Roger Stone was viewed as Donald Trump’s “access point” for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign, former White House adviser Steve Bannon has told the trial of the Republican fixer.
However, Mr Bannon did not say whether the president had actually ever relied on Mr Stone to deliver information from the organisation.
The former White House chief strategist under Mr Trump and CEO of his presidential campaign said he believed Mr Stone knew about Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails that WikiLeaks planned to release.
“I would view that as hurting Hillary Clinton and helping the Trump campaign,” Mr Bannon said.
On the third day of Mr Stone’s trial, Mr Bannon told the court that he would not have appeared “voluntarily” and was only testifying because he had been compelled to by a subpoena.
He testified that Mr Stone “never directly” told him that he was capable of getting information from WikiLeaks through an existing relationship, but he implied he had a relationship with Mr Assange.
Mr Bannon said he talked with Mr Stone roughly a dozen times through the course of the campaign.
Asked whether the Trump campaign sent Mr Stone to contact Mr Assange and WikiLeaks, Mr Bannon said: “Not to my knowledge.”
Mr Stone is on trial for witness tampering and lying to congress about his role in the WikiLeaks scandal, which prosecutors argue Mr Stone had arranged to deliver information on Mr Trump’s political rivals in order to protect the president.
Mr Stone was charged with witness tampering, obstructing justice and lying to congressional investigators and faces seven felony charges, including five for making false statements to Congress. He denies all charges.
Randy Credico, the radio host and comedian who was the subject of Roger Stone’s threats to “stonewall” federal investigators, dropped his playful act from Thursday’s testimony to share his exhaustion with Mr Stone’s intimidation tactics.
Mr Credico denied being the “back-channel” for Mr Stone to WikiLeaks. Mr Assange was a guest on his Mr Credico’s radio show in 2016.
Mr Stone’s attorneys argued that it was Mr Credico who had pressured Mr Stone, not the other way around, and that Mr Credico was the link to Mr Assange. Mr Stone’s attorneys suggested Mr Credico “played” Mr Stone by suggesting he was a “go-between” to Mr Assange.
But Mr Credico said he couldn’t get Mr Stone off his back. Mr Stone urged the radio host throughout 2017 and 2018 not to speak with federal investigators looking into Russian interference in 2016 elections.
Mr Credico’s two-day testimony and a tense cross-examination revealed his strange former friendship with Mr Stone, who allegedly sent him threatening messages including one against his dog and texts calling him a “rat” and telling him to “prepare to die”.