- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2018

President Trump’s former campaign adviser Roger Stone pushed back Wednesday against a key finding reached by federal law enforcement and intelligence officials investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 general election, casting doubt on the origin of Guccifer 2.0, the suspected state-sponsored internet persona he admittedly communicated with during Moscow’s alleged multi-pronged interference campaign.

A lengthy blog post published on Mr. Stone’s personal website, Stone Cold Truth, asserts Guccifer 2.0 was more likely created by CrowdStrike, a private cybersecurity firm hired to respond to the Democratic National Committee breach in 2016, than Russian military intelligence officials as determined by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

“Once Mueller’s lies and the crucial details he omits are exposed, it’s much more plausible that, rather than being created by Russian spies, G2 instead was created by the DNC’s tech firm CrowdStrike,” reads an excerpt from the blog post.

Exceeding over 5,000 words, the post was published on Mr. Stone’s website days after the longtime Republican strategist and lobbyist announced the launch of a defense fund created to raise money for legal fees related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 race.

Mr. Stone admittedly exchanged private Twitter messages during the race with Guccifer 2.0, and he previously claimed to be in contact with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange around the time his antisecrecy group released internal emails stolen from the DNC and John Podesta, the former chairman of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Investigation into alleged election interference have determined that Russian intelligence officials created the Guccifer 2.0 persona immediately after CrowdStrike publicly disclosed in July 2016 that the DNC had been breached by likely Kremlin-linked hackers, and last month the special counsel’s office indicted a dozen Russian nationals in connection with related criminal activity.

Mr. Stone has not been charged by Mr. Mueller’s office, but his previously released Twitter messages with Guccifer 2.0 were cited by federal prosecutors in last month’s indictment.

A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment beyond last month’s indictment when reached by The Washington Times on Wednesday. CrowdStrike did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Mr. Mueller was appointed by the Department of Justice in May 2017 to resume a investigation previously led by fired FBI boss James Comey, and so far his probe has led to charges against more than 30 people, including Russians and former members of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Russian hackers breached both the DNC and Mr. Podesta’s personal emails in order to obtain correspondence subsequently released during the race through the Guccifer 2.0 persona and WikiLeaks website as part of a state-sponsored interference campaign, U.S. officials previously concluded. Russia has denied meddling in the 2016 race.

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