Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of March 8, 2018

“Russiagate,” soup to WikiNuts: With former short-lived Donald Trump adviser Sam Nunberg having been subpoenaed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, everyone is now saying Roger Stone, Nunberg’s mentor, is once again the focus of the “Russiagate” probe. Mueller has ordered Nunberg to appear (preferably not drunk) before a grand jury and turn over all communications from Nov. 1, 2015, to the present between himself and 10 others, including Trump, Stone, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Hope Hicks. Meanwhile, local activist /comedian-turned-radio journo Randy Credico called the whole thing nuts — and claimed Stone actually is loving it all. As The Villager

Frenemies forever: Randy Credico, left, and Roger Stone.

previously reported, Credico was subpoenaed last December by the House Intelligence Committee for its own election-influencing probe after Stone tagged the funny man as his alleged “back channel” to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But Credico pleaded the Fifth Amendment, the committee waived his requirement to give a deposition, and apparently he hasn’t heard from them since. Weighing in on the latest development, Credico said, basically, it’s all a crock. “It’s a fool’s errand going after him,” Credico scoffed of Stone. “He had nothing to do with WikiLeaks. They wanted nothing to do with him — I talk to WikiLeaks all the time. He’s easy to attack, that’s why the media likes him: He’s Quasimodo.” Stone might as well trademark the phrase “G.O.P. dirty trickster” since it’s how he is invariably referred to. “Stone’s a complete liar,” Credico said, “a self-promoter, a circus act.” As for the whole idea of collusion with Russia to affect the election’s outcome, Credico said, it’s all bunk. “Mueller knows there are some people who only support this investigation if it involves collusion,” he said, “but there’s no collusion. Mueller’s going after economic stuff — money laundering, tax cheats. This is not his mandate. But they need to buy time. He’s going after Qatar, he’s going after these banking schemes by Jared Kushner. He doesn’t care about collusion. He knows there’s nothing there, but he throws some red meat out there. Stone is red meat.” A recent report by The Atlantic about a couple of direct messages between Stone and WikiLeaks was, Credico shrugged, “a big nothingburger”: WikiLeaks was essentially telling Stone to get lost and stop alluding to knowing anything about its planned dump of sensitive documents that could impact the election, and Stone and WikiLeaks only resumed contact after the election, according to Credico. Asked if Assange is worried where things are headed with Mueller’s homing in on Stone, Credico — who said he still text-messages Assange — said, “No, not at all.” Although he hasn’t heard back from the Intel Committee, Credico suspects he now will be sucked into the mix again now that Mueller is going after Stone. He added that it’s a joke that Mueller is demanding all of Nunberg’s communications, since, as we all learned thanks to Edward Snowden, the government spooks can simply access all of our information with just a single computer keystroke. Credico said, despite it all, he’s still friends with Stone, even though the lobbyist “has no balls” for telling the congressional committee he was his “back channel.” Since we’re on the topic of “Russiagate,” we might as well mention that the gonzo journalist also spoke glowingly to us of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin is a strong, attractive leader,” he told us. “Putin has brought respect to Russia. Somebody has to stand up to U.S. aggression. He’s not like Yeltsin, who was paid by the C.I.A.” O.K., sure, Comrade Credico! Anyway, told of all Credico’s comments, Stone text-messaged us back. “I addressed this under oath before the House Intelligence Committee,” he said. “Credico pleaded the Fifth and refused to answer any questions. Who’s lying? While ‘back channel’ may be an overdramatization, Credico most definitely confirmed for me what Assange had already said in public — that he had material on Hillary which he would publish, which he had and did. Credico never attributed this confirmation to Assange himself nor did he indicate he knew the source or subject of the material. His claim that the confirmation came prior to his first [radio show] interview with Assange is irrelevant as Credico knows others who work for WikiLeaks. I initially declined to provide Credico’s name to the House Intelligence Committee for fear that some would take professional reprisals against him, and indeed he was fired from his job at WBAI when this came to light.” Stone said he has no ill will toward Credico, noting, “Randy is the guy who enlightened me on the ignominious racist failure of the war on drugs (Nixon’s biggest mistake) and arranged for me to speak at a rally against New York’s draconian laws. I retain great affection for him even though he is dissembling about what transpired here — most likely because he doesn’t want his friend Assange to know he was talking out of school. I hope he finds work. The limited direct messages with WikiLeaks, which had been turned over to the House Intel Committee months ago — a doctored version of which [was] leaked — prove yet again that I received no material from WikiLeaks, and therefore, the little I know, I know from Randy. On this we agree: Assange is not a Russian asset and WikiLeaks is not a Russian front, Assange is an honest journalist and WikiLeaks is a news organization with a track record for accuracy and authenticity.” To Credico’s cracks about Stone’s behaving starved for media attention, he retorted, “I like attention? I’m not the one who went to the state capitol dressed like a mythological figure.” He was referring to when Credico visited the state Senate in Albany in 2009 dressed as Diogenes the Cynic, the Greek philosopher, and held aloft a lantern, saying he was “seeking an honest politician.” On another note, speaking of Albany, Credico said, although it would be a lot of work for him, he might just have to run against Governor Andrew Cuomo. “If nobody else runs by mid-May, I have to run, unfortunately,” he said. “Somebody’s got to do it.”

Bowery housing battle: To update the 85 Bowery situation, five days after tenants went on a hunger strike / sidewalk campout in the bitter cold in front of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s 100 Gold St. offices, they broke it off on Feb. 12 for the Lunar New Year celebrations, which last for two weeks. During the hunger strike, the court fight continued over whether their units are rent-regulated. The court proposed March 28 as the date for the repairs inside the building to be completed, tenants spokesperson Caitlin Kelmar reported. However, she said, there was no assurance the tenants would be able to move back home right away. “Right now, the tenants and landlord are negotiating on having a settlement outside of the court,” she said. “This is a big step forward. The amount of pressure put on the landlord because of the coverage of the hunger strike…was definitely felt. We are hopeful the move-in date will be March 28, which has been agreed upon by the tenants, landlord and the Mayor’s Office. However, should this date not be met…the tenants and their broad network of supporters will be prepared to return to their hunger strike.”

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