Trump adviser Roger Stone reportedly said in 2016 that Russia and its agents were "mostly likely" behind an effort to elect President Donald Trump and defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
CNN's Andrew Kaczynski and Christopher Massie obtained evidence that Stone had made the claims "from late July through August 1, 2016." The information was discovered after a review of Stone's emails and interviews.
CNN called Stone's remarks "a sharp contrast to his more recent posture that Russia was not the source for hacked documents released by WikiLeaks throughout the campaign."
"The reason that the Russians are probably leaking this information is because they don't want a nuclear war either. (Hillary Clinton) is bent on a war that benefits her donors and the multinational corporations and the defense contractors," Stone told radio host Alex Jones in July of 2016.
He spoke about the Russians with Jones again several days later.
"The fact that the Russians will -- or whoever -- are going to continue to drop bombs on the American people in the form of their own documents," Stone opined. "The Clintons have cut their own throat because they assume that no one would ever see all of their secret illegal maneuverings."
He added: "This is why [Clinton] used an unsecured server to hide the very things that I suspect someone -- most likely the Russians -- is going to drop on the American people like truthbombs throughout this election. She can raise a billion dollars and it may not matter. Trump may beat her like a drum as he pounces on and helps further public knowledge of every one of the bombshells that is coming."
The longtime Trump adviser made similar remarks on at least two other occasions during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"We know there are gonna be many, many turns in the road, including the material that I assume Julian Assange or WikiLeaks, his organization, drops on the American people," Stone said three days later, but he denied the Russians were involved.
"We now know that the Russians had nothing to do with these emails, none whatsoever," Stone said.
After allegedly dining with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016, Stone was said to back off the braggadocios Russia rhetoric, and has since insisted that he did not collude with the Russian government.
Stone reacted bitterly when asked for a comment by CNN.
"I'm publishing my own time line that will only make you look foolish," he charged.