- Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
- Michael Cohen will tell Congress this week that President Donald Trump knew, when he was a Republican presidential candidate, that the GOP strategist Roger Stone was in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about a planned document dump days before the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
- According to prepared testimony that was obtained by several media outlets, Cohen will tell lawmakers that he was in the room when Trump and Stone had a phone call in July 2016, during which Stone allegedly told Trump he had just gotten off the phone with Assange and learned that “there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage [Hillary Clinton’s] campaign.”
- According to Cohen, Trump allegedly responded with something along the lines of, “Wouldn’t that be great.”
- Trump and his associates have repeatedly denied having advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime former lawyer and fixer, will tell the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that when he was running for president, Trump knew the GOP strategist Roger Stone was in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about WikiLeaks’ plan to dump thousands of hacked Democratic emails.
In prepared testimony that was obtained by several media outlets early Wednesday, Cohen describes an alleged phone call between Trump and Stone that he said took place in July 2016, days before the Democratic National Convention.
“I was in Mr. Trump’s office when his secretary announced that Roger Stone was on the phone,” Cohen will say. “Mr. Trump put Mr. Stone on the speakerphone. Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage [Hillary Clinton’s] campaign.”
The statement continued: “Mr. Trump responded by stating to the effect of ‘wouldn’t that be great.'”
Trump and his associates have repeatedly said he had no knowledge of WikiLeaks’ planned document dumps.
Stone, meanwhile, was indicted last month on several counts of obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and said he intends to go to trial.
Stone is central to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, particularly as it relates to Russia’s role in the hack of the DNC and the subsequent dissemination of stolen emails via the Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks.
In their charging document, prosecutors said that around June or July 2016, Stone “informed senior Trump Campaign officials” that WikiLeaks had damaging information about the Hillary Clinton campaign.
After WikiLeaks dumped the first batch of emails on July 22, which Russian hackers had stolen from the DNC, “a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact” with Stone “about any additional releases and what other damaging information [WikiLeaks] had regarding the Clinton Campaign,” the indictment claimed.
Afterward, prosecutors allege Stone “told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by [WikiLeaks].”
The indictment did not say who the senior official was or who apparently directed them to maintain a line of communication with Stone. But the revelation was the first indication that a senior Trump campaign official was told by someone higher up to actively solicit information about documents that the Russians had hacked.
Cohen is now the first individual to publicly come out and say Trump himself, then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ planned document dump.