Steve Bannon, former chief executive of President Trump’s first campaign, told jurors Friday he saw Roger Stone as “an access point” to WikiLeaks, which later released hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
Bannon appeared as a reluctant witness in Stone’s criminal trial in federal court in Washington, D.C. under subpoena and said he otherwise would not have taken the stand.
Stone, a self-described “dirty trickster” and Trump ally, was charged with witness tampering and lying to Congress about his attempts to contacts WikiLeaks about damaging material during the 2016 campaign.
On the stand, Bannon said Stone boasted about connections to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, regularly implying he had an inside track on WikiLeaks.
Stone also predicted that there would be information coming from the anti-secrecy organization that would be “hurting Hilary Clinton and helping the Trump campaign,” Bannon said.
“The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange. But Roger would be considered if we needed an access point,” Bannon said.
While Stone repeatedly “implied that he had a connection with WikiLeaks,” he never stated it directly, Bannon added.
Bannon said he had been interviewed several times by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential coordination with the Trump campaign.
He also appeared before a federal grand jury and testified before Congress about the matters.
His testimony came after comedian and radio talk show Randy Creidco told jurors that Stone pressured him into backing up lies he told Congress — threatening to take away his dog at one point if he didn’t play ball.
Randy Credico said Stone pressed him to “go along” with a false account of the operative’s contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.
“He wanted me to go along with this narrative,” Credico said in his second day of testimony.
Stone called a Credico a “rat” and a “stoolie” in a threatening April 2018 email.
“My lawyers are dying to rip you to shreds. I’m going to take that dog away from you,” he said in the email, which Credico read aloud in court. And while Credico testified he considered the threat “hyperbole,” he also said that Stone “plays hardball” and “I did not want to rile the guy.”
The radio host told the court he’s had his dog Bianca, a small breed known as a coton de tulear, since 2006.
“I have no wife, no kids, I’ve been around the dog for 12 years,” he said.
Credico has occasionally provoked laughter in court and warnings from the judge.
He says Stone used repeated references from the movie “The Godfather Part II” to intimidate him into either backing up Stone’s testimony to Congress or refusing to testify.
With Post wires
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