US Congressman suggests Roger Stone may have lied about Assange

Washington: The top Democrat on the US House intelligence committee says the testimony of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone should be provided to Russia probe Special Counsel Robert Mueller "for consideration of whether perjury charges are warranted."

President Donald Trump associate Roger Stone arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2017.Credit:AP

The comments from Adam Schiff come days after US President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, raising questions about whether the Mueller would pursue similar charges against others eyed in the probe.

Schiff said on the American ABC's This Week that emails between Stone and an associate, Jerome Corsi, are "inconsistent" with the testimony that Stone gave to the committee last year.

Conservative author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi said he is in plea negotiations with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Schiff, who is set to chair the intelligence committee when Democrats take control of the House next year, suggested that others may also potentially be in legal jeopardy for providing false testimony to the congressional committee. There's generally a high legal threshold to prove such a charge, but he said "there are some people that I'm confident have met and exceeded that bar."

Mueller's investigators are trying to determine whether Corsi and Stone had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks' plans to release hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential effort. US intelligence agencies have said Russia was the source of that hacked material.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The website published the leaked emails.Credit:AP

But when asked by the same program on Sunday, local time, whether it was true that he had never spoken with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Stone said: "That is absolutely correct.

"I turned over one direct message to the House Intelligence Committee between the flack for WikiLeaks and I, in which he essentially brushed me off. That immediately leaked to Atlantic magazine, who then edited the context and published it. No, I had no contact with Assange."

Stone also said that he has had no contact with Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

"Again, where is the crime?" Stone said, when asked by host George Stephanopoulos whether the fact that he has not been contacted by Mueller's team suggests that he may be a target of the probe. "I engaged in politics. My purpose was to take a tip which I thought to be solid, and then after that to follow the WikiLeaks Twitter feed and set a Google news alert for Julian Assange and use Twitter to hype as much voter and media attention to the disclosures when they came as politics."

"You were in this business once," Roger told Stephanopoulos, a former aide to president Bill Clinton. "That's called politics."

A draft special counsel document revealed last month indicates that prosecutors are closely scrutinizing Trump's interactions with Stone, as Stone was allegedly seeking information about WikiLeaks' plans to release the hacked Democratic emails.

Documents drafted by Mueller's team as part of a potential plea deal with Corsi – which he has rejected – contained portions of emails he exchanged with Stone in the summer of 2016 about WikiLeaks.

In late July 2016, Stone emailed Corsi, asking him to get in touch with Assange, who has been living in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012, according to the documents. Stone said he wanted Corsi to try to obtain emails the group possessed about Clinton.

US President Donald Trump’s election campaign made the most of the leaked emails.Credit:AP

Both Stone and Corsi have denied any wrongdoing, and Stone has denied knowing Assange or being a conduit for WikiLeaks. He told The Associated Press last month that he had "no advanced notice of the source or content or the exact timing of the release of the WikiLeaks disclosures."

Corsi has said the email he sent Stone in reply – which accurately forecast that WikiLeaks would release derogatory information about Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in October – was based on his own deduction and not the result of any inside information or a source close to the group.

Prosecutors from Mueller's office had offered Corsi a deal to plead guilty to a false statements charge, but he said he rejected the offer because he didn't knowingly mislead investigators. He now says he expects he will be indicted.

AP, Washington Post

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