Jerome Corsi Rejects Plea Deal, Calls Mueller's 'Witch Hunt' 'Completely Fraudulent'
Conservative author and commentator Jerome Corsi says special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators accused him of lying under oath only after he "couldn’t give them what they wanted.”
Corsi spoke with Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tuesday night, one day after he announced he would reject a plea deal that would have required him to plead guilty to perjury. "I refused to plead to a lie," Corsi told Carlson.
Mueller sent Corsi a draft plea agreement earlier this month stipulating that the special counsel would allow Corsi to request a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.
In a statement of the offense, the special counsel said Corsi sent an email to Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone in August 2016 advising him that WikiLeaks intended to release damaging information about Hillary Clinton that October.
“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging,” Corsi wrote to Stone in an email. “Time to let more than [Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop [Clinton]. That appears to be the game hackers are now about.”
Stone had asked him in July 2016 to get in touch with WikiLeaks about "pending" documents "relevant to the presidential campaign," the draft court papers say.
"Get to [Assange at] Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [WikiLeaks] emails," Stone emailed Corsi on July 25, 2016, according to the court documents.
Corsi said he declined the request and told Stone that any attempt to contact WikiLeaks could put them in legal jeopardy, according to the draft court documents. But Mueller's team said that rather than turning down the request, Corsi passed it along to a person in London whom Corsi identified as conservative author Ted Malloch. Eight days later, Corsi sent the email to Stone saying that WikiLeaks was preparing document dumps in October that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Corsi told Carlson that he has had “no contact with Julian Assange whatsoever,” nor has he had contact with Russian intelligence.
"I've been a loyal American. I have no contacts with Russian intelligence. I have no business interests in Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. I've never been to Russia," he said.
Corsi admitted that he initially told investigators that he did not remember forwarding Stone’s initial email to Malloch.
"I offered -- I gave my computers to the special counsel, I gave them my cell phone, I gave them all my email accounts. I gave them everything they wanted," he explained. "
"Now the first day when I was interviewed, I didn't remember that email. Now the special counsel came in and blew up… and they actually sent me home and gave me an opportunity to review the emails,” Corsi said. “When I came back, I amended the testimony to say that I now remember the email. The special counsel was happy with that until I couldn’t give them what they wanted, which was a connection that I had with Assange that they assumed I had -- which I didn’t have. Now, suddenly, they forgot they allowed me to amend my testimony and they’re going back to the mistake I made -- day one -- when I forgot the email.”
Corsi added that he thinks the whole thing is "completely fraudulent" because they were trying to make him plead to a charge that he says wasn't true. "I refused to plead to a lie," he said.
Carlson pointed out that since Mueller's team had all of his emails, Twitter, cellphone records, etc., they should have already known if he'd had contact with Julian Assange.
"Everything they wanted -- I had nothing to hide -- I gave 'em to them immediately," Corsi insisted.
"This particular email about Ted Malloch, I'm now being charged with 'willfully and knowingly giving false information,' which is nonsense. I never willingly and falsely gave false information. I intended always to tell the truth. My memory was not perfect," he said.
Carlson asked Corsi if he thinks his political views played a role in the special counsel's decision to charge him with a felony.
"Yes," replied Corsi, who co-wrote with John O'Neill the 2004 New York Times bestseller Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. The book chronicled Kerry's short-lived wartime experience in Vietnam in highly unflattering detail and is widely credited with capsizing the Massachusetts Democrat's 2004 presidential campaign.
"This is a political witch hunt because I did not have contact with Assange, but yet had figured out that Assange had Podesta's emails," Corsi said. "I figured that out and told Roger Stone and told many people in August and it just happened that I was right.”
He added that it has cost a couple hundred thousand dollars so far to defend him.
"I mean, it bankrupts you very quickly," he lamented.
Corsi characterized his interview as a "perjury trap" and "a memory test."
"They ask you a question. They have material they won't show you. You've forgotten about it, and they say, 'well you just lied because this email you forgot about in 2016 proves your current memory is wrong.'"
"That's disgusting," said Carlson.
"It's completely rigged and it's politically driven by Clinton operatives who have an agenda," Corsi agreed.
“Roger’s right,” he continued, referring to Stone. “If you can’t give them what they’re looking for to fill their narrative, they blow you up and charge you with a crime.”
Ted Malloch, the conservative author who received Corsi's WikiLeaks email, was interrogated by the FBI at Boston Logan Airport last March following a flight from London and questioned about his involvement in the Trump campaign, according to the Guardian.
In a statement sent to the Guardian, Malloch, who described himself as a policy wonk and defender of Trump, said the FBI also asked him about his relationship with Roger Stone, the Republican strategist, and whether he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has resided for nearly six years
In a detailed statement about the experience, which he described as bewildering and intimidating at times, Malloch said the federal agents who stopped him and separated him from his wife “seemed to know everything about me” and warned him that lying to the FBI was a felony. In the statement Malloch denied having any Russia contacts.
Malloch said he had agreed with the special counsel’s office that he would appear before Mueller’s grand jury in Washington DC on 13 April.
After he was released, Malloch said in a statement that "his role on the Trump campaign was informal and unpaid, that he had only met with Stone on three occasions and never alone, and that he knew nothing about Wikileaks and had never visited the Ecuadorian embassy," the Guardian reported.
He said his mobile phone was confiscated and he was told agents would take it to Washington, D.C., for a “full assessment."
“I was unfazed and very dubious about why they thought I knew anything,” he said. He also suggested in the statement that prosecutors could have read a not-yet-published book that alleged a conspiracy was underway to undermine Trump’s presidency, a book he said clearly troubled the "deep state."
“I did… find it objectionable to treat me the way they had as I was entering my home country, where I am a citizen,” Malloch said. “They did not need to use such tactics or intimidation. I was a U.S. patriot and would do anything and everything to assist the government and I had no information that I believed was relevant.”
Roger Stone responded to Corsi's testimony Tuesday evening on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle."
Host Laura Ingraham asked Stone about the July 25, 2016, email urging him to "get the pending WikiLeaks emails."
"There's an important backstory because hours before that I was forwarded an email by James Rosen of Fox," Stone explained. "Rosen had gotten a tip that the disclosures were going to be about the Clinton Foundation. Like every politico, like every political reporter in America, I was curious about what Assange had," he continued. "The bottom line of this, Laura, is very clear. Nothing we've learned in the last 72 hours shows that there was any collusion between the Russian state and Donald Trump's campaign."
Stone characterized his conversations about Clinton's emails as "political gossip."
"When did political gossip become criminalized?" he asked.
"Let's face it, the entire Russian collusion delusion is meant to distract us from the fact that the Obama administration, the Obama NSA, the Obama FBI were using illegal, unconstitutional FISA warrants to spy on Donald Trump's campaign and were using the FBI to infiltrate Donald Trump's campaign."
Stone told Ingraham that he hasn't been offered a plea deal, and there is "no circumstance whatsoever" in which he "would bear false witness against the president."