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Report: Roger Stone claimed he spoke to Julian Assange in 2016

Roger Stone speaks to reporters at the Capitol right after appearing before the House Intelligence Committee. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Political operative Roger Stone, an informal adviser to the Trump campaign, told two of his associates in 2016 that he'd been in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, per the Washington Post. An anonymous Stone associate cited in the report — the other is Sam Nunberg — claimed that Stone discussed hacked emails from the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in Assange's possession in the spring of 2016.

Why it matters: If the claims about Stone are true, he would have known about the hacked DNC and Podesta emails — which the U.S. intelligence community determined came via a Russian hack — months before their eventual release by WikiLeaks later in the summer and fall of 2016.

  • Nunberg said Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team asked him to describe a conversation he had with Stone in 2016, in which Stone claimed he met with Assange.
  • Stone's response, provided to WashPost: "I wish him no ill will, but Sam can manically and persistently call you ... I said, 'I think I will go to London for the weekend and meet with Julian Assange.' It was a joke, a throwaway line to get him off the phone. The idea that I would meet with Assange undetected is ridiculous on its face."
  • More Stone: "The allegation that I met with Assange, or asked for a meeting or communicated with Assange is provably false."
  • Stone says he never left the country in 2016.
Haley Britzky 4 hours ago
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DOJ eyeing tool to allow access to encrypted data on smartphones

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

The Justice Department is in "a preliminary stage" of discussions about requiring tech companies building "tools into smartphones and other devices" that would allow law enforcement investigators to access encrypted data, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: This has been on the FBI's mind since 2010, and last month the White House "circulated a memo...outlining ways to think about solving the problem," officials told the Times. Both FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, support finding ways for law enforcement to access data without compromising devices security.

Haley Britzky 4 hours ago
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Media tycoon Barry Diller talks #MeToo

 IAC & Expedia, Inc. Chairman & Senior Executive Barry Diller
IAC & Expedia, Inc. Chairman & Senior Executive Barry Diller. Photo: Cindy Ord / Getty Images for Yahoo

Barry Diller, chairman of mega-media and Internet company IAC, told the New York Times he thinks "all men are guilty," when it comes to "the spectrum" of the #MeToo movement.

"I hope in the future for some form of reconciliation. Because I think all men are guilty. I’m not talking about rape and pillage. I’m not talking about Harveyesque. I’m talking about all of the spectrum. From an aggressive flirt. Or even just a flirty-flirt that has one sour note in it. Or what I think every man was guilty of, some form of omission in attitude, in his views."

Why it matters: The #MeToo movement has rocked Hollywood and the media industry. Diller told the Times he sees the effects of this "in our companies, where the relationships between people are changing."