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A Timeline Of What Roger Stone Said — And When — In Relation To His Indictment

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

That indictment we've been talking about contains numerous references to contacts between Stone and people involved with the Trump campaign throughout the summer and fall of 2016. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith has been building a timeline of events and has this update in light of the new information alleged by prosecutors.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Let's start with July 22, 2016, just days before the Democratic Party convention.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: WikiLeaks released thousands of emails from the DNC appearing to show favoritism towards...

KEITH: Those emails roiled the party convention and prosecutors alleged that day an unnamed senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases or other damaging information WikiLeaks had on the Clinton campaign. The indictment doesn't say who directed the senior campaign official to get in touch with Stone, but it does say that from there on out, Stone told the Trump campaign about potential future WikiLeaks releases.

Three days later, Stone allegedly asked intermediaries to make contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. It is worth noting that even this early on, private security firms and the Clinton campaign were drawing connections between the WikiLeaks email dump and Russian intelligence. This was Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on ABC on July 24, 2016.

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ROBBY MOOK: And it's troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.

KEITH: In what would be a pattern, the Trump campaign dismissed such claims as Team Clinton trying to distract from the contents of the hacked emails. At a press conference that week, candidate Donald Trump denied any connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin. But then he encouraged Russia to go after Hillary Clinton's emails.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.

KEITH: What we know now is that Russia may have been listening. That very day, according to court documents, Russian intelligence attempted to hack into Hillary Clinton's private email server. Later that summer, Stone helped build suspense that WikiLeaks had more coming.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROGER STONE: I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation. But there's no telling what the October surprise may be.

KEITH: By October 2016, speculation had reached a fever pitch.

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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised us that something big was coming.

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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: The question everybody has on their mind is, what exactly does WikiLeaks have?

KEITH: October 4, Julian Assange was set to make an announcement. The day before, according to the indictment, Stone wrote to an unnamed supporter involved in the Trump campaign - quote, "spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming." But then the announcement from Assange came via video stream.

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JULIAN ASSANGE: The material that WikiLeaks is going to publish before the end of the year is of a significant moment.

KEITH: Without delivering the goods, WikiLeaks tweeted, we hope to be publishing every week for the next 10 weeks. Prosecutors write that day, Stone got an email from a high-ranking Trump campaign official asking about the status of WikiLeaks' releases. Stone answered saying WikiLeaks would release a load every week going forward. It's unclear whether he had insider information or was just parroting WikiLeaks' tweet. The latter is what Stone says happened. Then on October 7, The Washington Post published its own October surprise - an unrelated blockbuster.

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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #4: ...Of a video that captures Donald Trump making vulgar comments about women back in 2005.

KEITH: The "Access Hollywood" video was arguably the darkest moment of the Trump campaign. Less than an hour later, though, WikiLeaks released the first tranche of emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. According to the indictment, an associate of the high-ranking campaign official sent a text to Stone that read, well done. Almost immediately, Trump started talking up WikiLeaks on the campaign trail.

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TRUMP: They want to distract us from WikiLeaks. It's been amazing what's coming out on WikiLeaks.

KEITH: And day after day, week after week, the drip, drip, drip of WikiLeaks releases kept coming until Donald Trump was elected president. Roger Stone says he's innocent. Trump's lawyers deny there was any collusion. Tamara Keith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.