Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign — and the presidential son appears to have acted on multiple requests made by the Kremlin-connected transparency organization, according to a new report.
As the investigation into Russian collusion continues to loom over the White House, a cache of Twitter direct messages obtained by the Atlantic on Monday reveal that Trump Jr. communicated with WikiLeaks on a number of occasions, starting in September last year and spanning until at least July this year.
Roughly two months before Election Day, the WikiLeaks Twitter account initiated contact, informing the Trump son over a direct message that an anti- Trump PAC was about to launch a website called putintrump.org.
“Any comment?” the WikiLeaks handle asked.
“Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around. Thanks,” Trump Jr. responded about 12 hours later.
WikiLeaks first sent Donald Trump Jr. a direct message over Twitter about two months before Election Day.
And it appears Trump Jr. made good on that promise. A source familiar with the congressional investigation into Russian interference told the Atlantic that Trump Jr. contacted a number of senior campaign officials hours later, telling them that WikiLeaks had made contact.
Trump Jr. also shared the online address of WikiLeaks’ documents involving the Hillary Clinton campaign after WikiLeaks asked him to get his dad to share it because of “great stories the press are missing,” the messages show.
And 15 minutes after Trump Jr. got the request, Trump himself tweeted complaining about “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks.”
WikiLeaks also made more brazen requests, such as asking Trump Jr. to coax his dad into telling Australia to appoint its founder, Julian Assange, ambassador to the United States. The anti-secrecy site also tried to convince Trump Jr. to share his father’s coveted tax returns so they could show their “impartiality,” which would give more heft to their trove of Clinton related emails.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures as he speaks to reporters from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London.
(Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
They also reached out to him on Election Day.
“Hi Don if your father ‘loses’ we think it is much more interesting if he DOES NOT conceed [SIC]and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred—as he has implied that he might do,” the message said.
The missive was similar to what US intelligence agencies have said were plans of Russian trolls to cast a Clinton victory as illegitimate.
Vice President Mike Pence denied knowing anything about the matter during the campaign.
Donald Trump Jr. worked on his father’s 2016 campaign.
“He first learned of this news from a published report earlier tonight,” Pence’s press secretary said in a statement, as a clip from last year began circulating online of the Vice President forcefully denying that the Trump campaign was in cahoots with WikiLeaks.
Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, told the Daily News his client had turned over the correspondences to congressional committees investigating Russian interference, and “ we can say with confidence that we have no concerns about these documents and any questions raised about them have been easily answered in the appropriate forum.”
Hours after the Atlantic report was published, Trump Jr. tweeted out screengrabs of the messages, including “my whopping three responses.”