October 7, 2016, was a fateful day for the Donald Trump presidential campaign. At about 4 p.m. that afternoon Eastern Time, the Washington Post released a tape leaked from the Access Hollywood entertainment news program — a tape recorded 11 years earlier on which Trump, then starring in the NBC TV reality show The Apprentice, is heard making extremely crude and vulgar remarks about women, in a conversation with host Billy Bush.
The tape’s release appeared disastrous for Trump — but less than an hour later, according to a Post timeline, another major event took place that seemed to bail Trump out, by creating an entirely new story, diverting media and public attention from the shocking and offensive remarks uttered by Trump on the tape. The so-called “transparency” site WikiLeaks released thousand of stolen, private emails from the account of John Podesta, chair of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The emails had been stolen by Russian government cyber-spies, who hacked into Podesta’s account on March 21, 2016, according to a Post investigative report. But after sitting on the Podesta emails for almost seven months, they were suddenly released by WikiLeaks immediately following the Trump tape leak.
On Monday, a witness and possible target of the Robert Mueller investigation into collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia alleged in a televised interview with MSNBC that newly indicted Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone may have played a role in the release of the Podesta emails.
“I had one call from Roger, as I recall it — Roger disputes this — on the day that WikiLeaks did begin in October dropping the final emails on John Podesta,” Stone associate Jerome Corsi said in the MSNBC interview. “Roger was essentially saying, ‘We’ve got this timing issue because the Billy Bush tape is going to be released, and we’d like to have (Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian) Assange begin releasing emails now.'”
In his indictment of Stone, as the Inquisitr has reported, Mueller says that the longtime Trump mentor was charged by the Trump campaign with finding out when WikiLeaks planned to release stolen Democratic emails.
Stone appeared to be aware as early as August 21, 2016, of the stolen Podesta emails, posting a message to his Twitter account that day saying, “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel,” according to CNN. At the time, not even Podesta himself knew his emails had been hacked.
Whether Stone influenced WikiLeaks directly to release the Podesta emails within an hour of the Access Hollywood tape release remains uncertain, though experts are skeptical that the timing was pure happenstance. “If you believe the timing of the Podesta email dump was coincidental to Stone’s request, I have a bridge to sell you,” wrote Trump-Russia journalist Scott Stedman on his Twitter account.