“A VERY LEGITIMATE CONCERN”
by Sharon Rondeau
Featured on the calls, which totaled five between August and October that year, was longtime political strategist and author Roger Stone, a friend of Trump’s since the 1980s, when Stone first reportedly urged the real estate mogul to consider running for president.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the conference calls and documents related to their preparation were subpoenaed last spring by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and provided by the calls’ host, Jason Sullivan.
Mueller’s team is reportedly investigating whether or not Stone had any foreknowledge of the content of emails released by the open-government organization WikiLeaks in the months leading up to the presidential election which proved damaging to Clinton’s campaign. Stone has denied having any specific information about the documentation WikiLeaks would release and said he based any public statements he made on the tweets of WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange.
Since this time last year, Stone has been banned from Twitter, and in May Assange was reportedly denied internet, telephone and visitor access by the Ecuadorian embassy, where he sought asylum in 2012.
Some legal analysts have argued that Mueller’s investigation is illegitimate since he was hired by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who the same analysts say has insurmountable conflicts of interest and should have recused himself.
Over the summer, Trump claimed on Twitter that Mueller had personal conflicts of interest because of his previous business dealings with the Trump Organization which were never disclosed and that the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the election and “collusion” between Trump aides and the Kremlin is “a witch hunt.”
More recently, however, Trump and his attorneys have remained quiet on the Mueller investigation, which reportedly plans to release a findings report after the November 6 midterm elections.
Parts 1-3 of the August 4, 2016 conference call can be found here, here and here. In Part 4, which overlaps from Part 3, Stone covered a variety of topics including voter fraud and Americans’ expressed concerns that the Clinton campaign would “steal the election”; congressional spending; voter registration and turnout; the lack of paper ballots to support electronic voting results; the state of the economy; and the likelihood that new voters or those who considered themselves disenfranchised would consider Trump a viable alternative to the Washington political establishment.