According to today’s bombshell report in The Atlantic, Donald Trump Jr. had extensive correspondence with Wikileaks in hope of influencing the outcome of the 2016 election.
As of September 20 2016, Trump Jr. and Wikileaks spoke over a slew of private direct messages on Twitter. These messages have since been turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators.
“Over the last several months, we have worked cooperatively with each of the committees and have voluntarily turned over thousands of documents in response to their requests,” said Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Donald Trump Jr.
Per The Atlantic:
“The messages show Wikileaks, a radical transparency organization that the American intelligence community believes was chosen by the Russian government to disseminate the information it had hacked, actively soliciting Trump Jr.’s cooperation. Wikileaks made a series of increasingly bold requests, including asking for Trump’s tax returns, urging the Trump campaign to reject the results of the election as rigged, and requesting that the president-elect tell Australia to appoint Julian Assange ambassador to the United States.”
There were multiple occasions during which Trump Jr. acquiesced to Wikileaks’ requests. On October 3, 2016, Wikileaks wrote, “Hiya, it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story,” citing a Hillary Clinton quote about wanted to “just drone” Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.
“Already did that earlier today,” Trump Jr. responded. “It’s amazing what she can get away with.”
Several days later, on October 12, 2016, Wikileaks suggested that he tweet out a link – wlsearch.tk – to “help Trump’s followers dig through the trove of stolen documents and find stories.”
Only two days later, Trump Jr. tweeted just that.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 14, 2016
It wasn’t until after Trump won the election that Wikileaks sought a reward for their loyalty.
“Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well!” Wikileaks wrote on December 16. “In relation to Mr. Assange: Obama/Clinton placed pressure on Sweden, UK and Australia (his home country) to illicitly go after Mr. Assange. It would be real easy and helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to [Washington,] DC.”
While this isn’t the first time that Donald Trump Jr. has proven himself utterly incapable of exercising good judgment, today’s revelations are decidedly bad news – and even worse optics – for an administration already staring down the barrel of special counselor Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation.