Speculation has swirled around contact between former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, who appeared to have advance knowledge of the 2016 Democratic National Committee hacking, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who later released the hacked emails.
Now, reports have surfaced that Stone told associates he in fact was in communication with Assange prior to the release of the DNC's emails.
An unnamed source told The Washington Post that Stone had a phone conversation with Assange in the spring of 2016. Ahead of any public knowledge about Democratic email leaks, Stone told the source he had learned WikiLeaks had obtained emails from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
During the campaign, Stone said in interviews and speeches that he was in touch with WikiLeaks, and he posted tweets in October 2016 that seemingly predicted the Podesta leaks. The Washington Post report suggests that in addition to these public statements, Stone was even more candid in private conversations about ties to WikiLeaks.
Former Trump campaign aid Sam Nunberg, who worked alongside Stone during the presidential campaign, alluded to such connections between Stone and Assange in a recent interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, saying, "At the very least, he is a subject" in the Mueller investigation.
But Stone wrote off Nunberg's assertion as a misinterpreted joke of sorts:
"Late one Friday night, when I was trying to get Sam off the phone, Sam asked if I had plans for the weekend and I said I was 'flying to London to have dinner with Julian Assange' -- a joke -- and hung up," Stone said, later adding that Nunberg "was too intense to figure out it was a joke."
"My passport shows I never left the country in 2015 or 2016 and surveillance cameras for a guy in a virtual gulag at the Ecuadorian Embassy show he never left there and I never arrived there," Stone continued, referring to Assange.