Randy Credico, a comedian and radio host who Trump adviser Roger Stone claims was his intermediary to WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, has asserted his Fifth Amendment right ahead of an interview with the House Intelligence Committee that was scheduled for Friday, according to his lawyer. As a result, the committee has released Credico from appearing before the panel as part of its investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal.
“Since your client will be pleading the 5th Amendment, the Committee does not require his presence for the scheduled interview,” Kashyap Patel, the committee’s senior counsel for counterterrorism, wrote in an email on Tuesday to Martin Stolar, Credico’s attorney. Stolar shared the correspondence with Mother Jones.
During the 2016 campaign, Stone claimed repeatedly that he was in communication with Assange. When Stone testified before the House Intelligence Committee on September 26, he said his contact with WikiLeaks’ founder had come through a “mutual acquaintance,” but he declined to name that person. At some point since, Stone reportedly told the panel that Credico was his go-between, prompting the committee’s subpoena of Credico late last month. Investigators want to know what information Stone received during the campaign that resulted in his hints that he had inside knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans. Stone tweeted on August 21, 2016, for instance, that “it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel,” appearing to accurately predict that WikiLeaks was preparing to publish emails from the Gmail account of John Podesta, then the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian government-backed hackers used WikiLeaks to disseminate emails stolen from Podesta and the Democratic National Committee. Stone has claimed he had no inside information but was speculating in his tweet that Podesta’s past business associations and those of Podesta’s brother Tony, a prominent lobbyist, would receive public scrutiny.
Stolar said he was not aware of anything that Credico has to hide. But for the outspoken Credico, taking the Fifth “is the safest thing,” the attorney said.
“Randy is a gadfly. I don’t want him walking into an open questioning,” the lawyer said, noting the panel presumably wants to ask Credico about Stone and Assange. “Julian Assange is radioactive.”
Stolar said that while Assange, who has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, has called into Credico’s radio show as a guest, Credico wants to protect separate confidential conversations—”stuff that [Assange] didn’t talk about on the air”—that he had with WikiLeaks’ founder.
Citing Jeff Sessions’ position as attorney general and Republican control of Washington, Stolar said Credico, who has made numerous unsuccessful bids for political office while espousing left-leaning political views, needs to take caution. “I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them,” Stolar said. “I don’t want to let my client, who is opposed to these folks, play games with them and expose himself under oath to God knows what.”
“If they want to go charge Randy with something, then let them do it, not with his own words,” Stolar said. “I’m not saying he’s a criminal suspect in anything. But that is what the Fifth Amendment is for, to protect against self-incrimination.”