LONDON—Former Trump presidential campaign adviser Roger Stone paid a visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Wednesday where Julian Assange has been holed up for the last five years.
Stone is in Britain for a short speaking tour that will include addresses at the Oxford and Cambridge Unions. He told The Daily Beast that he had taken time out to drop by the embassy where Assange has been in hiding from an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
The connection between Stone and Assange has become a focal point in the investigation of links between Russia and the Trump campaign after it emerged that Stone had a communications backchannel with WikiLeaks, an organization described by the CIA as a “hostile intelligence service” “abetted by Russia.”
Stone said he had traveled to the embassy in Central London. He said he had not seen Assange in person but left his contact details for the controversial founder of WikiLeaks.
“I didn’t go and see him, I dropped off a card to be a smart ass,” he told The Daily Beast.
Stone was at an event in West London organised by the Bow Group, Britain’s oldest conservative think tank.
In the bar after giving a speech in support of Brexit, he chatted with a small group of people to whom he insisted that Assange was no agent of Russia but simply “a journalist.”
Stone said he was glad to have missed Assange earlier in the day because he would have been asked about their conversation by Russia probe investigators in D.C.
“I dropped in my card, I don’t even think he’s there anymore,” Stone said, speculating that he might have been secretly “extracted” in recent weeks.
In a wood-paneled room at the RAF private members club, Stone said that he had used a backchannel to communicate with Assange before the presidential election, explaining that he’d only asked an old friend who also knew Assange to confirm something the WikiLeaks head had said in a TV interview.
Ten days later, Stone said that his friend—who he didn’t explicitly say had spoken to Assange came back to confirm what WikiLeaks had.
WikiLeaks published stolen emails in the run up to the 2016 vote that may have helped sway the election toward Trump. U.S. security services believe that Russian agents were involved in obtaining the leaked Democratic emails.
While the Ecuadorian Embassy—and nearby Harrods department store—were on Stone’s itinerary, he said he had not had any meetings with Nigel Farage, one of the leaders of the Brexit campaign.
Stone said he had only met Farage once, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016, where the the former leader of the U.K. Independence Party had said he wanted to meet Trump. Stone said he arranged it for him—and said he didn’t even know if Farage was aware that it was Stone who’d put in a good word for him.
Farage is also known to have been a visitor to the Ecuadorian Embassy. He was spotted leaving the building in March last year after a meeting with Assange. In testimony to the House intelligence committee, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS said he had been told—but could not confirm—that Farage was a regular visitor to the embassy and had even passed data to Assange on a thumb drive.
Farage, who has previously expressed his admiration for President Putin, was a regular on Russia’s state-backed propaganda channel RT but denies that his campaign to break up the European Union has ever been funded by the Kremlin.
Stone, who declined to name his backchannel to the House intelligence committee, said that Farage had not been his conduit to Assange.
Stone did not name his contact—who CNN and others have reported was comedian and New York political gadfly Randy Credico, who the House intelligence committee subpoenaed in November—in his conversation Wednesday.