Donald Trump Jr. has released private Twitter correspondence with transparency organisation WikiLeaks after a bombshell report alleged they had secretly communicated for months before and after his father’s 2016 election.
The news is significant because the US intelligence community believes WikiLeaks was used by the Russian government to disseminate information prejudicial to Trump’s rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
In the exchanges – some of them around the time the website was releasing stolen emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman – WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. to push its leaks.
NBC News counted Trump mentioning WikiLeaks 145 times during the last month of the 2016 race https://t.co/pnIXlUuD1C— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) November 14, 2017
The magazine reports that Trump Jr. largely ignored the frequent messages from WikiLeaks, but in one instance the website direct messaged him a link to their database of leaked emails, writing: “strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us.”
Trump Jr. didn’t respond immediately, but his father tweeted 15 minutes later: “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by Wikileaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”
Then, two days later, on October 14, 2016, Trump Jr. tweeted out the link WikiLeaks had sent him.
On election day, WikiLeaks wrote to Trump Jr.: “Hi Don if your father ‘loses’ we think it is much more interesting if he DOESNOT concede [sic] and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred”.
Trump Jr. plays down the exchanges
According to the Atlantic, the direct Twitter messages were turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional committees investigating Russian intervention in the 2016 election and if there were any links to Trump’s campaign.
The Trump administration has consistently denied any collusion with Russia or with Wikileaks.
Trump Jr. downplayed the exchanges as he released them.
“Here is the entire chain of messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak,” he tweeted. “How ironic!”
With NBC News and the Associated Press