Donald Trump Jr is downplaying suggestions he coordinated damaging data releases with WikiLeaks
Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump’s son released Monday a series of messages he had with WikiLeaks after a report suggested he had secretly liaised with the group that published Hillary Clinton’s emails during last year’s election.
Donald Trump, Jr revealed what he said was the “entire” chain of Twitter direct messages with WikiLeaks between September 2016 and July this year, in which the anti-secrecy group sought to feed information to the Trump campaign and enhance the impact of its Clinton releases.
Trump Jr’s release, also done on Twitter, shows about a dozen messages from WikiLeaks to him, and what he called “my whopping 3 responses.”
WikiLeaks is shown informing Trump Jr of a new anti-Trump website, urging his father to tweet about WikiLeaks’s Clinton files and advising that, if he loses the election, Trump should challenge the result.
The group also asks Trump Jr to provide his father’s tax returns because “it will dramatically improve the perception of out impartiality” while boosting the impact of its Clinton materials.
And in April, WikiLeaks suggested Trump Jr hand over emails regarding a meeting he had with a Russian lawyer that has become a focus of the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trump Jr only replied to three early messages, thanking WikiLeaks for the information on the new website, making a slighting comment about Clinton, and, on October 3 last year, just before WikiLeaks published a trove of files on Clinton, asking “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?”
Trump Jr clearly sought to downplay Atlantic magazine’s article earlier in the day that first made the messages public.
Although the exchanges were mostly one-sided and mostly ignored by Trump Jr, the president’s son did not push back against the website even though it had already released data that benefited Russian interests.
In his own tweets, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the group’s messages were all part of its promotional efforts.
“WikiLeaks can be very effective at convincing even high-profile people that it is their interest to promote links to its publications,” he said.