WASHINGTON (AP) — A political consultant and former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump says he communicated last year with an individual involved in hacking Democratic National Committee emails.
But Roger Stone says the conversations were “completely innocuous.” Stone told The Washington Times in an interview that his private Twitter exchange with “Guccifer 2.0” was “so perfunctory, brief and banal” that he had forgotten about it.
Last summer, emails stolen from Democrats were posted by an online persona known as Guccifer 2.0. U.S. officials believe that individual is linked to Russia. Emails stolen from the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign were later released by the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks.
The U.S. government later concluded that the Russian government directed the DNC hack in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election.
Stone’s acknowledgement of contact with Guccifer, however brief, could pose fresh problems for Trump, whose administration has been unable to surmount suspicion over campaign-season contacts with Russia. The FBI is investigating, as are the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Trump has denied knowing that any staff had communicated with Russia during the campaign. Trump recently fired Michael Flynn from his job as national security adviser after it came to light that Flynn hadn’t been direct about his own contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
In an email Thursday to The Washington Times, Stone denied having any contacts with the Russian state, Russian intelligence officials or “anyone fronting for them or acting as intermediaries for them.”