Right-wing conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Jerome Corsi wants you to believe that God, not Julian Assange or any other human source, provided him with foreknowledge about WikiLeaks’ plans to publish emails hacked from the Clinton campaign in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Seriously.
According to draft court documents obtained by NBC, while he was vacationing in Italy on August 2, 2016, Corsi emailed longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone and told him, “Word is friend in embassy [WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange] plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”
That email was sent about a week after Stone emailed Corsi and asked him to “Get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending (WikiLeaks) emails.”
Corsi initially told special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that he turned down Stone’s request. But the draft court filing, citing the August 2 email, accuses Corsi of not telling the truth. Instead of declining Stone’s request, Corsi in fact forwarded the email to Ted Malloch, a London-based right-wing pundit and fellow Trump ally, then followed up days later with his email to Stone.
The August 2 email strongly suggests Corsi was informed in advance about WikiLeaks’ plans to publish emails hacked from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta as part of an effort to help Trump win the presidential election, and shared that knowledge with Stone. Corsi’s phrasing — “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps” — indicates that information came from a human source.
But during an interview on Wednesday evening with MSNBC’s Ari Melber, Corsi offered an alternate, and exceedingly implausible, explanation for how he knew about what WikiLeaks had planned.
According to Corsi, when prosecutors asked him if he’d figured it out through “divine intervention” on his flight to Italy, he said, basically, yes.
“They didn’t believe it,” Corsi said, describing the reaction of Mueller’s team when he told them that he just somehow figured out what WikiLeaks was up to. “Jeannie Rhee, one of the prosecutors, said, ‘Dr. Corsi, you are asking us to believe that on an extended international flight with your wife for an anniversary you had divine intervention, and God inspired your mind and told you Assange has Podesta’s emails and they’re gonna be dumped in October and they’re going to be dumped in a serial fashion?’ Is that what you’re saying? I said, ‘Well I guess, Ms. Rhee, that’s about what I’m saying.’”
As NBC details, the August 2 email “was revealed in a draft court document, known as a statement of the offense, sent to Corsi by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Mueller also sent Corsi a draft plea agreement stipulating that the special counsel would not oppose Corsi requesting a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.”
But Corsi has since backed out of the agreement with Mueller, claiming that he did not in fact intentionally lie about his communications with Stone, but simply suffers from a faulty memory.
“I never met Assange, I never talked to him,” Corsi told the Washington Post. “I’m convinced my memory is correct that I didn’t have a source that connected me to Assange. I really don’t think so.”
Corsi told the Post that his August 2 message to Stone was “probably” just him “pumping myself up in an email,” not evidence that he was looped in about WikiLeaks’ plans.
Stone has said he spoke directly with Trump on August 3, and it’s hard to imagine the topic of the WikiLeaks “dumps” didn’t come up. If Stone passed along Corsi’s information to Trump during that conversation or at another time, that could directly involve the president in a criminal conspiracy meant to swing the election in his favor.
In a statement provided to the Post, Trump’s lawyer, Rudi Giuliani, didn’t wholly rule out that Trump spoke with Stone or Corsi about WikiLeaks.
“Rudolph W. Giuliani, an attorney for Trump, said the president does not recall ever speaking to either Stone or Corsi about WikiLeaks,” the Post reports.
The “dumps” Corsi mentioned in his email to Stone began on October 8, 2016 — just hours after the Washington Post published audio of Trump bragging about groping women.
Trump went on to mention WikiLeaks at least 164 times during the last month of the campaign. But asked about Julian Assange during a press gaggle last week, Trump professed ignorance about his work.