The following comes from the Wall Street Journal:
Learning that hacker “Guccifer 2.0” had tapped into a Democratic committee that helps House candidates, [Florida Republican political operative Aaron] Nevins wrote to the hacker to say: “Feel free to send any Florida based information.”
Ten days later, Mr. Nevins received 2.5 gigabytes of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee documents, some of which he posted on a blog called HelloFLA.com that he ran using a pseudonym.
Soon after, the hacker sent a link to the blog article to Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, along with Mr. Nevins’ analysis of the hacked data.
Now before we all go absolutely nuts, let’s remember that Guccifer 2.0 did not represent (him)self as a composite personality of Russian intelligence officers. In fact, the people who created Guccifer 2.0 attempted, awkwardly and unconvincingly, to deny that they were anything other than a solo Romanian hacker.
On June 21, 2016, in an interview with Vice “Guccifer 2.0” stated that he is Romanian. On June 30, 2016 and January 12, 2017, “Guccifer 2.0” stated that he is not Russian. However, despite stating that he was unable to read or understand Russian, metadata of emails sent from Guccifer 2.0 to The Hill showed that a Russian-language-only VPN was used. When pressed to use the Romanian language in an interview with Motherboard via online chat, “he used such clunky grammar and terminology that experts believed he was using an online translator.”
The Democrats asked the Republicans not to exploit the information that had been hacked from their databases and emails but the Republicans couldn’t resist. Yet, that doesn’t mean that they understood the true origin of the information they had received.
What’s proven here is that the Russians shared information with Republican operatives with the purpose of assisting them in winning the presidential campaign. What’s not proven is that the Republicans who received this information and exploited it were witting participants in a Russian influence campaign. At least initially, the recipients would not necessarily have had any special knowledge about the true nature of Guccifer 2.0. As Mr. Nevins states, “If your interests align, never shut any doors in politics.” Even to this day he claims he’s not totally convinced that the Russians were his source, and while that may be self-serving in the present it is more plausible when we go back to how it all began.
“I just threw an arrow in the dark,” Mr. Nevins said in an interview, adding he set up a Dropbox account so whoever was using the Guccifer 2.0 name could send large amounts of material. Later, going through what the hacker sent as someone who “actually knows what some of these documents mean,” the GOP consultant said he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.”
…DCCC documents sent to Mr. Nevins analyzed specific Florida districts, showing how many people were dependable Democratic voters, how many were likely Democratic voters but needed a nudge, how many were frequent voters but not committed, and how many were core Republican voters—the kind of data strategists use in planning ad buys and other tactics…
…In hopes of a scoop, he said, he reached out to Guccifer 2.0 on Aug. 12 after seeing a newspaper article about a hack of the DCCC. The hacker using the Guccifer 2.0 name had invited journalists to send questions via Twitter direct messages, which Mr. Nevins did.
Seeing that some of what Guccifer 2.0 had was months old, Mr. Nevins advised the hacker that releasing fresher documents would have a lot more impact.
More impressed after studying the voter-turnout models, Mr. Nevins told the hacker, “Basically if this was a war, this is the map to where all the troops are deployed.”
At another point, he told the hacker, “This is probably worth millions of dollars.”
“Hmmm,” Guccifer 2.0 responded. “ok u owe me a million :)”
Democrats, Mr. Nevins wrote, “spent millions probably to figure out who these people are that are conducive to their message and now it’s exposed for the other side.”
This is most definitely collusion or cooperation, but it isn’t the kind of witting collusion that people are rightly so concerned about. However, let’s look into how Roger Stone fits into this timeline. Remember, Mr. Nevins contacted Guccifer 2.0 on August 12th to ask for more recent information.
|8/8/16||Stone tweets that he had recently had dinner with Nigel Farage (since Brexit vote)||link|
|8/8/16||The Smoking Gun dates Stone’s “I actually have communicated with Assange” speech to this day, not the 10th||link|
|8/8/16||Politico dates Stone’s “I actually have communicated with Assange” speech to this day, not the 10th||link|
|8/10/16||Stone tells a local Republican Party group in Florida “I’ve actually communicated with Julian Assange.”||link|
|8/12/16||Stone believes Assange has emails deleted by Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills||link|
|8/12/16||Guccifer 2.0 tweets “@RogerJStoneJr thanks that u believe in the real #Guccifer2.”||link|
|8/12/16||Guccifer 2.0 releases the cellphone numbers and email addresses of almost all of the Democrats in the House of Representatives,||link|
|8/12/16||ThreatConnect announces that DC Leaks appears to be linked to Russian intelligence services.||link|
|8/13/16||Stone tweets that Guccifer 2.0 is a “hero.”||link|
|8/14/16||Stone engages in direct messages with DNC hacker Guccifer 2.0||link|
|8/14/16||The New York Times shows that $12.7 million in cash was earmarked for Manafort by the Russia-aligned Party of Regions.||link|
|8/15/16||Stone tells World Net Daily he communicated with Assange and forthcoming material will be related to the Clinton Foundation.||link|
|8/16/16||Stone tells Alex Jones he has “backchannel communications” with Assange who has “political dynamite” on the Clintons.||link|
|8/17/16||Bannon and Conway promoted||link|
|8/18/16||Stone says in interview on C-SPAN he’s in touch with Assange “through an intermediary—somebody who is a mutual friend.”||link|
|8/21/16||Stone claims he was hacked after speaking with Assange.||link|
|8/21/16||Stone says on The Blaze radio that he had “communicated” with Assange through a “mutual acquaintance.”||link|
|8/21/16||Stone tweets that “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel.” Stone later says his tweet was about Podesta’s business dealings.||link|
|8/21/16||Stone denies Guccifer 2.0 is connected to the Russians on local Maryland radio.||link|
To me, that timeline is a blazing five-alarm fire and I’m sure the FBI has been rooting around in that two-week span very aggressively. What did Roger Stone actually understand in real time? Who was his “mutual acquaintance” with Julian Assange? Did he really not know that the Guccifer 2.0 he was interacting with on Twitter and getting information from through Mr. Nevins was also the source of Assange’s dirt on John Podesta and the DCLeaks information? Why do all these threads intersect with Stone on or about August 12th?
You want to know what also happened on August 12th? DCLeaks released “roughly 300 emails from Republican targets, including the 2016 campaign staff of Arizona Senator John McCain [and] South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham” who were both vociferous opponents of Donald Trump. It shouldn’t shock you that McCain became a source for Christopher Steele’s “dodgy dossier” or that Graham is using his subcommittee chair on Judiciary to hound Trump. They know they were targeted right along with the Democrats.
Mr. Nevins was probably no more than an overeager warrior in the presidential race who saw an opportunity to gain an advantage. We don’t have to approve of what he did to acknowledge that it probably wasn’t criminal. But Roger Stone is another matter. I’m not willing to concede that he was similarly unwitting. As far as I am concerned, he has a lot of explaining to do about who he was talking to and who he thought he was talking to.
And let’s not forget that Trump asked the Russians to do more hacking. So, when they obliged it really shouldn’t have been such a mystery about who was behind it.