Don Jr., WikiLeaks Communicated Through Critical Stage of Campaign
Donald Trump Jr. communicated with WikiLeaks via Twitter direct message off-and-on from September 2016 through at least July of this year, including one suggestion from the leakers that was quickly mirrored in a tweet from the candidate.
The Atlantic reported this evening on the messages turned over by Trump Jr.'s lawyers to congressional investigators that began with outreach by WikiLeaks, which CIA Director Mike Pompeo calls a non-state hostile intelligence service, to then-candidate Trump's son on Sept. 20, 2016.
“A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch,” WikiLeaks wrote. “The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?”
"Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around. Thanks," Trump Jr. responded the next day. The Atlantic reported that he did ask around, telling Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Jared Kushner that WikiLeaks had made contact. Kushner forwarded the email to Hope Hicks.
On Oct. 3, 2016, WikiLeaks wrote, “Hiya, it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story." They included a quote reportedly said by Hillary Clinton in 2010 about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: "Can't we just drone this guy?" (Clinton said in response to the report, “It would have been a joke, if it had been said, but I don't recall that.”)
“Already did that earlier today,” Trump Jr. responded. “It’s amazing what she can get away with.” He then asked WikiLeaks, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” Roger Stone had tweeted the day before, “[email protected] is done. #WikiLeaks.”
On Oct. 7, the Access Hollywood tape of Trump bragging about grabbing women was released. Less than an hour later, WikiLeaks released Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's stolen emails. On an Oct. 10 rally, Trump declared, "I love WikiLeaks!"
Two days later, WikiLeaks messaged Trump Jr.: “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us." They added the link for a docu-dump search. "There’s many great stories the press are missing and we’re sure some of your follows [sic] will find it. Btw we just released Podesta Emails Part 4.”
Fifteen minutes later, candidate Trump tweeted, “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!” On Oct. 14, Trump Jr. tweeted the link WikiLeaks had sent him: “For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here: http://wlsearch.tk/,” he wrote.
A week later, WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. to leak one of his dad's tax returns, because "if we publish them it will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality. That means that the vast amount of stuff that we are publishing on Clinton will have much higher impact, because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source.”