Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly considering whether President Trump’s former campaign adviser Roger Stone interfered with the Justice Department’s investigation into the 2016 race by sending potentially threatening messages to Randy Credico, a radio host and witness in the government’s probe.
The special counsel’s office has examined communications between the longtime acquaintances and is considering whether Mr. Stone, a member of the Trump campaign through 2015, sent messages that amounted to crimes including possible witness tampering and obstruction of justice, The New York Times and CNN separately reported.
Mr. Stone dismissed the reports during a television interview Friday evening, calling them out of context and “the late-night ravings between two grumpy old men who have been friends for almost 20 years.”
“They are friendly, they’re vulgar, they’re vicious, they’re nasty, they’re ribald, but they’re not serious, therefore they’d have to be seen in context,” Mr. Stone told CNN.
The New York Times first reported on Thursday that Mr. Mueller’s office is examining text messages and emails sent between the former Trump campaign adviser and Mr. Credico, a radio host and comedian connected to the probe courtesy of his connection to the WikiLeaks website, and CNN subsequently published several specific expletive-laden excerpts.
“Waste of your time — tell him to go [expletive] himself,” Mr. Stone messaged Mr. Credico after learning that the latter received a subpoena from the special counsel’s office, CNN reported.
“You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds,” Mr. Stone wrote in another. “I’m going to take that dog away from you. Not a [expletive] thing you can do about it either because you are a weak broke piece of [expletive].”
A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment, CNN reported.
“Communications between Randy and Roger Stone to the extent that we have them have been provided to the special counsel,” said Martin Stolar, a lawyer for Mr Credico. “I’m not going to confirm the contents of any of them.”
“These cannot be taken seriously,” Mr. Stone told CNN, adding that there “was no effort to intimidate or coerce Randy Credico to do anything other than the truth.”
Mr. Stone, a 66-year-old longtime political strategist and lobbyist, has faced scrutiny as a result of making several comments during the 2016 race predicting the publication by WikiLeaks of documents damaging to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and investigators in the special counsel’s office probing allegations of Russian election meddling are reportedly considering whether he was involved in their release.
He has repeatedly denied receiving advance notice of the content, source or timing of the leaked material, and he previously said that his predictions were based on Mr. Credico privately corroborating public statements made by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prior to their release.
Mr. Credico, 64, interviewed Mr. Assange several times in the past and has personally visited him at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the WikiLeaks publisher’s residence since 2012. He was subpoenaed by the special counsel’s office earlier this year and was interviewed by investigators on Sept. 7.
Russian hackers sourced Democratic materials released by WikiLeaks and other outlets while waging a state-sponsored interference campaign targeting the 2016 race, according to U.S. officials, and Mr. Mueller’s office is investigating related matters including possibles links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
The White House and Kremlin have denied colluding during the 2016 race.
The special counsel’s office has brought charges against more than 30 people since Mr. Mueller was appointed to lead the probe in May 2017, including several former members of the Trump election campaign and alleged Russian hackers.
Mr. Stone has not been charged by Mr. Mueller’s office, but roughly a dozen people questioned by the special counsel’s team said he was discussed by investigators, Mr. Credico included.