On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
55°
Rain
H 71° L 58°
  • cloudy-day
    55°
    Current Conditions
    Rain. H 71° L 58°
  • rain-day
    64°
    Evening
    Rain. H 71° L 58°
  • rain-day
    59°
    Morning
    Rain. H 64° L 52°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Bannon says Stone was Trump campaign link to WikiLeaks
Close

Bannon says Stone was Trump campaign link to WikiLeaks

Bannon says Stone was Trump campaign link to WikiLeaks
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Al Drago
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives to testify for the federal trial of Roger Stone, at federal court in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Al Drago)

Bannon says Stone was Trump campaign link to WikiLeaks

Donald Trump's campaign viewed Roger Stone as an "access point" to WikiLeaks and tried to use him to get advanced word about hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton, a former top presidential adviser testified Friday.

In reluctant testimony, former campaign CEO Steve Bannon told a federal court that Stone, on trial for lying to Congress and witness tampering, had boasted about his ties to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, alerting them to pending new batches of damaging emails.

"The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange," Bannon told the court. "But Roger would be considered if we needed an access point."

It was the first time that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign acknowledged in court that they had actively sought material from WikiLeaks, which released emails that U.S. intelligence agencies determined had been hacked by the Russian government in order to damage Clinton.

The White House had no immediate comment.

Stone, a colorful political operative and Trump ally, is charged with witness tampering and lying to Congress about his attempts to contacts WikiLeaks about the damaging material during the 2016 presidential campaign.

While Stone repeatedly "implied that he had a connection with WikiLeaks," he never stated it directly, Bannon said.

The campaign took Stone's boasts seriously enough to follow up, asking why expected information about Clinton wasn't revealed when Assange held a press conference in October 2016.

Bannon, who testified in response to a subpoena, did not say anything about Trump and said Stone had not been sent by anyone on the campaign to talk to Assange.

Earlier this week, a former FBI agent testified about a flurry of phone calls between Stone and then-candidate Trump — including three calls on July 14, 2016 — the day that a massive hack of the Democratic National Committee's servers was reported. But the agent said she did not know what was discussed on those calls.

As he left the courthouse, Bannon griped about being subpoenaed by prosecutors and Congress in addition to being interviewed several times by special counsel Robert Mueller's team as it investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"I was forced and compelled to come here today," he said as he climbed into a waiting SUV outside the courthouse.

Bannon's testimony came after comedian and radio talk show Randy Credico told jurors that Stone pressured him into backing up lies he told Congress, threatening to take away his dog at one point. Credico said Stone pressed him to "go along" with a false account of the operative's contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

"He wanted me to go along with this narrative," Credico said in his second day of testimony.

Stone called a Credico a "rat" and a "stoolie" in a threatening April 2018 email. Credico also testified that Stone used repeated references from the movie "The Godfather Part II" to intimidate him into either backing up Stone's testimony to Congress or refusing to testify.

"My lawyers are dying to rip you to shreds. I'm going to take that dog away from you," he said in the email, which Credico read aloud in court. And while Credico testified he considered the threat "hyperbole," he also said that Stone "plays hardball" and "I did not want to rile the guy."

The radio host told the court he's had his dog Bianca, a small breed known as a coton de tulear, since 2006. "I have no wife, no kids, I've been around the dog for 12 years," he said.

Credico has occasionally provoked laughter in court and warnings from the judge.

Thursday's testimony detailed the acrimonious collapse of the relationship between the liberal Credico and Stone, a longtime conservative operative who revered Richard Nixon so much that he has the disgraced former president's face tattooed on his back.

Credico and Stone met in 2002 through the campaign of a third-party candidate for New York governor. Despite their political differences, Stone was a regular guest on Credico's radio show.

"He's good on radio," Credico said of Stone. "He's a good guest to have on."

Stone, a longtime Trump confidant and conservative operative who has a tattoo of former president Richard Nixon's face on his back, is accused of telling Congress that Credico was the source of his inside information about WikiLeaks. But Credico said he and Stone never discussed WikiLeaks before late August 2016, making it impossible that he was the "trusted intermediary" that Stone had been referring to for months.

Credico did manage to contact Assange through mutual acquaintance Margaret Kunstler, and hosted Assange on his radio show on Aug. 25, 2016. He says Stone, who had already claimed in interviews to have a back-channel link to Assange, immediately started asking Credico to put him in touch with Assange.

Prosecutors have said Stone lied about his efforts to learn more about the WikiLeaks releases because the truth about his efforts would "look bad" for Trump.

In an often-testy cross examination, defense attorney Robert Buschel tried to paint Stone as the victim of a con job by Credico, saying that the radio host repeatedly lied to Stone to exaggerate his connection and influence with Assange.

They went through the pair's text exchanges before Credico's September 2016 trip to London. Credico wrote to Stone that a meeting with Assange, who was sheltering from prosecution in the Ecuadoran embassy, was "on the agenda." In reality, there was no meeting planned and the closest Credico got to Assange was delivering a letter from his radio station's administration to the embassy offering Assange a show on their channel.

Credico said Stone was pestering him with requests and that he led Stone to believe he was working on making contact with Assange "just to satisfy him and get him off my back."

Stone's trial is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Saying it will make the facility so much better, leaders of the Florida Theatre officially launched a capital campaign to complete a $10 million renovation ahead of the 100th anniversary of the downtown landmark.   WOKV first reported about the renovation plans in July, when Mayor Lenny Curry’s budget outline offered up $1 million each of the next five years to match the Florida Theatre Performing Arts Center, Inc, which is the nonprofit that runs the historic venue. Total contribution from both parties combined at $10 million.  INDEPTH: Once in a generation - Florida Theatre looking at $10 million in renovations, upgrades To date, 72 donors have pledged or gifted $2.2 million toward the campaign that quietly began more than two years ago. The Theatre also instituted a $2.50 per ticket fee on all ticket sales that goes to restoration of the facility. That is projected to bring in approximately $1.5 million over the next five years.   “We’re a little over $7 million towards our $10 million goal as of today so we are super excited about all of this”, said Florida Theatre President Numa Saisselin.  Mayor Lenny Curry reflected on the decades of performances he has attended through the years at the Florida Theatre, and he looks forward to seeing the improvements come to fruition after funding was approved.  “Often times usually in a budget as large as ours some real jewels that are in the budget kind of get lost in the conversation so it’s good to be here today because this really is a jewel and a special nugget in the budget that we just put forward”, Curry said.   Theatre operators want to keep the same feel but install completely new seats. Plans involve better addressing ADA regulations- the seating arrangement now pre-dates those rules, according to Saisselin, so while the venue is in compliance, it is not always an ideal arrangement. Beyond that, there are a few different areas to address, with the auditorium remaining the focus. He says they want to upgrade the sound and lighting systems. Not only will this make for a more enjoyable show for you and the artist or event involved, but he says it could actually save FTPAC some money in the future, because currently, if an artist wants a certain speaker setup, the Florida Theatre may have to rent equipment, as an example. Over 3,000 people attend Florida Theatre every week, or 175,000 per year, according to Saisselin.  The work also includes renovating the bathrooms.  Air conditioning is another item on the list- updating the system so that there’s not a constant need for repairs. The iconic marquee and canopy are also in for some work, although Saisselin says they are not changing the overall look. Digital signs were recently installed at the Florida Theatre as a result of funds from a private donor, but Saisselin says there is still internal wiring work to do on the canopy, along with structural repairs. While the canopy and marquee are not original to 1927, Saisselin says he knows it’s how people recognize the venue, and they want to respect that.
  • Officials have closed all public schools in Roanoke, Virginia, as police search for a former U.S. Marine accused of killing his mother's boyfriend in nearby Franklin County. >> Read more trending news  Sheriff's deputies said Michael Alexander Brown, 22, is wanted on suspicion of shooting and killing Rodney Wilfred Brown, 54, last week at the home his mother and Brown shared in Hardy. Here are the latest updates: dfdf Update 9:30 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Michael Alexander Brown, 22. Franklin County sheriff's deputies said Brown is wanted on a charge of second-degree murder after his mother's boyfriend, 54-year-old Rodney Wilfred Brown, was found shot dead last week at his home in Hardy. Deputies said Brown deserted his post last month at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where he served as a combat engineer. Thursday's search was prompted by the discovery of his car on a road in Roanoke, officials said. 'It was unknown where Michael may be headed or where he has been staying since leaving his post,' deputies said Sunday in a news release. 'He has been known to live in the woods and frequent National Parks and National Forests. He is believed to be armed with a high-powered rifle and may have access to other weapons.' Deputies urged anyone with information on Brown's whereabouts to contact authorities at 540-483-6662. Update 8:17 a.m. EST Nov. 14: According to WSET, Roanoke police believe Michael Alexander Brown, who is wanted on a murder charge, was 'in the Roanoke area' and may be armed. According to NBC News, Brown, 22, is facing a second-degree murder charge in the Saturday shooting death of 54-year-old Rodney Brown. Police said Michael Brown, who had been a combat engineer at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune before he deserted last month, 'is most likely on foot and possibly looking for transportation,' WSET reported. The suspect, who is white with brown hair and blue eyes, stands 6 feet tall and weighs 145 pounds, WDBJ reported.  Original report: Police in Virginia are 'actively investigating a situation' near a Roanoke's Patrick Henry High School, authorities said early Thursday. As a result, all of the district's public schools are closed, WFXR and WDBJ are reporting. Please return for updates.
  • There's an urgent search underway for a Georgia mother last seen after leaving a college football game in Athens. >> Read more trending news  The Athens-Clarke County Police Department said Linda Christine Tryon, 42, has been missing since Saturday, Nov. 9.  Tryon was last seen in the downtown Athens area during the University of Georgia vs. University of Missouri football game.  According to friends, Tryon left the game after the first quarter and went downtown to a bar. 'This is completely out of character,' a friend of Tryon told WSB-TV. If anyone has any information about her whereabouts, they are urged to call 706-613-3345.
  • The state fire marshal is investigating the source and cause of a massive fire at the old Thunderbird Motor Hotel property on the Arlington Expressway. Wednesday’s fire created a powerful orange glow that could be seen for miles.  Thunderbird was once a popular hangout in the 60’s and 70’s.  No one was injured in the fire.  VIDEO: Fire destroys Arlington building In January the Jacksonville Daily Record reported a South Florida ownership group announced plans to redevelop the 18-acre property into apartments, hotels and retail including a restaurant. 
  • Milder air is returning after a cold Wednesday in NE Florida. But the next weather story may have big impacts on the Friday rush to work.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says we’ll see thickening clouds today with scattered showers developing.  Expect a few rumbles of thunder at times late in the afternoon and evening.  Mike says the best opportunity for rain is 6pm today - 6am on Friday, and there will be times of heavy rain. Highs will be in the upper 60’s to near 70 degrees, so up to 10 degrees warmer than Wednesday.  Showers will linger through the early morning hours Friday, and we’ll be cloudy, damp and breezy to end the week.   The weekend will start off with showers closer to the coast and breezy onshore winds. Showers will gradually end through the afternoon. Sunday will be dry with highs in the lower 60’s.

The Latest News Videos