Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone is downplaying his contacts with Russian intelligence officers who hacked Democratic targets during the 2016 presidential election. Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted on Friday as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
During the election, Stone communicated over Twitter with an entity called Guccifer 2.0. Guccifer 2.0 presented himself as a lone Romanian hacker, but was actually a front for Russian intelligence, according to Mueller’s indictment and March reporting from The Daily Beast.
“As I testified before the House intelligence committee under oath, my 24-word exchange with someone on Twitter claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 is benign based on its content, context, and timing,” Stone told The Daily Beast. “This exchange is entirely public and provides no evidence of collaboration or collusion with Guccifer 2.0 or anyone else in the alleged hacking of the DNC emails, as well as taking place many weeks after the events described in today’s indictment.”
Stone and Guccifer 2.0 had a short conversation via Twitter direct messaging on August 14, 2016. He posted screenshots of the conversation on his website. According to the Washington Post, Stone and Guccifer communicated again on Sept. 9, 2016.