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Donald Trump Jr. Had Direct Contact With Wikileaks Regarding Information About Clinton

Donald Trump Jr and Julian Assange

The Washington Post and The Atlantic are reporting that Donald Trump Jr. was in direct communication with Wikileaks during the course of the 2016 Presidential campaign regarding the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton:

President Trump’s eldest son exchanged private messages with WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign at the same time the website was publishing hacked emails from Democratic officials, according to correspondence made public Monday.

Donald Trump Jr. did not respond to many of the notes, which were sent using the direct message feature on Twitter. But he alerted senior advisers on his father’s campaign, including his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to two people familiar with the exchanges.

In the messages, WikiLeaks urged Trump Jr. to promote its trove of hacked Democratic emails and suggested that President Trump challenge the election results if he did not win, among other ideas. They were first reported by the Atlantic and later posted by Trump Jr. on Twitter.

WikiLeaks, which bills itself as an anti-secrecy group, was described in April by CIA Director Mike Pompeo as a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

In July 2016, the organization released thousands of emails that had been stolen from the Democratic National Committee by a cyberhack that U.S. intelligence officials concluded was orchestrated by the Russian government.

The newly revealed exchanges provide additional information about the role played by Trump Jr. in 2016. He also has come under scrutiny for agreeing to meet with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower who he was told wanted to provide “dirt” about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on behalf of the Russian government.

Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s attorney, said his client’s exchanges with WikiLeaks were innocuous.

“All sides in this campaign, the Clinton side, the Trump side, were monitoring WikiLeaks to see what they would publish next,” Futerfas said. “If The Washington Post or the New York Times was looking to see what was being released, does that suggest any impropriety on their part? Of course not.”

Trump Jr.’s own tweets, however, as well as those from people such as Roger Stone and Donald Trump himself tell another story:

At one point during his communication with WikiLeaks, Trump Jr. sought to learn more about a rumored leak of new documents related to Clinton, the messages indicate.

“What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” Trump Jr. asked during one exchange with the WikiLeaks account on Oct. 3.

More than a week later, on Oct. 12, the account replied with a suggestion:

“Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications,” WikiLeaks wrote. “Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us.” The message included a link to search documents that had been hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Trump Jr. did not answer. Fifteen minutes later, his father tweeted to his millions of followers: “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”

Two days later, Trump Jr. tweeted the link to his followers, writing, “For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here: http://wlsearch.tk/.”

The original report by Julia Ioffe in The Atlantic goes into further detail that goes into significant detail on all of this but is far too detailed to be fairly summarized in just a handful of excerpts. As Ioffe shows, there is a remarkable correlation between both Twitter Direct Messages and emails from Wikileaks to Trump Jr., the release of information regarding Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, or Democratic activist John Podesta, whose email was also hacked and stolen by individuals believed to be linked to both Russia and Wikileaks. On numerous occasions throughout the campaign, one can find compelling evidence of a direct correlation between a communication from Wikileaks to Trump about an impending release of information about Clinton or others and a corresponding tweet from him, informal campaign advisers such as Roger Stone, or even the President himself teasing such information. On those occasions when the communication concerned information that had already been released, the tweets or other communications would include a link to the post on the Wikileaks website where the information could be found. Additionally, there were several occasions during the course of the campaign where a Wikileaks communication with the younger Trump would advise him that information would be released and we would see a “tease” from Trump Sr. or others about ‘big information’ that was going to be released about Clinton. On many occasions, the gap between the time these messages was sent and the time someone associated with Trump was tweeting about it was as short as fifteen minutes. Based on this, it’s clear that there was an active and engaged relationship between senior people in the Trump campaign such as Trump Jr. and Wikileaks, which seems quite clearly to have been acting in concert with the Russian government both before and during the 2016 campaign in the United States. Given that, the allegations and suspicions regarding potential collusion between people close to Trump and Russian officials.

These latest allegations come, of course, on top of everything else we know about contacts between various Trump campaign officials and people linked to the Russian government during the course of the campaign, and especially what we knew about the role that the President’s oldest son was playing in this regard during the time he was serving as both a top campaign adviser and public spokesperson. Prior to this, of course, we had learned about the now famous meeting in Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner, and a lawyer with ties to the Russian government. During that meeting, the lawyer in question recently stated that  Trump Jr. offered a quid pro quo in exchange for damaging information about Clinton. Initially, of course, the Trump White House and Trump Jr. claimed that the meeting was about the sanctions imposed by the so-called Magnisky Act and the issue of the adoption of Russian babies by American citizens, which was in limbo in wake of the sanctions imposed after Russia’s annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine. In fact, as we learned later,  the President himself participated in drafting a statement that made this claim on the way home from a trip to Europe on Air Force One. Very quickly, though, it became evident that these claims were untrue after Trump Jr. released a string of emails between himself and other campaign officials regarding the meeting. Those emails made it clear that purpose of the meeting was based on the claim that the Kremlin-linked lawyer could deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton, a prospect that elicited a response from Trump Jr. that said: “Sounds great!” Taken in context with these new reports about Trump Jr.’s contacts and seeming coordination with Wikileaks regarding the release of damaging information about Clinton, and the level of coordination and possibe collusion takes on an entirely new light. Where all of this leads is something only time, and more information can tell, but it’s obvious that more investigation is necessary and that Trump Jr. has some questions to answer.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications,” WikiLeaks wrote. “Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us.” The message included a link to search documents that had been hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

    Trump Jr. did not answer. Fifteen minutes later, his father tweeted to his millions of followers: “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”

    Two days later, Trump Jr. tweeted the link to his followers, writing, “For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here: http://wlsearch.tk/.”

    Anyone who continues to doubt there was coordination, at the highest levels, between the Trump campaign and forces hostile to America is simply denying reality.

    The most important question that remains is “what did the President know, and when did he know it?”

    ReplyReply

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  2. MarkedMan says:

    The thing that will eventually put some of these bozos in jail, is that they keep on denying things absolutely, then get caught lying, admit to exactly what they were caught doing, and then tell another lie. Considering the low quality (ex: Lewandowski) and/or basic stupidity (ex: Trump’s family) and/or nascent insanity (ex: Flynn), at least some of them must have tried this cycle under oath with prosecutors.

    ReplyReply

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  3. @MarkedMan:

    The President is either getting some very bad legal and public relations advice regarding this matter, or he isn’t listening to his lawyers and advisers.

    If it’s the second, then I have to wonder why those people are continuing to work for him if he’s not going to listen to them. In the past, I’ve dealt with clients who didn’t listen to my advice. The results for inevitable.

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    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  4. CSK says:

    With the Trumps, it’s the stupidity of arrogance, and the arrogance of stupidity, that govern all their thoughts, actions, and words.

    They’re stupid people who think they’re smarter than everyone else.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Another drip in the near constant drip, drip, drip.
    I’ve said this before; it’s impossible to look at the timeline of these myriad events and still believe that there is no likelihood of collusion, unless you are drowning in the Cheeto-flavored kool-aid.
    Incredibly…we don’t even know all that Mueller knows.
    Typically I would think a smoking gun is unlikely to be found…but these clowns are so full of hubris and idiocy that I’m thinking it’s 50/50 at this point.
    Bunge will be along soon to tell us that this latest instance is meaningless, and that all the other instances are totally unrelated and equally meaningless.

    One more thing:
    The Cheeto family is managing to make Mike Pence look dumber than he already looked…I wouldn’t have thought that possible.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. Mikey says:

    @Doug Mataconis: He’s someone who has never been held to account. For anything. Ever. He does this stuff because he believes he’ll get away with it, and he believes that because he has always gotten away with it.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  7. Jen says:

    And yet, here we are, facing the possibility of a special prosecutor on…

    The Uranium One matter.

    This was all very predictable. None of these folks had any experience in running a national political campaign and figured it couldn’t be that different from running a web of privately held LLC companies. (Spoiler alert: it’s different.)

    The Trumpkins won’t believe it, but honestly I’ve stopped tracking that. What matters is what Mueller finds. (Which is probably exactly why we’re seeing the Uranium non-story resurface.)

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  8. al-Ameda says:

    The Washington Post and The Atlantic are reporting that Donald Trump Jr. was in direct communication with Wikileaks during the course of the 2016 Presidential campaign regarding the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton

    Those emails made it clear that purpose of the meeting was based on the claim that the Kremlin-linked lawyer could deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton, a prospect that elicited a response from Trump Jr. that said: “Sounds great!”

    I almost … almost … feel sorry for Junior.
    He really is ‘Fredo,’ and he should definitely not go out on a boat alone with dad, Eric, Jared, Ivanka, or Tiffany.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. Lit3Bolt says:

    Soon it’s going to be Twitter’s time in the barrel.

    “Our platform was the social media CHOICE of Russian bots/GRU cutouts and illegally hacked data in the 2016, and we’re the CHOICE of the most treacherous and incompetent President in the history of the United States. We’re being served with numerous Federal warrants and depositions now, gotta go!”

    So, the conclusion of this is to never Tweet, right? It’s hard to see how Twitter has benefited the Trump family at all. This entire episode could have gone down into whispered campaign legend like the 1980 Missiles for Hostages scandal or the 1968 scuttling of peace talks between the US and Vietnam, of interest to historians and conspiracy theorists only.

    Instead, they’ve provided a convenient timeline and numerous digital records of their conspiracies with foreign actors.

    WHOOPSIES!

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. MarkedMan says:

    Sometimes I wonder why the Republicans can’t see gangrene Trump is spreading throughout their party and bow to the inevitable and hack off the rot now before it does any more damage. But there is a lesson to be learned from the American Corporate world. The textbook case of how to deal with a potential company destroying disaster is the Tylenol poisoning incident. Get in front of it, be brutally honest, do whatever it takes to end the damage. Bottom line: when your integrity is on the line, prove you have integrity by publicly and completely fixing the problem.

    This case is even taught in business schools now, but despite this, almost no company has followed the example. Time after time companies confront these potentially company ending catastrophes and they handle it badly, compounding their problems. Volkswagen, Takata, the Japanese nuclear industry, the list goes on and on. Why don’t companies follow the Tylenol script? Because there is no such thing as a “company” deciding to do something, or a “company” getting in front of something. Individual people have to do that. And the instinctive human reaction when the knives are flying through the air is to hunker down and hope someone else will step up.

    And that is the Republicans in a nutshell. The Republican Party would do well to staunch the Trump wound. But there are no individual Republicans with the courage to do so. In fact, the ones that come closest to having that courage are leaving the party.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I remember dear old Rod (a.k.a. Mr. Let’s-sell-Obama’s-Senate-Seat) and what one of his first lawyers said:

    I don’t insist that my clients take my advice, but they should at least LISTEN to it!

    (said just before quitting.)

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Sessions is now claiming he did not lie under oath, but that he just couldn’t remember. The campaign was so chaotic and they were traveling and all that stuff. And so he just didn’t remember all the contacts with Russians.
    So remember, the next time you are pulled over for speeding…you just didn’t remember that there was a speed limit…and you’ll get off, according to the AG of these United States.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  13. CSK says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Eric doesn’t appear any brighter than Junior. Nor does Jared, though he may be a bit slipperier. Ivanka may have marginally more sense, though that’s saying very little. Tiffany may be the brightest of the bunch; certainly she has the brains to remove herself mostly from the Trump orbit.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  14. SenyorDave says:

    @MarkedMan: Bottom line: when your integrity is on the line, prove you have integrity by publicly and completely fixing the problem.

    The Republicans leaving the party (Flake and Corker) have had ample time to demonstrate their integrity. They could have said something about Trump while he was still running. They chose not to. The so-called moderates like Susan Collins aren’t much different than McConnell. They all made the calculated choice to go along with Trump and his people. I believe the evidence will show that the GOP has knowingly supported a traitor.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    According to the Sessions logic, Clinton should have simply said that he didn’t remember getting that blowie.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. SenyorDave says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Brings to mind the old Steve Martin routine:

    You.. can be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes! You can be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes! You say.. “Steve.. how can I be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes?” First.. get a million dollars. Now.. you say, “Steve.. what do I say to the tax man when he comes to my door and says, ‘You.. have never paid taxes’?” Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: “I forgot!” How many times do we let ourselves get into terrible situations because we don’t say “I forgot”? Let’s say you’re on trial for armed robbery. You say to the judge, “I forgot armed robbery was illegal.” Let’s suppose he says back to you, “You have committed a foul crime. you have stolen hundreds and thousands of dollars from people at random, and you say, ‘I forgot’?” Two simple words: Excuuuuuse me!!”

    I think this is every bit as plausible as Sessions’ excuses.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Make sure you read the updated Atlantic article with Ben Tau’s important insight about the timing of Trump’s tweets.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Franklin says:

    Still curious why MBunge has gone quiet. You think he’s okay???

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Franklin:

    You think he’s okay???

    He is a rabid supporter of an immature, incompetent, mendacious, misogynistic, bigoted, treasonous, mentally diminished, fat blob of a President with a fake tan and the worlds least convincing comb-over…so clearly he is not OK. Not OK at all….

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  20. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @al-Ameda: Nah, he’s probably safe with Tiffany–she doesn’t seem to have a dog in this fight.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    This really shows that the Trump campaign was amateur hour.

    1) Don’t make contact with these people directly. Use a cutout — preferably a law firm, like the Clinton campaign used Perkins Coie to hire Fusion GPS. With a law firm as the go-between, you can claim lawyer-client privilege to keep things quiet.

    2) If you can’t find real dirt on your opponent, just have your hirelings (like, say, Fusion GPS) make up some stuff and try to pass it off to the press.

    3) To head off problems with the national office of your party, just outright buy them off ahead of time (like Hillary’s deal with the broke DNC). This not only helps you rig the primaries, but it keeps the party’s apparatchiks loyal.

    4) Accuse the other side of doing exactly what you’ve done, so when they bring it up, you can dismiss it. So if your foundation has taken millions from Putin stooges, your campaign chair has taken millions from Putin stooges, and your husband has taken big bucks from Putin stooges, accuse them of “collaborating with Russia.”

    5) If you can’t get the press to bite on the obviously-BS fake info you’ve ginned up because it’s too obviously fake, get some loyalists in the government to find a way to make it news. For example, get someone to brief Trump about its existence, then leak the news of the briefing.

    6) If you’re really, really good, you can also get that fake BS “dossier” to be used as evidence to get surveillance warrants on your opponents and see what you might turn up that way. Hell, you’ve spent 8 years weaponizing the federal government; you might as well get some use out of it.

    That’s how the pros do it. Amateurs can’t even begin to come close to this level of chicanery.

    All the amateurs can do is, apparently, win the election anyway.

    ReplyReply

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  22. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: It would be nice if the GOP were only rotten because of Trumpian gangrene, but that’s still not the case. The GOP doesn’t recognize the gangrene that Trump is because Trump is still only a symptom of a long-standing condition. Remember that the only guy who actually ran against Trump policies in the primaries got roughly 2% of the vote. Remember that everyone from Kasich to Christie to Rubio to Cruz who ran against Trump ran as more racist, more Islamophobic, better at building walls, and more nativist than Trump. Remember that the voters narrowed the pool down to Trump and Cruz fairly early in the contest. Remember the alliances with White Supremisists and Neo Nazis that didn’t offend the selectorate one whits worth. They were sick when they started and Trump capitalized on the sickness. And 80% of Republicans are fine with it and currently apologizing for Roy Moore–a hebephile molester who gets away with it because he’s an officer of the court.

    It would be nice if the GOP could see what Trump is doing, but they can’t. It’s who they are. The sooner everyone realizes it, the sooner people who are not that can separate themselves from it and at least save their own character.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  23. Hal_10000 says:

    I’m not quite as blown away as most are. It looks like Trump Jr. only responded to them three times. But this is bad for the Trumpers. Among other things, it opens up a lot more areas for Mueller to explore, including if any text messages were exchanged at the same time as the wikileaks offer.

    Note also that this was leaked by Congress. Trump’s allies on the Hill are growing fewer by the day and their willingness to carry his water is diminishing by the hour. He needs them for the cover-up.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Hal_10000: it opens up a lot more areas for Mueller to explore

    Mueller can already plausibly claim the dissolution of the Podesta Group as a victory, as his indictment of Manafort was for what Manafort did when he was partnered with the Podestas to shill for Putin stooges.

    Which, for the record, was two years before Manafort worked for Trump.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  25. CSK says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Sure, but remember that Trump only hires the best people. He’s told us so innumerable times.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. An Interested Party says:

    Which, for the record, was two years before Manafort worked for Trump.

    Keep whistling past that graveyard if it helps you get through the day…perhaps Mueller will be accused of being part of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy when he brings more indictments against more Trump henchmen…Orville Redenbacher doesn’t make enough product for this particular show…

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The President is either getting some very bad legal and public relations advice regarding this matter, or he isn’t listening to his lawyers and advisers.

    If it’s the second, then I have to wonder why those people are continuing to work for him if he’s not going to listen to them. In the past, I’ve dealt with clients who didn’t listen to my advice. The results for inevitable.

    Whether he pays attention or not, its likely you’ll get bad advice if you lie to your lawyers. Think he’s told them he’s laundered money? Think they found out about Junior’s emails before we did?

    Last I heard, Trump’s lawyers weren’t A listers. They’ll likely stick around as long as they’re getting paid. (Assuming Trump isn’t stiffing them.)

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @An Interested Party: Fortunately, we still have Jolly Time, Act III, and various house brands of popcorn to fall back on. An pre-popped kettle corn at my local supermarket!

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  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    All the amateurs can do is, apparently, win the election anyway.

    Yea. In this context, that equates you to the dog that managed to catch the speeding car.

    Which is now dragging you towards the cliff with it as it beats your head into the pavement.

    Congrats! 😀

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  30. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @An Interested Party: eep whistling past that graveyard if it helps you get through the day…

    Manafort was indicted for failing to register as a foreign agent. The Podestas also failed to register as foreign agents for the very same timeframe, only going back and fixing it when it came out.

    Hillary’s campaign paid a law firm to hire an opposition research, which is legal. But they called the payments to the law firm as “legal fees,” which is, I believe, llegal.

    Campaigns are not supposed to coordinate too closely with the national party before they clinch the nomination, and Hillary’s campaign signed a fund-raising agreement with the practically-bankrupt DNC that put her in charge of most of the key party functions. Another illegality, I believe.

    Oh, and one more set of fun facts. That Russian lady lawyer, Ms. Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump’s people and tried to lobby them over the Magnitsky Act? She was blocked from entering the US, but the Obama administration went out of its way to grant her a special waiver into the country. And right before her meeting with Don Jr., she met with the founder of Fusion GPS — and they met up again after her meeting with Don Jr.

    I guess only the hopelessly naive would see anything suspicious about that, and seeing it as strong evidence of a setup is just paranoia.

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  31. An Interested Party says:

    I guess only the hopelessly naive would see anything suspicious about that, and seeing it as strong evidence of a setup is just paranoia.

    Ohhhhh, so junior is just as stupid as his daddy and is easily caught up in a supposed “conspiracy”…keep whistling…

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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