Mueller subpoenas controversial American academic tied to Roger Stone to testify in the Russia probe

  • The special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Ted Malloch, a controversial academic with ties to Republican strategist Roger Stone, to testify in the Russia probe.

  • Malloch said investigators questioned him about his relationship with Stone, his involvement in President Donald Trump's campaign, and whether he visited the Ecuadorian embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange resides.

  • Stone said in an interview that he recalled two meetings with Malloch — one of which took place during the 2016 campaign — and that they never discussed Assange, WikiLeaks, or Russia.

  • Mueller's move to subpoena Malloch indicates he is drilling down on a pivotal period during the summer of 2016 during which Russia-linked hackers breached the Democratic National Committee.

The FBI has subpoenaed Ted Malloch, an American academic with ties to Republican strategist Roger Stone and former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, to testify in the Russia investigation.

Malloch was detained at the Boston Logan International Airport in Massachusetts on March 27 after flying in from London, according to a statement sent to Business Insider. He said that after he was directed to a "special line for passport control," he and his wife were escorted to a separate corridor by a TSA official and an FBI agent, where they searched his belongings.

Later, he said, FBI agents separated him from his wife and took him to a secure conference room where they seized his electronic devices and interrogated him in connection with the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 US election.

Malloch said investigators questioned him about his involvement in President Donald Trump's campaign, his relationship with the longtime Republican strategist Roger Stone, and whether he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange resides.

Stone is currently at the core of the controversy surrounding WikiLeaks, the radical pro-transparency organization that published thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign at the height of the 2016 election. The US intelligence community believes the breaches and subsequent dissemination of emails were carried out on the Kremlin's orders.

Stone said he has communicated only indirectly with Assange in the past. He is also known to have been in direct communication with WikiLeaks and the Russia-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0 during the election.

Stone, who acted as an informal adviser to Trump during the campaign, attracted scrutiny when he sent out several tweets in the summer of 2016 which raised questions about whether he had prior knowledge about WikiLeaks' plans to publish the hacked emails. He denied knowing about the document dump in advance.

Malloch said he told agents he had met with Stone three times, knew nothing about WikiLeaks, and never visited the Ecuadorian embassy. He added that he had no Russia contacts.

In an interview Friday, Stone described Malloch as someone who became a "self-appointed surrogate for Trump" during and after the campaign.

"He's very articulate, he's good on TV, he knows the issues," Stone said. "He did a good job of representing Trump's point of view."

Malloch recently wrote a book, "The Plot to Destroy Trump: How the Deep State Fabricated the Russian Dossier to Subvert the President," which is set to be released in May. The book includes a foreword by Stone, as well as blurbs by Farage and Alex Jones, the founder of the far-right conspiracy website InfoWars.

Asked about the nature of his relationship with Malloch, Stone initially said he met Malloch three times but later said he recalled only two meetings with him. Stone's and Malloch's first meeting was at a New York restaurant, Strip House, during the 2016 campaign. The two men dined with Jerome Corsi, a far-right political commentator and conspiracy theorist, Stone said.

Stone said his conversation with Malloch and Corsi at dinner was friendly but not memorable, and that they discussed "Brexit and globalism." He added that they never discussed WikiLeaks, Assange, or Russia.

Malloch's description of what the FBI questioned him about, as well as his subsequent phone call to Corsi, indicates agents likely questioned him about the 2016 dinner with Corsi and Stone after detaining him.

Mueller hones in on the DNC hack

Corsi first broke the news of Malloch's FBI subpoena, telling InfoWars that a shaken Malloch had called him while he was being interviewed by agents at an FBI office in Cleveland earlier this week.

Stone said his second meeting with Malloch occurred last month, following a speech Stone gave at the Oxford Union.

Afterward, Skyhorse Publishing, which is publishing Malloch's upcoming book, reached out to Stone and asked if they could transcribe his remarks during the speech and use them as a foreword for the book. Stone said he agreed, and that he was never in direct contact with Malloch about the book.

A representative for Malloch said he is slated to testify before a grand jury in the Russia investigation on April 13. Malloch said that based on the advice of legal counsel, he would not comment further on his conversations with investigators. He said in his statement that while he willingly cooperated with investigators, he objected to the way he had been detained and questioned.

"They did not need to use such tactics or intimidation," he said. "I was a US patriot and would do anything and everything to assist the government and I had no information that I believed was relevant."

Malloch is a controversial figure in American politics. He catapulted into the national spotlight amid reports last year that Trump was considering appointing him the US ambassador to the European Union.

But Malloch attracted scrutiny when the Financial Times reported that he made several misleading claims in his autobiography, including that former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher had once called him a "genius," that he was the first to coin the phrase "thought leadership," and that he was a fellow at Oxford University. Malloch was subsequently dropped from consideration for the EU post.

Nonetheless, he has remained a constant presence in the right-wing media sphere and has earned significant praise from far-right figures like Jones and Corsi.

Stone also lauded him as a "nice guy" and a "smart guy," but added the caveat that he does not know Malloch well.

Mueller's focus on Malloch bolsters reports earlier this month which said he is drilling down on the pivotal period in the summer of 2016 during which Russia-linked hackers breached the DNC and distributed stolen materials.

In addition to scrutinizing Stone and Malloch, Mueller is also said to be looking into whether Trump had prior knowledge of Russia's plans to hack the DNC, whether he was involved in coordinating the release of stolen emails, and why he endorsed Russia-friendly policy positions during the campaign.

Trump has repeatedly said that neither he nor anyone on his campaign colluded with Russia.

Meanwhile, investigators are said to be interested, in particular, in Trump's public appeal in a press conference on July 27, 2016, for Russia to recover deleted emails of Hillary Clinton, then the Democratic presidential nominee.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said at the time.

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