘Russian Collusion’ that could be pinned on Roger Stone."