- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 15, 2016

Former Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone on Friday denied working with WikiLeaks and the Russian government to sabotage the presidential campaign of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton as concerns swell over the Republican strategist’s potential ties with either.

Amid calls for a federal investigation over the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia and WikiLeaks, Mr. Stone told Politico on Friday that he’d happily explain to the FBI that he hasn’t colluded with either.

“I have not” heard from the FBI, Mr. Stone said. “But I’d be happy to cooperate if they decided to call me.” Mr. Stone, formally ended his relationship with the Trump campaign in Aug. 2015, but remains a close confidant and ally to the Republican candidate for president.

John Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chair, confirmed earlier this week that he’s been speaking with the FBI after his personal email account was compromised and its contents published by WikiLeaks. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Mr. Podesta said that tweets authored by Mr. Stone ahead of the document dump gave him reason to believe the Trump campaign had at a minimum prior knowledge of the leaks.

“I think it’s a reasonable assumption to — or at least a reasonable conclusion — that Mr. Stone had advance warning and the Trump campaign had advance warning about what [WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange] was going to do … I think there’s at least a reasonable belief that Mr. Assange may have passed this information onto Mr. Stone,” he said. 

Democrats have since called for a formal investigation into any ties between the Trump camp and a broader cybercampaign waged against multiple facets of the Democratic Party in the run up to next month’s election. Responding Friday, Mr. Stone denied connections with the apparent Kremlin operation and the subsequent publication by WikiLeaks of Mr. Podesta’s emails.

“No, I don’t work for the Russians. I don’t work for the Russian intelligence. I have no Russian clients. I’ve not received any money from Russia directly or indirectly. It’s a dead end,” he told Politico. “I’ve spent my entire political career as an anti-communist.”

“I’m not orchestrating the activities or disclosures of WikiLeaks,” he continued, adding that those who accuse him otherwise are “partisan hacks with not a leg to stand on.”

Mr. Stone previously describing having “mutual friends” with Mr. Assange – “one of the great freedom fighters in the world today,” he said during an August interview. Speaking to Politico, however, he acknowledged he has neither met nor spoken with the WikiLeaks publisher.

The Obama administration last week said in a statement it’s “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations,” and that recent disclosures by WikiLeaks published prior to the Podesta dump were “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.” Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by saying hacking the U.S. wasn’t in his nation’s interests.

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