On March 17, 2017, WikiLeaks tweeted that it had never communicated with Roger Stone, a longtime confidant and informal adviser to President Donald Trump. In his interview with the House Intelligence Committee last September, Stone, who testified under oath, told lawmakers that he had communicated with WikiLeaks via an “intermediary,” whom he identified only as a “journalist.” He declined to reveal that person’s identity to the committee, he told reporters later.
Private Twitter messages obtained by The Atlantic show that Stone and WikiLeaks, a radical-transparency group, communicated directly on October 13, 2016—and that WikiLeaks sought to keep its channel to Stone open after Trump won the election. The existence of the secret correspondence marks yet another strange twist in the White House’s rapidly swelling Russia scandal. Stone and Trump have been friends for decades, which raises key questions about what the president knew about Stone’s interactions with Wikileaks during the campaign. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The depth of Stone’s relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange has been closely scrutinized by congressional investigators examining whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia—or anyone serving as a cut-out for Moscow—to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Stone confirmed the authenticity of the messages, but called them “ridiculously out of context” and “a paste up.” He said that he provided the complete exchange to the House Intelligence Committee, but did not immediately respond to a request to provide his own record of the conversation to The Atlantic.