While testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Trump associate Roger Stone revealed that comedian and radio host Randy Credico was the intermediary between Stone and Wikileaks’ Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential election. Here’s five things to know:
1. Credico has Been Subpeonaed to Testify Before Congress
The House Intelligence Committee is investigating possible Russian interference in the past election, and Stone’s testimony was part of that investigation. As CNN reported in March 2017, a review of Stone’s public statements from the final few months of the presidential election shows that Stone “repeatedly discussed his backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and claimed knowledge of forthcoming leaks from the group.”
Credico, meanwhile, is a comedian, political activist and radio host whose show “Randy Credico Live on the Fly” airs on WBAI (as reported in his Twitter bio). Roger Stone and Julian Assange have both been guests on Credico’s show.
On Nov. 28, Credico tweeted a photograph of a subpeona dated the day before. Also on Nov. 27, Credico gave an interview to NY1.com, which asked him if he served as the middleman between Stone and Assange.
“You believe that story? Let me just say this. I am not at liberty courtesy of my counsel to talk about Roger Stone or to talk about WikiLeaks or to talk about Julian Assange, because these are both guests that appear on my show,” said Credico. “And by talking to you about it, that could give them the tire iron to get me to talk.”
2. Credico has a Track Record of Left-of-Center Political Activism
Credico’s Twitter handle is @Credico2016, potentially ironic because 2016 is one of the few recent election seasons in which he did not run as a candidate for some seat or other. In 2010, he ran a Democratic Senate primary challenge against Sen. Chuck Schumer. In 2013, he was in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City.
Credico is the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, a position he resigned to pursue his senatorial primary campaign. His Twitter biography currently includes a link to EndPIC.org, which stands for “End Prison Industrial Complex” and calls for an end to mass incarceration.
3. Credico and his Supporters say the Subpeona Threatens Freedom of the Press
In addition to hosting Stone on his show, Credico once appeared with Stone on an episode of Alex Jones’ InfoWars. (Credico and Stone have known each other for 15 years.) When discussing his subpeona with the media, Credico suggested it was due to hi work as a radio host or guest. Credico told The Daily Beast that “I believe it’s an infringement on free speech, on the First Amendment. Look, I’ve had some very controversial guests on my show. I’ve had Julian Assange. And this whole Russiagate thing seems to be targeting him. Whichever way they can get me into this, he’s a source of mine. I’ve been to the embassy several times, and he’s a source. Like anybody else, I cannot talk about my conversations with my sources.”
A petition on RootsAction calls for “Reasonable limits on Russiagate investigations” and says Credico’s subpeona shows that “Congress appears to be targeting people for political purposes, including to needlessly worsen U.S.-Russia hostility.”
Julian Assange responded to news of the subpeona with a tweet referring to Credico as a satirist “subpoenaed by the U.S. House intelligence committee after interviewing me.”
4. Roger Stone Previously Lied When Asked About Credico
On Wednesday, when news broke of Stone’s admission regarding Credico’s intermediary role between him and Assange, New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza took to Twitter to note “I asked Roger Stone in March if Randy Credico was his Wikileaks contact and he lied to me and said no. He just texted me, “A misguided effort to protect Credico who I felt had helped me on an off the record basis. Sorry.” Many reporters use Stone as a Trump source. Beware.”
Stone and Credico were both involved in a bizarre scandal in New York State politics in 2007. As the Huffington Post wrote at the time, Stone had been accused of making a threatening phone call to Bernard Spitzer, the 83-year-old father of Eliot Spitzer, who was governor at the time. But Stone argued that the call actually came from Credico, mimicking his voice.
Anthony Papa, writing for Huffington Post, concluded that “In Credico, Stone found a perfect patsy to deny the allegations that it was he who made the threatening phone call. Credico, for sure, has the ability to mimic Rodger Stone’s voice. He was recently on the Fred Dicker radio show and did Rodger’s voice dead on. But I have spoken at length with Credico and he denies he made THAT phone call.”
5. His Activism Successfully Brought About Drug Law Reform
In 2015 the New Yorker ran an article calling Credico “The man who screamed so loud the drug laws changed.” Specifically, Credico brought about easing of New York State’s notoriously harsh Rockefeller drug laws.
Credico’s opposition to mass incarceration is due to his upbringing; his father was imprisoned for over a decade before he was born, and he grew up listening to stories of the appalling treatment inmates received in American prisons.
Credico was born in Monterey Park, California, in 1954. In his young adulthood he showed potential as a comedian, and even appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson at age 30. (While talking to Carson, Credico compared then-U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick to Eva Braun; he was never invited back on the show.)
As the New Yorker explained, by age 43 Credico was “searching for a second act when he saw a C-SPAN debate about New York’s Rockefeller drug laws, which were then the most punitive in the country. He decided that he would make it his cause to dismantle them.”
He had a moderate degree of success in that regard; in 2005, the New York Times ran an article about Credico, calling him “the stand-up comic better known as a flamboyant advocate for inmates serving sentences under the Rockefeller drug laws.”
Today, Credico’s prison-reform and end-mass-incarceration focus includes pushing for divestiture from the private, for-profit prison industry.