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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

As pundits try to update their timeline for the 2016 Russia hacking scandal based on new emails and information from Roger Stone associate and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, they are missing a key piece of the puzzle.

Background: This week, Corsi blew apart plea arrangements with the Mueller investigation, and now he publicly denies being an intermediary between Stone (a would-be proxy for the Trump campaign) and WikiLeaks or having any advance knowledge of the site's leak schedule.

  • According to a draft plea agreement, Corsi emailed Stone that he did have that advance knowledge: "Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back [from a vacation in August]. 2nd in Oct."
  • But there was no August Wikileaks dump.

The big question: What was Corsi referring to with the leak planned for when he got back?

  • Corsi claims he was guessing, but armchair investigators note it doesn't seem like that's what he was saying.
  • "Word is" seems a little specific to have been referring to a guess, and "Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC ... has stroke. ... I expect that much of next dump focus," seems to predict Podesta emails would breathe life into baseless rumors about Clinton health problems.

So, what gives? Independent intelligence pundit Marcy Wheeler suggests Corsi may have been referring to a leak from Guccifer 2.0 in August that did materialize rather than a leak from WikiLeaks.

But there's an easier explanation: WikiLeaks, I'm told, was consistently behind schedule in releasing leaks, or at least behind the schedule Russia appears to have set for the site.

  • In fact, you can see that in the way Guccifer 2.0 acted in the previous month. When I started receiving leaks — before WikiLeaks began publishing — Guccifer 2.0 made a point of telling me, "WikiLeaks is playing for time" with documents sent to the site.
  • In Guccifer 2.0's first document dump on his own site he quietly picked only documents culled from the Democratic National Committee emails that Wikileaks had received but had not begun publishing yet.
  • At the time, only WikiLeaks would have known this. In retrospect, it appears to have been a hurry-up notice.

Maybe Corsi's "friend in embassy" didn't leak documents in August because he was running late.

Go deeper: Why press fears on Assange charges are premature

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
27 mins ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

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