Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Mother Jones is reporting that on January 6, Roger Stoneâveteran Republican Party operative and an advisor to President Donald Trumpâsent aÂ series of text messagesÂ to comedian/activist Randy Credico stating that he was actively seeking a presidential pardon for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
âI am working with others to get JA a blanket pardon,â Stone wrote in a January 6 exchange of text messages obtained by Mother Jones. âItâs very real and very possible. Donât fuck it up.â And in a separate text written 35 minutes later, Stone added, âSomething very big about to go down!â
The 66-year-old Stone is among the many Trump associates who has become a focus of Special Counsel Robert Muellerâs Russia-related investigation. And although Assange hasnât been charged with any crimes in the U.S., Muellerâs office has been examining Stoneâs efforts to secure a blanket presidential pardon for the Wikileaks founder. Prosecutors for the U.S. Justice Department have been keeping an eye on Assange since 2010, when more than 250,000 diplomatic cables were released by WikiLeaks.
In anÂ August interviewÂ with the Washington Examiner, Stone made it clear that he favored a presidential pardon for Assangeâasserting, âJournalists everywhere should be disturbed if Assange is kidnapped and put on trial. It is a blow to independent journalism and a free pressâ¦. Even the Obama Justice Department concluded Assange did nothing the New York Times and Washington Post have not done, which is obtain classified information through whistleblowers, verifying its authenticity and publishing it.â
According to Mother Jones, Credico said that Stone was working with Fox Newsâ Judge Andrew Napolitano on a plan in which Napolitano would bring up the idea of an Assange pardon on his show. But Napolitano (one of the more libertarian voices at Fox News) has said that he âcategorically deniesâ working with Stone to obtain a pardon for the WikiLeaks founderâwho has been seeking political asylum in Ecuador.
The 47-year-old Assange, a native of Australia, has been a major critic of 2016 presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In February 2016, Assange asserted that Clinton âcertainly should not become president of the United Statesâ and described her as a warmonger who âlacks judgement and will push the United States into endless, stupid wars.â
But Assange was critical of Trump as well in 2016, telling activist Amy Goodman that having to choose between Trump and Clinton was like a choice between âcholera or gonhorrea.â
In late 2017, Assangeâwho has been staying in the Ecuadoran embassy in LondonâwasÂ granted citizenshipÂ in Ecuador. But this week, Ecuadorâs foreign minister, Jose Valencia, told Reuters that it wouldÂ no longer interveneÂ with the U.K. government on Assangeâs behalf.
Alex Henderson is a news writer at AlterNet and veteran political journalist. His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. Follow him on TwitterÂ @alexvhenderson.