Congress members investigating last year’s White House race have threatened to subpoena Roger Stone, President Trump’s former campaign adviser, unless he identifies the person who acted as an intermediary between himself and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange prior to the latter’s publication of emails damaging to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
The lawmakers overseeing the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Mr. Trump’s election told CNN they plan to serve the longtime Republican consultant with a subpoena Friday if he fails to provide the name of the proxy who told him that WikiLeaks planned to target the Clinton campaign during last year’s race.
“We have agreed to subpoena him if he doesn’t provide the information,” Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, told CNN Thursday. “We’ll see whether he’s willing to comply or whether we’ll have to use a compulsory process.”
Mr. Stone did not immediately return an email seeking comment Friday.
“We are working to comply by the deadline set by the committee,” Grant Smith, an attorney for Mr. Stone, told CNN. “Everything has been collegial and professional. There has been no threat of a subpoena.”
Mr. Stone, 65, repeatedly boasted last year of having “back-channel communications” with Mr. Assange, piquing the interest of congressional investigators probing WikiLeaks role in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Russian government hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee as well the personal email account of John Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s former campaign manager, in order to obtain sensitive internal correspondence subsequently provided to WikiLeaks and published online prior to last year’s election.
Testifying privately before the House Intelligence Committee last month, Mr. Stone told lawmakers that that an intermediary he wished not to identify had been in contact with the WikiLeaks publisher and confirmed to him that the antisecrecy website planned to release the emails prior to last Election Day.
“On June 12, 2016, WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange, announced that he was in possession of Clinton DNC emails. I learned this by reading it on Twitter,” Mr. Stone said, according to his prepared remarks published prior to his closed-door testimony. “I asked a journalist who I knew had interviewed Assange to independently confirm this report, and he subsequently did. This journalist assured me that WikiLeaks would release this information in October and continued to assure me of this throughout the balance of August and all of September. This information proved to be correct.”
Addressing reporters afterwards, Mr. Stone indicated he would ask his source for permission to disclose his identity.
“I’m not going to burn somebody I spoke to off the record,” Mr. Stone said at the time. “If he releases me, if he allows me to release it, I would be happy to give it to the committee. I’m actually going to try to do that.”
Disclosing the intermediary’s name “will help eliminate any questions people might have, and it just helps support the story,” Rep Mike Conaway, Texas Republican, told CNN.
“If we’ve got that name, then we can just evaluate what he said as a result of what he said, I think that will be helpful to the investigation,” he said.
The Department of Justice and House and Senate Intelligence Committees are all currently conducting separate but related investigations into Russia’s alleged conduct during the 2016 presidential race, including any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors. Moscow has denied meddling in last year’s election, and the White House has denied conspiring with the Kremlin.