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By Anna Schecter

Two months before WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sent an email to former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone anticipating the document dump, according to draft court papers obtained by NBC News.

“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,” Corsi wrote on Aug. 2, 2016, referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to the draft court papers. “One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”

The email was revealed in a draft court document, known as a statement of the offense, sent to Corsi by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Mueller also sent Corsi a draft plea agreement stipulating that the special counsel would not oppose Corsi requesting a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.

As NBC News reported on Monday, Corsi said he has rejected the deal. He has described Mueller’s team as “thugs” and insisted that he did not “intentionally lie” about his communications related to WikiLeaks.

The draft court documents obtained by NBC News provide the most extensive account to date of Corsi’s contact with Mueller’s prosecutors.

The interviews began on Sept. 6 when Corsi told investigators that an associate, identified by Corsi as Stone, asked him in the summer of 2016 to get in touch with an organization, identified by Corsi as WikiLeaks, about unreleased materials relevant to the presidential campaign, the draft court papers say.

“Get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending (WikiLeaks) emails,” read the email to Corsi dated July 25, 2016, according to the draft court documents.

Corsi said he declined the request and made clear to Stone that an attempt to contact WikiLeaks could put them in investigators’ crosshairs, according to the draft court documents.

But Mueller’s team said that was a lie.

Instead of turning down the request, Corsi in fact passed it along to a person in London, according to the draft court documents. Corsi said that person was conservative author Ted Malloch.

Eight days later, Corsi sent the email to Stone saying that WikiLeaks possessed information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and planned to release it in October.

Jerome Corsi during an interview at NBC News in New York on November 27, 2018.
Jerome Corsi during an interview at NBC News in New York on November 27, 2018.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

“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 HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton),” Corsi added in the Aug. 2, 2016, email, according to the draft court papers. “That appears to be the game hackers are now about.”

On Oct. 7, 2016, WikiLeaks released the first of two batches of emails that Russian hackers stole from Podesta, altering the trajectory of the presidential race.

Mueller’s team says in the court papers that Corsi scrubbed his computer between Jan. 13, 2017, and March 1, 2017, deleting all email correspondence that predated Oct. 11, 2016, including the messages from Stone about WikiLeaks and Corsi’s email to Malloch.

Corsi remained in contact with Stone in 2017 when the former Trump adviser’s connections to WikiLeaks came under investigation by the FBI and congressional committees, according to the draft court papers.

On Nov. 30, 2017, Stone emailed Corsi asking him to write about a person whom Stone had told congressional investigators was his “source” or “intermediary” to WikiLeaks, according to the draft court papers.

Corsi and Stone have identified that person as Randy Credico, a radio host and one-time friend of Stone.

“Are you sure you want to make something out of this now?” Corsi responded, according to the draft court papers. “Why not wait to see what (Credico) does? You may be defending yourself too much — raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries. This may be a time to say less, not more.”

Stone responded by telling Corsi that Credico will “take the 5th — but let’s hold a day,” the draft court document says.

The draft court documents says that Corsi met with the special counsel’s office for several additional interviews and provided access to his email accounts and electronic devices.

In the interviews, the draft court papers say, Corsi said that his claims to Stone, beginning in 2016, that he had a way of obtaining confidential information from WikiLeaks were false.

Corsi, the former Washington bureau chief of the conspiracy theory outlet InfoWars, has told NBC News that he had no direct or indirect contact with WikiLeaks. Corsi claims to have anticipated WikiLeaks’ release of the hacked emails by “connecting the dots” between public statements from Assange and other available materials.

“Why did I think they were coming out in October? Because I said to myself if I had these emails I’d use them as the October surprise,” Corsi told NBC News on Tuesday. “And why did I think they would come out serially, drip by drip? Because Assange is very strategic. He understands the news cycle.”

A spokesman for Mueller’s office declined to comment. Corsi’s lawyer, David Gray, also declined to comment.

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee in 2013.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call,Inc. file

But in a letter drafted by Gray and addressed to Mueller’s team, Corsi’s lawyer argued that he should not be charged with a crime based on a faulty memory.

“I understand that this plea to making a false claim is predicated on the fact that Dr. Corsi had emails and phone calls wherein he was in fact interested in WikiLeaks,” Gray wrote.

“He had not had the benefit of reviewing all of his emails prior to the interview and you graciously allowed him to review his emails and amend his statements — which he did. Now, after various amendments to his statements, Dr. Corsi is being asked to affirmatively state that he lied to FBI agents. The issue is that the statements that Dr. Corsi made were, in fact, the best he could recall at the time.”

Gray also noted that if Corsi were to plead guilty, he would have to give up his securities license and cease his online chats until sentencing, depriving him of crucial sources of income.

Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, said the documents suggest that Mueller has more on Corsi than is laid out in the draft court papers.

“Based on reviewing these documents, I believe that the office of the special counsel may have more evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Corsi beyond the false statements, and that is why they engaged in plea negotiations,” Goldman said.

Goldman also said that the documents indicate that Mueller and his investigators are “really circling Stone.”

“He is a clear target of the investigation,” Goldman added.

Stone, who has repeatedly insisted that he had no advanced knowledge of the WikiLeaks email dump, said Tuesday that the newly-released emails don’t suggest otherwise.

“None of these emails provide any evidence or proof that I knew in advance about the source or content of any of the allegedly stolen or allegedly hacked emails published by WikiLeaks,” Stone said.

“Since when did gossip become a criminal offense? Where is the WikiLeaks collaboration? Where is the evidence that I received anything whatsoever from WikiLeaks and passed it on to Donald Trump? These emails prove nothing other than the fact that Jerry Corsi is an aggressive investigative reporter.”

Rich Schapiro contributed.

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A day of subtly-drawn contrast between Trump’s dark view, Bush’s points of light

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By Jonathan Allen

WASHINGTON — The contrasts drawn between the late President George H.W. Bush and President Donald Trump were subtle but persistent as the former was eulogized beneath the intricate stained glass windows and soaring limestone arches of Washington’s National Cathedral here Wednesday.

The Bush family had made it clear: there would be no politics on display during the day’s proceedings — no direct criticism of the man who currently occupied the Oval Office. But public praise for the late president seemed to highlight the areas where he differed from the current commander-in-chief.

Bush was described a loyalist (Trump calls former friends “horse face” and “weak”); as a leader who worked with Democrats on budget deals and the Americans with Disabilities Act (Trump has governed on partisan terms and mocked a disabled reporter); as a president who rallied the world behind democratic values (Trump has spurned U.S. allies and enabled despots); and as a man who dedicated himself to a life of service (in life, Trump has unapologetically served his own interests first).

But the theme that seemed to encapsulate their differences most, as Trump sat stone-faced in the front pew of the church next to four former presidents and their wives, was Bush’s eternal optimism about humanity.

“Abraham Lincoln’s ‘better angels of our nature’ and George H.W. Bush’s ‘thousand points of light’ are companion verses in America’s national hymn,” historian Jon Meacham said in delivering the first tribute of the day. “For Lincoln and Bush both called on us to choose the right over the convenient, to hope rather than to fear, and to heed not our worst impulses, but our best instincts.”

In his inaugural address in 1989, George H.W. Bush spoke of the spirit of the American people and called on them to unite their talents, their energy and their fortunes to lift each other up.

“I have spoken of a Thousand Points of Light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good,” Bush said. “The old ideas are new again because they’re not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.”

When Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president in 2016, he told the American people, “I alone, can fix it.”

In his own inaugural address the following year, he described a bloody national landscape, vowing to end “this American carnage.”

Trump has appealed to the fear of outsiders — immigrants from south of the border and travelers from Muslim-majority countries — to rally his political base.

And in openly saying that he would not be willing to risk the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia to come down on Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he has made clear his preference for hard pragmatism over the value of ideals in American foreign policy.

On Wednesday, Bush’s eldest son ascended to address the roughy 3,000 people assembled to say farewell to the man Meacham called “the last great soldier-statesman.”

Former President George W. Bush described a father whose worldview was formed by early brushes with death — an illness and when his plane was shot down during World War II — giving him the ability to “cherish the gift of life” and “live every day to the fullest.”

The younger Bush, who would later choke up as he wrapped up his remarks, said his father taught him and his siblings that anything was possible.

“The horizons he saw were bright and hopeful,” George W. Bush said. “He was a genuinely optimistic man.”

And in a related note, he said this of his father: “Dad could relate to people from all walks of life. He was an empathetic man. He valued character over pedigree. And he was no cynic. He looked for the good in each person and he usually found it.”

A few feet away sat Trump, who has an uncanny ability to find the weakness in others and often displays an uncommon urgency to exploit it. He gives his political foes disparaging nicknames — from “Low energy” Jeb Bush (the son and brother of the presidents) to “Little” Marco Rubio and Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat he has lampooned for claiming Native American heritage.

In contrast to the striking, sunny empathy of the 41st president’s that drew praise Tuesday, Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio has described the current president’s equally notable talent for casting and cementing a positive image of himself and negative messages on others.

“This may not be the kind of intelligence we can all admire,” D’Antonio wrote. “In fact, it is a cynical, abusive and, some might say, evil form of brilliance.”

If Bush valued character over pedigree, Trump seems to prioritize them in the reverse. And he is obsessed with his own celebrity and that of his friends, aides and allies, speaking often of their television appearances, promotes their books and notes his closeness to them to promote both brands.

The differences between Bush, the patrician dedicated to public service, civility and international cooperation, and Trump are endless. But, at the root of it all, Trump finds darkness in people, while Bush saw points of light.

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Migrants don’t bring disease. In fact, they help fight it, report says

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By Maggie Fox

People who oppose immigration often argue that migrants bring disease with them, and that they then become a burden to health systems in their new countries because they’re so sick.

But that’s not true, a team of experts argued in a new report released Wednesday.

In fact, they point out that immigrants make up a significant portion of the healthcare work forces in their new homelands.

“There is no evidence to show that migrants are spreading disease,” said Dr. Paul Spiegel, who directs the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “That is a false argument that is used to keep migrants out,” Spiegel told NBC News.

“Contrary to the current political narrative portraying migrants as disease carriers who are a blight on society, migrants are an essential part of economic stability in the U.S.,” added Terry McGovern, who heads Columbia University’s Department of Population and Family Health.

McGovern and Spiegel were among 24 commissioners who worked on a two-year project to analyze whether migration spreads disease and to look into the effects that migrants have on health. The final study, published in the Lancet medical journal, finds that migration benefits economies. It also finds that people are using myths to fight migration.

“In too many countries, the issue of migration is used to divide societies and advance a populist agenda,” said Lancet editor Richard Horton.

“With one billion people on the move today, growing populations in many regions of the world, and the rising aspirations of a new generation of young people, migration is not going away. Migrants commonly contribute more to the economy than they cost, and how we shape their health and well-being today will impact our societies for generations to come.”



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Brexit latest: Will DUP vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal?

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THERESA May’s precarious Brexit deal needs the Democratic Unionist Party’s support in Parliament next Tuesday – but will the Northern Irish party support the key vote?

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