Roger Stone, a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, says communication he had last year with the Russian-connected hacker responsible for the Democratic National Committee email hacking was "innocuous."
Stone confirmed he exchanged direct messages on Twitter with user Guccifer 2.0 last August, telling the Washington Times the conversations were“so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it.”
Guccifer 2.0 is an online persona that has claimed responsibility for the DNC hacks. U.S. officials believe the account is a front for Russian military intelligence, which was part of the effort to influence the 2016 presidential election, CNN reported.
Stone himself claims no direct contact with Russian operatives, according the the Times.
He said the conversations were "innocuous," and about an article he had written for Breitbartas the DNC hacks were coming to light.
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"To collude, I would have to have written him before. ... We would need a time machine to collude," he told CNN.
Stone released screenshots of the communications, which were published online.
This is the first time anyone close to Trump has admitted contact with a hacker or someone linked to the DNC email hack.
The revelation of conversations between Stone and Guccifer 2.0 have raised questions about mysterious tweets Stone made aboutJohn Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, after initial hacks into DNC accounts started coming out.
Trust me, it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) August 21, 2016
He tweeted, "Trust me, it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel." Emails attributed to Podesta's account were leaked via WikiLeaks in the final weeks of the campaign.
Stone denied contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a statement to CNN.