Conservative commentator Jerome Corsi said Monday that he has been informed he will soon be indicted for perjury by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I’m going to be indicted. That’s what we were told,” Corsi said on a live stream. “I’m going to be criminally charged,” he said, in connection with “giving false information.”
The specific details of potential charges against Corsi aren’t yet known, but they may relate to Corsi’s recent testimony about either his association with longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone or some sort of advance knowledge Corsi may have had about WikiLeaks’s
Corsi was subpoenaed by the special counsel’s team back in late August, and over the ensuing months he has gone in for many hours of questioning before Mueller’s grand jury. There was speculation in the press that he would become a cooperating witness for Mueller. That appears not to have transpired, and Corsi told NBC News that he had been caught in a “perjury trap.”
Corsi is a conspiracy theorist with a history of making false claims, so we probably shouldn’t take even his own statements about his purportedly imminent indictment entirely at face value.
But Mueller’s team has spent a great deal of time in recent weeks and months calling in witnesses connected to Roger Stone and exploring whether any Americans had inside information about WikiLeaks’s plans, and they’ve spent a great deal of time interviewing Corsi in particular. So though we can’t say for sure whether he’ll be indicted, it’s clear that Mueller has been quite interested in him.
Who is Jerome Corsi?
Since exploding on to the national political scene in 2004 — when he co-wrote the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth book that tried to cast doubt on John Kerry’s military heroism — Corsi has been a prominent figure on the right and especially on its conspiracy theorist fringes.
Corsi has pushed conspiracy theories about George W. Bush wanting to unite the US and Mexico under one government, about a group tied to al Qaeda financing John McCain’s presidential campaign, and even about Hitler secretly having survived the fall of Nazi Germany. Through all this time, he was a frequent guest on Fox News and conservative talk radio shows.
But he really hit pay dirt in fulfilling a market demand for made-up nonsense about Barack Obama. Corsi claimed at various points that Obama was secretly gay and secretly Muslim, but where he really got a response was in claiming Obama may not have truly been born in the United States — which he did as far back as August 2008. He then became one of the leading “birther” conspiracy theorists, something that in 2011 earned him a personal phone call from Donald Trump.
In early 2017, Corsi ended his long association with the fringe website WorldNetDaily and moved over to work for the even fringier website Infowars, headed by Alex Jones. At some point in 2018 he left Infowars and has since streamed his own web show. This year, he promoted the QAnon pro-Trump conspiracy theory (though he’s since said he no longer believes it).
Why might Mueller care about Jerome Corsi?
In March 2016, Russian intelligence officers hacked Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails. On October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks began posting those emails publicly.
Though WikiLeaks had promised an important forthcoming release before that date, and said it would be related to the Clintons, the group had not said publicly that they had Podesta’s emails.
But according to a recent NBC News report, Mueller’s team has evidence suggesting Corsi somehow knew that WikiLeaks had those emails before that information was public.
If true, that would be a massive development. There has been no clear evidence so far that any Americans knew in advance about WikiLeaks’ possession of the Podesta emails.
NBC reported that Mueller asked Corsi about this evidence, and Corsi “told them he simply figured it out on his own,” per a source. Corsi said something similar on the live stream: “I found out what I knew largely from open sources.” But that would have been a spectacularly lucky guess, since the far more common speculation was that WikiLeaks had Clinton’s own emails or Clinton Foundation documents.
There’s also a question about whether someone else knew in advance: longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. He did, after all, tweet on August 21, 2016: “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel.” That was more than a month before the Podesta email news broke.
Stone has claimed that that tweet had nothing to do with WikiLeaks or hacked emails. Instead, he’s said, the tweet had something to do with Jerome Corsi.
Indeed, Corsi and Stone were in communication during this key period in August 2016. Stone has said that he happened to have Corsi do opposition research into Podesta’s business dealings that month, and that his “barrel” tweet referred in part to what Corsi had found.
So was all of this truly a set of odd Podesta-related coincidences — or is there really evidence that one or both the pair knew what was coming? And is Corsi really about to be indicted? As ever, we won’t get a clearer idea unless — or until — Mueller shows his hand.