Roger Stone's Russian Hacking "Hero"
Trump loyalist communicated with "Guccifer 2.0"
MARCH 8--In the months before Election Day, a longtime confidante and political consultant for Donald Trump was in contact with the Russian hacking group that U.S. intelligence officials have accused of illegally breaching the Democratic National Committee’s computer system and the e-mail accounts of Hillary Clinton campaign officials in a bid to aid Trump, The Smoking Gun has learned.
The contact between Roger Stone, the Trump associate, and the Russian influence operation came via private messages exchanged on Twitter, according to a source. Stone’s contact was with “Guccifer 2.0,” an online persona that U.S. officials say was created by Russian government officials to distribute and publicize material stolen during hacks of the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Gmail accounts used by Clinton staffers like John Podesta, the campaign's chairman.
Though “Guccifer 2.0” maintained that he was a lone “hacktivist” committed to “fight all those illuminati,” a U.S. intelligence assessment concluded with “high confidence” that the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence service, was operating the “Guccifer 2.0” persona, which communicated through Twitter, a WordPress blog, and a series of burner e-mail accounts.
Asked if he had exchanged private Twitter direct messages with “Guccifer 2.0,” Stone said in a text, “don’t recall.” In reply to a question about whether anyone else had access to his Twitter account, Stone--who has called “Guccifer 2.0” his “hero”--said, “Numerous people who work for me have access to my twitter feed.”
Stone said he thought his “entire communication” with “Guccifer 2.0” “was on twitter for the world to see.” The “brief exchange was public,” Stone contended. The 64-year-old Stone, who revels in his reputation as a dirty trickster, added he was unsure that the “Guccifer 2.0” on Twitter “is really him.” With the exception of “Guccifer 2.0” replying to one Stone tweet and directing a second tweet at the Republican operative, their Twitter accounts reflect no public back-and-forth communication.
Stone has mocked assertions that Democrats were targeted by Vladimir Putin’s government, saying that Clinton and her supporters could not admit being hacked by “one person” because that “didn’t look sinister enough.”
The “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account was used by the hackers to publicize material stolen in the DNC, DCCC, and Gmail incursions. The account also hyped the publication of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s e-mails on Wikileaks and retweeted calls for support for Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In late-July, “Guccifer 2.0” began following Stone, the only Trump World figure among the small group followed by the hackers.
Beginning in mid-June, for nearly four months TSG had intermittent contact with “Guccifer 2.0” via the “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account and several e-mail accounts (from which hundreds of stolen documents were transmitted to the site).
In late-August, TSG asked “Guccifer 2.0” about contact with Stone. After wondering, “why r u asking?,” “Guccifer 2.0” then accused TSG of receiving reportorial guidance from federal investigators: “the fbi’s tracing me, reading my dm [direct messages] and giving u hints. no?” When further pressed, “Guccifer 2.0” said, “i won’t comment on my conversations with other ppl.” The self-professed “freedom fighter” added, “why r u so interested in stone? he’s just a person who wrote a story about me. or i don’t know some important stuff?”
“Guccifer 2.0” surfaced on June 15, a day after The Washington Post reported that the DNC had been hacked and that security experts concluded that the Russian government was behind the intrusion.
In an e-mail to TSG, the hackers wrote, “Hi. This is Guccifer 2.0 and this is me who hacked Democratic National Committee.” After bragging that the DNC hack was “easy, very easy,” “Guccifer 2.0” noted that, “The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to Wikileaks.” Attached to the introductory e-mail were an assortment of documents stolen from the DNC’s servers.
While “Guccifer 2.0” subsequently shared additional documents with TSG and other reporters (and posted stolen material to the WordPress blog), the most damaging DNC material appeared on Wikileaks in late-July, days before the Democratic National Convention opened in Philadelphia.
After “Guccifer 2.0” took credit for the DNC attack--as well as the provision of stolen goods to Wikileaks--the FBI opened a criminal investigation into the hack. As part of the probe being run out of the bureau’s office in San Francisco, agents have obtained detailed records for the “Guccifer 2.0” Twitter and WordPress accounts, according to two sources. It is unknown whether the account records were obtained via search warrant or grand jury subpoena, or whether federal agents have gathered enough evidence to seek an indictment against “Guccifer 2.0” or, perhaps, individuals connected to the online persona.
Records obtained from Twitter and WordPress--both of which are headquartered in San Francisco--would include IP addresses from which the accounts were accessed. But barring an operational security mishap, those IP logs likely lead to an assortment of proxies spread across Europe. “I took all the measures so that they won't track me!” Guccifer wrote in one e-mail to TSG.
Stored Twitter records, however, would include tweets and direct messages, according to the company. “Guccifer 2.0” also used ever-changing e-mail accounts (he corresponded with TSG from three addresses, including an encrypted ProtonMail account).
The FBI also has an ongoing counterintelligence investigation that is examining possible links between several Trump loyalists, including Stone, and Russian officials. That investigation, aided by a multiagency working group including CIA and National Security Agency officials, has involved the review of intercepted communications and financial records, according to press reports.
Responding to media reports about the counterintelligence probe, Stone recently told the pro-Kremlin RT network that he had read that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had approved the wiretapping of his phone calls and the monitoring of his e-mail accounts. “I don’t know if that’s true. I’m told that there’s a grand jury convened,” said Stone, who did not specify where he had learned about the supposed interception of his communications.
Among the Trump associates being investigated by the FBI, Stone has known the 45th president the longest. For more than 30 years, Stone has worked, on and off, for Trump as a lobbyist, strategic advisor, and political consultant. Stone, who urged Trump to run for president in 1988, 2000, and 2012, wrote in 2011 that the real estate developer was a “middle class phenomenon,” adding that, “The higher your level of education the more likely you are to loathe Trump.”
Like Trump, Stone is vain, vindictive, and prone to declarations untethered to the truth. Both men are protégés of Roy Cohn, the reptilian attorney whose career initially blossomed at the elbow of Senator Joseph McCarthy and ended in disbarment weeks before his death from AIDS in 1986.
Stone began working for Trump’s presidential campaign months before the Republican candidate famously descended Trump Tower’s escalator in June 2015. Two months after Trump’s announcement, Stone--who had clashed with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski--was gone. Stone told reporters he quit, while Trump said he fired the veteran consultant, who was paid a total of $50,000 for his campaign work, Federal Election Commission records show.
Though no longer on the campaign payroll, Stone eventually resumed contact with Trump, according to numerous media reports describing Stone as an informal advisor to the Republican candidate (whose campaign was briefly chaired by Paul Manafort, a former partner of Stone’s in a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm).
Four months after Stone quit/was fired, he got Trump to agree to an interview with Alex Jones, the crackpot conspiracy theorist. During that notorious December 2015 Skype conversation--broadcast live on Jones’s Infowars program--Trump told the loony host, “Your reputation’s amazing” and pledged, “I will not let you down. You will be very, very impressed, I hope.” Sitting at his Trump Tower desk, Trump also saluted Stone as a “patriot” and “tough cookie” who “has been so loyal and so wonderful.”
In light of Stone’s relationship with Trump (whom Stone paid a congratulatory Trump Tower visit in December), some of the operative’s campaign pronouncements have come under close scrutiny by federal investigators. Especially since Stone appeared to have an inside line on upcoming Wikileaks e-mail dumps.
During an August 8 speech, Stone said, “I actually have communicated with Assange” and then referred to a Wikileaks “October surprise.” Stone subsequently stated that while he had never met or spoken to the Wikileaks founder, the men had a “mutual friend” who served as an “intermediary.”
Days after Stone’s speech, he told Jones that he had been the victim of a hack targeting “My personal accounts, my business accounts, my political work, a number of my bank accounts have been accessed.” Stone claimed that the hack occurred “as soon as it became publicly known that I was in communication with Julian Assange.”
When asked about Stone’s claim that he had a “back channel communications with Wikileaks,” a spokesperson for Assange issued a flat denial: “Wikileaks has had no contact with Roger Stone.”
On August 21, Stone tweeted that it would soon be Podesta’s “time in the barrel.” Stone’s Twitter predictions became more precise in the days before Wikileaks began publishing the contents of Podesta’s Gmail account on October 7. On October 1, Stone declared that “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done.” Two days later, Stone tweeted that he was confident that “my hero Julian Assange” would soon “educate the American people.” In an October 5 tweet, Stone reported that, “Payload coming” and included the hashtag “Lockthemup.”
Stone also went on Jones’s show on October 2 to declare that, “I’m assured the motherlode is coming Wednesday.” He added, “I have reason to believe that it is devastating.” Stone also claimed that Assange was fearful that “the globalists and the Clintonites are trying to figure out how to kill him.”
Though Stone missed the Wikileaks release date by two days, Podesta told reporters that it was a “reasonable conclusion” that “Mr. Stone had advanced warning and the Trump campaign had advanced warning about what Assange was going to do.” During his October 11 remarks, Podesta added, “I think there’s a reasonable belief that Mr. Assange may have passed this information onto Mr. Stone.” For his part, Stone dismissed Podesta’s collusion charge as “categorically false.” When asked by a TV interviewer if he was being used to pass information to the Trump campaign, Stone replied, “No. I’m using them to write a blog that more people read than watch MSNBC.”
Like many of his supporters, Trump repeatedly promoted the Wikileaks disclosures during the campaign’s final months (and mentioned them at all three presidential debates). A few days into the month-long drip of Podesta’s 55,000 e-mails, Trump called the stolen material “incredible,” “unbelievable,” and “big stuff.” On October 10, Trump told a Pennsylvania audience, “Wikileaks. I love Wikileaks.” A day later he gushed to Bill O’Reilly, “Wikileaks is amazing.”
On October 7, one of the presidential campaign’s most consequential days, The Washington Post published the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video showing Trump having a lewd conversation about grabbing women “by the pussy.” About two hours after the video’s uploading, Wikileaks posted its first installment of the Podesta e-mails. That Friday afternoon also saw the release of a statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence about Russian efforts to “interfere with the US election process.”
The joint statement reported that the U.S. intelligence community was confident that the Russian government “directed” the hacking of the DNC, Podesta, and other Clinton campaign officials. Charging that “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement noted that the distribution of hacked material via “Guccifer 2.0” and the web site DC Leaks was “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.”
Like “Guccifer 2.0,” DC Leaks first appeared online last June and was used to house the correspondence of Clinton campaign officials who fell for a spear phishing e-mail. TSG learned of the DC Leaks site in a late-June e-mail from “Guccifer 2.0.” The hackers falsely claimed DC Leaks was a Wikileaks affiliate and later provided a reporter with a password allowing access to a protected part of the web site.
While Stone’s prescient comments about Podesta’s “time in the barrel” and the Wikileaks “motherlode” have justly prompted scrutiny by federal agents (and suspicious Democratic officials), the Trump associate’s contact with “Guccifer 2.0” is worthy of even closer review. Because while Stone’s claim of a “back channel” to Wikileaks rests solely on his shaky credibility, his admiration for “Guccifer 2.0”--Russian operatives peddling purloined goods--is well documented.
In an August 13 Twitter post, Stone called “Guccifer 2.0” a “HERO.” After the “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account was banned in response to the distribution of a spreadsheet containing the private phone numbers and e-mail addresses of hundreds of Democratic officeholders, Stone called the punishment “Outrageous!” and wondered, “why are those exposing the truth banned?” When Twitter restored the “Guccifer 2.0” account, Stone exclaimed, “Thank You, Sweet Jesus. I’ve prayed for it.”
While “Guccifer 2.0” was briefly bounced from Twitter, Stone declared that the “Clintonistas” needed to “censor their critics to rig the upcoming election.” Stone’s reference to “Guccifer 2.0” as a Clinton “critic” came after published reports had already identified “Guccifer 2.0” as a G.R.U. invention. Additionally, multiple cybersecurity firms had by then issued reports concluding that the DNC breach was the handiwork of Russian government hackers.
Stone’s declaration that “Guccifer 2.0” was his hero came about a week after Breitbart.com published a story by Stone which excoriated Clinton for accusing the Russian government of hacking the DNC. Declaring that Clinton’s “dishonest blame-casting is so dangerous,” Stone blasted the Democratic nominee for using “rhetoric that poses a dangerous threat to out democracy and even world peace.”
Stone then identified the “real culprit” as a lone operator using the handle “Guccifer 2.0.” While the exploits of “Guccifer 2.0” had been widely reported for nearly two months, Stone wrote that “our pathetic press patsies” had mindlessly opted to “keep repeating Hillary’s spin” about a Russian cyber attack. Stone, you see, took claims from “Guccifer 2.0” that he was just a Romanian guy with a laptop at face value. “The DNC being hacked by one person didn’t look sinister enough,” wrote Stone, who has no tech expertise or history of analyzing hacking methodology. “Time for the victim card! Blame the Russians! Blame Putin! Blame Trump!”
Stone’s piece on Breitbart--which was then still being run by Stephen Bannon--contended that “common sense” dictated that “if Russia were doing what Hillary says they were doing they simply would have gone straight to Wikileaks” with the stolen DNC documents. Which, of course, is exactly what “Guccifer 2.0” said was done, a fact Stone neatly avoided.
After posting the Breitbart story to his personal web site, Stone tweeted out a link to his 100,000-plus followers along with the claim that, “Roger Stone shows Russians didn’t hack Hillary.”
Despite Stone’s shoddy reporting and harebrained analysis, his piece was a hit with at least one reader: “Guccifer 2.0.”
In an August 12 tweet, the hackers wrote, “@RogerJStoneJr thanks that u believe in the real #Guccifer2.” This was Russia’s military intelligence agency saluting a Trump associate for his work as a signal booster when it came to the fiction that “Guccifer 2.0” was a Romanian laptop warrior battling the Illuminati. The G.R.U. was likely equally pleased when--the following day--Stone rushed to the defense of his “HERO” when Twitter briefly banned the “@GUCCIFER_2” account.
On August 16, Stone posted a link to a story he authored about how the presidential election could be “rigged against Donald Trump” through the manipulation of electronic voting machines. This piece of fantasy stirred “Guccifer 2.0” to reply directly to Stone’s tweet.
“paying u back,” wrote “Guccifer 2.0.” The hackers then retweeted Stone’s tweet on the “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account.
During the course of the presidential campaign, Stone, like Trump, denied that Russian agents were behind the coordinated attacks on the Democratic party and the Clinton campaign. It could have been anyone, they reasoned, from China to a fat guy on a couch.
But following a two-hour briefing on January 6 by the director of national intelligence and the heads of the FBI and CIA, Trump grudgingly conceded Russia was the culprit. “I think it was Russia,” was the best Trump could muster at a January 11 press conference.
Stone, however, is less convinced. Days after Trump’s classified briefing and the release of an intelligence assessment that identified “Guccifer 2.0” as a G.R.U. asset used to distribute hacked material, Stone dismissed accounts of “a massive Russian conspiracy.” In a blog post, Stone blamed “Clinton Cohorts in the media,” among others, for mounting a distraction campaign aimed at vilifying Russia and inciting a “global conflict.”
In mid-January, Stone even claimed that he was “poisoned to stop me from exposing the ‘Russian Hacking’ LIE” before a congressional committee. During an Infowars appearance with Jones, Stone said that he became extremely ill before Christmas and suffered “over 14 days of high fevers, delirium, night sweats, I had lesions on my chest and my face. I had extreme diarrhea. I had vomiting that could not be stopped with medication.”
The “general consensus” of doctors, Stone claimed, was that he was poisoned with polonium or a substance with the characteristics of the radioactive agent (which was famously used to kill Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko). Stone told Jones that “the conjecture of all the doctors” was that he did not receive “a large enough dose to kill me.” He went on to spin a conspiracy theory involving George Soros, David Brock, and enemies in the “Deep State” who manufactured “this Russian fraud.”
Jones said it was a “stroke of luck” that Stone did not drink the “full potion,” thus dodging a poisoning death. It remains unclear, however, if the polonium survived its encounter with Stone.
* * *
Trump’s presidential campaign and ascendancy to the White House have provided Stone with something of a late-career resurgence. While he relishes media pieces describing him as “Possibly The Most Dangerous Man In Politics,” Stone has long been marginalized in top-tier Republican circles. Stone, who splits his time between rentals in Manhattan and Ft. Lauderdale, has recently been limited to handling smaller campaigns in south Florida.
Running on the fumes of dirty tricks dating to Richard Nixon’s Committee for the Re-Election of the President, Stone has pivoted from being a political consultant to a media firebrand peddling books and other merch.
In the process, Stone has become a darling of the alt-right thanks to his nonstop disparagement of members of the Obama, Bush, and Clinton families. He is pictured in one of the most popular right-wing memes of the campaign season, a Photoshopped reworking of a poster for the Sylvester Stallone movie “The Expendables.” Stone, one of “The Deplorables,” is seen flanking Trump along with the candidate’s sons, Jones, Rudolph Giuliani, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Pepe the Frog.
Stone has delighted the Breitbart and Infowars crowd with a stream of misogynistic, racially charged Twitter slurs. He has called a TV commentator a “stupid negro,” a former Clinton cabinet member a “disgusting lesbian dwarf,” and labeled former Rep. Michele Bachman a "tranny" with a "mincing, lisping husband."
In a Twitter tirade this weekend, Stone called one female detractor a “stupid ignorant ugly bitch” and told a journalist, “go fuck yourself, u talentless asswipe.” These comments prompted author J.K. Rowling to tweet, “This man is an advisor to the leader of the free world. This guy, right here. #rogerstone.” Stone, no doubt, was thrilled to be upbraided by the creator of Harry Potter, who has nearly 10 million Twitter followers.
When confronted about his online antics, Stone has described the slurs as “intemperate” and “two-martini tweets.” But Stone offers no apologies, because smearing is like breathing for him.
An aging bottle blonde with an overbite and a suspicious hairline, Stone is a dandy who enjoys discussing his Anderson & Sheppard threads and the proper top hat to be matched with a morning suit. He is partial to vintage Jaguars and Citroens and his Instagram feed reflects his fondness for playing dress up.
That Stone has succeeded in marketing himself to the coarse Infowars and alt-right crowd is a testament to his talents as a chameleon and world-class media manipulator.
In 1996, Stone was forced to resign a top post with Bob Dole’s presidential campaign after the National Enquirer reported that he and his wife Nydia, now 69, had placed numerous ads online and in swingers magazines seeking single men and couples for group sex. One ad described Stone as a bodybuilder and included a shirtless photo of him with a black bar over his eyes. His wife is pictured topless in an accompanying image.
Stone initially denied placing the ads, claiming that they were the work of a “very sick individual.” But years later he admitted to The New Yorker that the ads were authentic, and described himself as a “libertine.”
Undaunted by the Dole disaster, the Stones continued swinging. In a December 2006 post on the Dark Cavern web site, the couple advertised for a male partner who “must be 22-40, lean, muscular and hung like a horse.” The ad, which included Stone’s Hotmail address, offered a graphic description of Nydia’s body and the notation that “Obidient husband shares her cunt.” Respondents were directed to “Contact me/us with a photo of face/body/meat.” The Stone ad was found on a meetup page for Florida swingers.
Dark Cavern (motto: “We unite black and white”) is dedicated to facilitating and chronicling sexual encounters between “black studs” and white women (usually while the husband looks on). The site offers recaps from couples about “going black” and has a section where “wives and studs” can suggest “new ways to humiliate the wimp hubbies.”
The news that one of their beloved “Deplorables” once advertised for “huge hung black Cock” might not go over well in alt-right circles, where masculinity, virility, and racial prominence are prized. In fact, there is a favorite pejorative used by Breitbartians when they sense that someone is weak, effeminate, or a supporter of someone other than Trump. If only Pepe & Co. knew there was a real-life cuck in their midst.
Since Stone has been banned from many cable TV programs, his relationship with Jones--and access to the conspiracy theorist’s large audience--has become central to his ability to maintain his profile and sell his slipshod books about the Bush crime family, LBJ’s plot to murder JFK, and Bill Clinton’s war on women. Stone and Jones even jointly marketed a Bill Clinton “RAPE” t-shirt (now marked down to $9.99 on Stone’s online store) and a Clinton rape whistle (available for just $6.99 in the Infowars shop).
Stone’s latest tome, a 363-page slog about Trump’s march to the White House, is titled “The Making of the President 2016.” Stone stole the book’s title from the late journalist Theodore White, whose four-book series chronicled the 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972 presidential elections.
Stone’s grave robbing is not limited to White, who died in 1986. He also publishes an “International Best and Worst Dressed” list, an annual compilation made famous by Richard Blackwell, who died in 2008. Stone, whose bio lists him as “Men’s Fashion Editor” of The Daily Caller, a political web site without a fashion section, this year named Yiannopoulos, Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, and conservative commentator Tomi Lahren to his best dressed list. Oddly, many of those on Stone’s worst dressed list also double as his political enemies: Hillary Clinton, David Brock, Michael Moore, and Lena Dunham. And, of course, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, whom Stone has delighted in denigrating on Twitter as “fat,” “stupid,” “borderline retarded,” and an “entitled diva bitch.”
While Stone promoted his books and merch during the 2016 campaign, he was also operating a pro-Trump Super PAC called the Committee to Restore America’s Greatness. Launched in December 2015--four months after Stone left the Trump campaign--the PAC promised to target Trump’s GOP rivals, particularly Senator Marco Rubio.
Upon learning of Stone’s PAC, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski branded it a “Big league scam.” Stone responded on Twitter, saying that he was “a volunteer” and was “uncompensated” by the PAC, which had just started to solicit donations.
But Stone did not volunteer for long, according to Federal Election Commission records. Beginning in March 2016, two Stone companies were paid a total of $159,000 by the PAC for consulting services and “voter fraud research and documentation.” The PAC, which was terminated last month, raised about $500,000.
Stone’s PAC paid $141,000 to Jensen & Associates, a two-lawyer personal injury firm in Costa Mesa, California. The firm is run by Paul Rolf Jensen, 58, an anti-gay activist and Obama birther who has previously represented Stone. FEC filings report that the payments to Jensen’s firm were for “legal and accounting” services provided to Stone’s PAC.
In 2008, weeks after The New York Times reported that Eliot Spitzer was ensnared in a prostitution investigation, Stone claimed responsibility for tipping off the FBI about the New York governor’s weakness for hookers. The claims of Stone, a Spitzer nemesis, were detailed in a letter that was signed by Jensen and purportedly sent to the FBI in late-2007. A copy of Jensen’s letter somehow found its way to a Miami Herald reporter, who noted that while the missive was addressed to the FBI, the names of the supposed recipients were blacked out. Which, of course, would make it difficult to determine whether the letter was actually sent.
Jensen’s letter stated that Stone learned about Spitzer paying for hookers from a call girl he met at a Miami strip club. The letter noted that Spitzer “did not remove his mid-calf length black socks during the sex act.” This tawdry detail, now lodged in the public record as if it were demonstrably true, reads like a trademark Stone fabrication, an allegation spoon fed to the media in a bid to humiliate a political adversary.
Stone’s tendency to exaggerate his accomplishments--and to take credit for things he did not do--once prompted GOP consultant Ed Rollins to say, “I don’t think you’ll find anyone in the business who trusts him. Roger was always a little rat.” Stone last year called Rollins a “talentless buffoon” and, in an appearance on Jones’s show, charged that Rollins was running a pro-Trump PAC that was a “scam” and a “fraud.”
What Stone forgot to mention was that the Trump campaign--at Lewandowski’s direction--had, weeks earlier, sent the FEC a “disavowal letter” stating that both the Stone and Rollins PACs were not authorized by Trump. When Lewandowski was fired by Trump last June, Stone rejoiced since his ex-partner Manafort was taking over as campaign manager. After Lewandowski was deposed, reporter Matt Labash wrote in The Weekly Standard, “Stone called me, singing ‘Back In The Saddle Again.’”
In addition to his Super PAC, Stone also formed Stop The Steal, a tax-exempt organization that, due to Internal Revenue Service rules, could raise and spend unlimited amounts, but was barred from supporting (or opposing) a specific candidate. Stop The Steal, Stone explained, was initially formed to help safeguard against Republican Party insiders denying Trump the party’s nomination. The group subsequently alleged that the Clinton campaign was
plotting to steal the general election--a warning echoed by Trump and Jones--and claimed to be arranging for independent exit polls to be conducted on November 8.
Stop The Steal, IRS records show, raised about $40,000. While the group has not been disbanded, visitors to stopthesteal.org are redirected to Stone’s personal web site.
For an organization purportedly dedicated to preserving the sanctity of the voting process, Stone’s group made a series of odd expenditures in December:
* Stop The Steal paid $4000 to Steven Gray, a North Little Rock, Arkansas resident, for “fundraising expenses.” Gray is the best friend of Danney Williams, 31, who claims to be Bill Clinton’s illegitimate black son (a story that Stone and Jones have vigorously pushed). Williams and Gray appeared together at a press conference before the final presidential debate in Las Vegas in mid-October. After announcing his intention to file a paternity suit seeking a DNA sample from Clinton, Williams was asked how he paid for the Nevada trip. Williams, a jobless ex-con, and Gray replied that they had saved their own money and raised other funds from neighbors. When a journalist asked Williams about his relationship with Stone--who wrote about Williams in his 2015 book “The Clintons’ War on Women”--Williams replied, “I don’t have no relationship with Roger Stone.” Stone’s new book includes an undated photo (seen at right) of him posing with Williams.
* On December 27, Stone’s group paid $3500 to Kristin Davis for “fundraising expenses.” Davis, 41, is a twice-convicted felon who has served prison time for running a high-end prostitution business and then for selling controlled substances. Davis, a close friend of Stone’s, ran for governor of New York in 2010 at Stone’s urging and claimed that she once supplied hookers to a rough sex-loving Spitzer. Released from federal custody in May 2016, Davis will remain on probation until 2018. The former pimp/pusher gave birth to a son in late-September (she says she was impregnated while serving the final portion of her sentence in a halfway house). Davis has declined to identify the father of her son, Carter Stone Davis. But she has said that Stone is one of the baby’s two godfathers. Davis and Stone are pictured below.
* Stop The Steal paid Alejandro Vidal $5000 for “fundraising expenses.” Vidal, a 31-year-old Floridian, is the founder of Freenauts, a hip-hop group whose catalog consists of raps about the “Clinton Crime Cartel,” the “Bush Crime Family,” and Williams’s plight. The group’s video for “Justice for Danney Williams” was released two days before the final Clinton-Trump debate and was heavily promoted by Stone, Jones, and their cohorts. Vidal’s web site reports that he helps produce Stone’s weekly “Stone Cold Truth” radio show.
* A Virginia PR firm headed by Stone pal Christian Josi was paid $3500 by Stop The Steal (and another $3000 by Stone’s PAC). In his Trump book, Stone credits Josi with running “the Clinton Rape T-shirt campaign for me,” a “crude guerilla tactic” that “Alex Jones then kicked off into the stratosphere.” Josi’s tasks apparently included running the “@ClintonRapeTee” Twitter account, which included a link to clintonrapeshirt.com (which redirected visitors to Stone’s online store).
Stop The Steal and Stone’s PAC also paid a total of $14,000 to Andrew Miller, a veteran Stone henchman who ran Davis’s gubernatorial campaign. Miller, who started as Stone’s chauffeur, has moved to California, where, along with his wife (another Stone crony) he is operating a medical cannabis firm that cultivates and delivers product to clients in Anaheim and Yorba Linda. Stone and Miller have talked about developing “Tricky Dick,” a pot strain that would honor Richard Nixon, who was born in Yorba Linda. Like Assange and “Guccifer 2.0,” Nixon is another of Stone’s heroes.
Stone has been surrounded for years by a ragtag coterie of operatives who execute the boss’s astroturfing and smear campaigns. One Stone sidekick was convicted of smuggling 19 illegal aliens into the country via a 25-foot cabin cruiser he piloted from the Bahamas. The man got his sentence reduced by providing federal agents with “valuable information concerning individuals involved in narcotics trafficking and alien smuggling,” according to court records.
While competitors like Rollins, Mike Murphy, Steve Schmidt, and Karl Rove handled high-profile GOP campaigns, Stone and his troupe mucked around with sleazier pursuits. When a south Florida TV reporter began probing Stone’s operation, Miller published a story on his Broward County news blog that claimed an unidentified “peeper” was on the prowl. The item was accompanied by an artist's sketch of the newsman. A pending lawsuit accuses Stone of smearing a Libertarian Party candidate in an election mailer labeled “SEXUAL PREDATOR ALERT.” The piece included a photo of the pol, his home address, and the warning that the man was a “sick twisted pervert” who was a danger to children.
A typical stealth Stone operation occurred in early-2015, just before the launch of the Trump campaign.
A proposal to pay $500 million for nearly 50,000 acres of land in the Florida Everglades was backed by environmental activists. But the taxpayer-funded purchase was not supported by the land’s owner, the U.S. Sugar Corporation (which, years earlier, had retained Stone to help kill a one-cent sugar tax earmarked for Everglades restoration).
While the land purchase had the support of actual Floridians, some of the opposition was manufactured by Stone, who stayed in the shadows. Tea Party Miami joined with a new outfit, Florida Citizens Against Waste, to oppose the land deal. The tea party group--which claimed a membership in excess of 26,000--was a shell operation founded by Stone’s longtime executive assistant. Florida Citizens Against Waste was fronted by another Stone crony and launched a web site at stopthelandgrab.org that urged citizens to join a protest outside the South Florida Water Management’s Palm Beach office. Signs would be provided, the group noted, and there would be “Free lunch afterwards.”
The “protesters” that subsequently showed up one Thursday morning were actually 50 members of a Broward County acting group who were paid $75 each (and learned of the gig via a Facebook post). Contacted by a Palm Beach Post reporter, a U.S. Sugar spokesperson said the firm had no involvement with the rally.
[Two months after Stone & Co. staged the Palm Beach protest, Trump announced his presidential campaign in front of a Trump Tower audience that was papered with dozens of extras who were paid $50 to cheer, wear “Make America Great Again!” t-shirts, and hold signs (which were provided).]
The Everglades land purchase was eventually rejected by state Republican leaders. Florida Citizens Against Waste--victorious in its public debut--quickly disappeared, as if there was no further need to ferret out governmental profligacy. As for the group’s web site, it sat dormant for a spell before ultimately redirecting visitors to rogerstone.net, one of Stone’s personal web sites. But in the last month, traffic was rerouted to a new url, floridiansagainstwaste.org. The web site urges the defeat of a new piece of Everglades legislation being pushed by Joe Negron, the moderate Republican who is president of the Florida Senate. Negron’s legislation is opposed by U.S. Sugar.
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Following his two-martini tantrum this past weekend, Stone received a 12-hour timeout from Twitter for violating company rules regarding abusive behavior. Stone, of course, decried the wrist slap as a move by the “Censorship brigade” at Twitter to “stymie free speech. Shameful!” Jones, a one-man force multiplier, quickly jumped to Stone’s defense. “If they silence him,” Jones tweeted to his 580,000 followers, “We're all in danger of loosing our voices.”
Since unspooling his tales about a) being hacked after revealing his purported “communication” with Assange and b) his miraculous survival after a polonium attack, Stone has frequently spoken about how patriots like him and Jones are under siege by the “Deep State,” the shadow government that purportedly is seeking to undermine Trump’s authority and legitimacy.
During one Infowars appearance, Stone disclosed that he was being harassed by the Internal Revenue Service. Stone said that he was being accused of failing to pay his 2014 taxes, which he denied. Jones replied that the IRS audit of his pal was “all part of a war,” adding that, “They’re pulling out all the stops.”
According to a series of federal tax liens filed by the IRS in Florida, Stone and his wife owe nearly $1.5 million in unpaid taxes. Several of the liens, which cover six separate years, were filed in Dade County when the Stones resided in Miami Beach. The most recent lien, recorded in mid-2014, was filed in Broward County since the couple had relocated to a rented home in Ft. Lauderdale. The liens remain active in both counties, where no satisfaction or release documents have been docketed.
In Stone’s estimation, investigations into campaign hacking are a “witch hunt.” Likewise, those calling for an examination of ties between Trump associates and Russian government figures are engaging in “the new McCarthyism.” It must be difficult for Stone, one of Roy Cohn’s golden boys, to make those claims with a straight face.
Like Trump, Stone is a master of distraction who prefers to avoid accountability, especially when someone else can be blamed. It would not be surprising if Stone chalked up the lagging sales on his new book to a conspiracy hatched by Jeff Bezos and Obama holdovers at the CIA.
As federal agents continue to probe “Guccifer 2.0” and the Russian influence operation, Stone assures reporters that his vindication is near. Of course, this is coming from a man who has long counseled clients under siege to “Admit nothing. Deny everything. Launch counterattack.” (7 pages)