President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant and former campaign adviser, Roger Stone, confessed Friday that he had contacts with a self-described Romanian hacker, “Guccifer 2.0,” who claimed to have hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) last year and also allegedly stole information and passed it on to WikiLeaks.
Stone said he had “completely innocuous” conversations with the hacker, adding that “it was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it,” the Washington Times reported.
Stone wrote about the hacker in an article on Breitbart News in August 2016 and claimed that the Russians weren’t behind it. Following the article, Guccifer 2.0 contacted Stone through personal messages on Twitter saying, “Wow. thank u for writing back, and thank u for an article about me!!!,” according to details of the conversations obtained by the Washington Times.
Screenshots of Stone’s conversations with Guccifer 2.0 through direct messages on Twitter were first brought to light by the website Smoking Gun.
U.S. intelligence authorities have, on their part, concluded that Russian hackers were linked to the DNC hack and were also involved in rigging the 2016 presidential elections. The authorities and some other private cybersecurity firms found fingerprints that led them to believe that these hacks were planned and carried out by two Russian intelligence groups. U.S. agencies believe Guccifer 2.0 is an online persona adopted by a Russian hacking group.
“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a joint statement in October. Guccifer 2.0, however, denied any kind of links to Russia, according to Business Insider.
The DNC emails were hacked in June 2016 and Guccifer 2.0 revealed itself a day after the news of the hacking came in. The hackers wrote in an email to the Smoking Gun, “Hi. This is Guccifer 2.0 and this is me who hacked Democratic National Committee.” They also boasted about how the hack was “easy, very easy,” adding, “The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to Wikileaks.”
Stone said that the time he had conversations with the hacker does not necessarily collide with the time of the Trump campaign.
“Even if Guccifer 2.0 is/was a Russian asset, my brief Aug. 14 correspondence with him on Twitter comes after I wrote about his role in the DNC hacks (Aug 5) and after WikiLeaks released the DNC material,” Stone told TheBlaze on Friday, adding: “How does one collaborate on a matter after the fact.”