Robert MüllerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: The US should welcome Mueller's decision as head of the Russia investigation MORE continue to zero Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneHillicon Valley: DOJ Defends Chinese Tech Theft | Google employees campaign for sexual harassment The company's CEO vows to be "better" Feds fight cyber-attacks campaigns Bannon, former Trump representative, spoke with Roger Stone, WikiLeaks with Mueller: The Senate Senate report is seeking an interview with Steve Bannon, says lawyer MORE Speculation suggests that following the midterm elections next week, the special adviser could take an obvious step in his Russia investigation.
Stone, a longtime advisor to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCurbelo explains why he forgave the man who tweeted the threat of death. Obama accuses Trump of being a "political stunt" for border politics. The registration of voters in California reaches an all-time high before the meantime reaches MORE Anyone who has worked on his campaign for a short time is considered central to the question of whether members of the Trump campaign knew in advance about democratic emails hacked by Russian agents and then published by WikiLeaks.
Legal analysts say that Müller is probably interested in determining if the campaign helped coordinate the document store, and considers Stone the key to that verdict.
Stone, who publicly and privately referred to WikiLeaks during the campaign, has aroused Müller's interest in recent weeks and months.
The Special Counsel team interviewed several Stone employees and former representatives of the Trump campaign to investigate the links to Stone's links to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his knowledge of the hacked emails.
Stone vehemently denies having inside information about the content or source of the emails. He pointed out in an interview that WikiLeaks had "bombshell" information that would "simmer" the presidential race in October 2016.
Emails released Thursday by the New York Times showed that Stone was in contact with at least one high-ranking official of the election – Stephen Bannon – about the upcoming disclosures and expected that "every week a load would be waiting for me "when asked about Assange's plans. Muller's team interviewed Bannon last week, a source familiar with The Hill's interaction.
In public, Stone seemed to anticipate the release of material that would be damaged Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFBI Catches Another Suspicious Package Targeted To The Donors Steyer Election Countdown: Four Days Off In many states, the early vote surpasses the 2014 figures. Dems throwing their party under the bus are thrown to the control of the Senate to determine 10 house GOP seats most likely | Obama Struggles to Receive His Legacy The Hill's 12:30 Report – Trump Throws Iran Sanctions with Memes of the Game of Thrones 4 Days to the Middle | Toss-up race for the Senate fight | Strong jobs for October report MORECampaign in the weeks and days that led to the leaks of hacked news from John Podesta's personal account.
"Wednesday @ HillaryClinton is ready. #Wikileaks, "Stone wrote in his Twitter account, which has since been suspended on October 2, 2016. WikiLeaks released the hacked emails five days later, a Friday shortly after the release of the volume "Access Hollywood," in which Trump was heard. Billy Bush is heard accusing him of groping and kissing women without her consent.
However, none of his private or public communications appearing in the press shows him discussing the content or source of the documents prior to their publication.
In an editorial for the conservative news site The Daily Caller, Stone denied on Thursday WikiLeaks to publish the Podesta emails after the disclosures of "Access Hollywood". He also said that he had predicted WikiLeaks' releases on the basis of publicly available information, including a CNN interview with Assange in July 2016 and information provided to him by radio host Randy Credico.
Stone had previously identified Credico as his connection to Assange in an interview with the House Intelligence Committee. Credico has denied Stone's account and said his first interaction with Assange was on his radio show in late August 2016, after Stone had already hinted that he had a return channel to WikiLeaks. Meanwhile, Stone stood by his testimony on Friday and accused Credico of not being true.
Credico said in front of the grand jury in September and was questioned several times by the investigators of Mueller.
"The Müller team knows that my first conversation took place in my radio show," said Credico on Friday in a telephone interview. "Emails will confirm it."
Former election officials and Stone employees say he portrayed himself as part of Assange during the campaign, a detail underscored by The Times' emails. Some also claim that he may have exaggerated his ties to deal with the campaign after his defeat. Stone was widely described as a propensity to stretch the truth.
Former Trump campaign advisor Sam Nunberg, who volunteered to testify before Mueller's grand jury in March, was told by Stone in an email in August 2016 that he was dining with Assange. A remark that Stone later joked. Assange has been housed in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, making such an encounter unlikely.
"Roger emailed me and said he had met with Julian Assange," said Nunberg, who no longer believes Stone's allegations, said in an interview. "When he told me that first, Roger said they were releasing information about the Clinton Foundation."
"I think that was just a chubby, brave circumstance by Roger," said Nunberg.
Meanwhile, Assange publicly denied contact with Stone.
In the two years since the 2016 presidential race, Stone was no stranger to the WikiLeaks statement, an organization some of Trump's own administration described as "non-state hostile intelligence."
The focus on him deepened last year, after the US intelligence agencies had involved the Russian government in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Podesta hacks. The goal of Moscow is partly to help Trump to victory.
Stone also admitted that he had contacts with Guccifer 2.0, the Hacking Persona identified by Müller as the front for Russian intelligence agencies, but described the exchange that was made public as harmless.
Mueller's investigation into Stone is unclear, mainly because his investigation was being pursued behind closed doors, although a handful of interviews and subpoenas reaffirm his interest in the long-standing Trump ally.
Kristin Davis, better known as the "Manhattan Madam," is a longtime collaborator with Stone, who testified before the grand jury in August. Jerome Corsi, a far-right conspiracy theorist with links to Stone, is also reported to have been summoned. Stone's former advisor Andrew Miller is currently battling a grand jury summons and will return to the federal appeals court next Thursday.
"I think they wanted to get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 in this whole back channel," said Credico, who called Mueller's team "methodical" in his survey.
Legal experts following the suspicion that Müller is looking for evidence that the Trump campaign has somehow played a role in the publication of the hacked e-mails. Trump has vehemently denied that the campaign worked with Moscow, criticizing Müller's investigation as a "witch hunt".
"[Stone] It is part of this idea in return that the Russians have offered dirt to Clinton for a future promise to reduce or lift sanctions against Russia, "said Seth Waxman, a former federal attorney in D.C.
"Roger Stone's role would be how the dirt came out," Waxman added. "Was this a one-sided decision made by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, or was it entirely or partially chaired by the president or his team?"
Evidence of such a system could trigger a plot against Stone or others. It is also possible that Muller verifies the accuracy of Stone's statements to the House Intelligence Committee, as Credico claims that Stone was not truthful when he called him WikiLeaks source.
By Friday, Mueller had not reached Stone himself, according to one of his lawyers, Bruce Rogow. Public prosecutors generally do not conduct interviews or summons people if they are the subject or target of an investigation at that time.
Stone said he was "ready" to be charged by Mueller, "if that's the case." However, on Friday he predicted that nothing would happen if the Special Adviser made decisions on the basis of "facts or evidence".
"If their decision is based on facts or evidence, nothing will happen," Stone said. "There's no evidence or person to honestly testify that I've received anything, including allegedly hacked emails from the Russians, Guccifer 2.0, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Jerry Corsi or anyone else, and Donald Trump, who Trump campaign, forwarded or anyone else. "
When asked why he thinks he got Miller's eye on himself, Stone said, "Some people simply refuse to believe that I could bluff, hate and hype by using Twitter effectively to make disclosures, when they finally came insider knowledge. "
"I did not have inside information," he said.
A spokesman for the Special Representative's office refused to comment on Friday.