WikiLeaks wooed Trump team
US President Donald Trump’s oldest son has released private Twitter exchanges between him and WikiLeaks during and after the 2016 election, including pleas from the website to publicise its leaks.
Donald Trump Jr’s release of the messages on Twitter came hours after The Atlantic magazine reported them.
In the exchanges — some of them around the time the website was releasing the stolen emails from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman — WikiLeaks praises his father’s positive comments about WikiLeaks and asks Mr Trump Jr to release his father’s tax returns to the site.
The revelations are sure to increase calls in Congress to have Mr Trump Jr testify publicly as part of several committee probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. And they add a new element to the investigations that have been probing for months whether Mr Trump’s campaign colluded in any way with the Russian government.
In an intelligence assessment in January, the NSA, CIA and FBI concluded that Russian military intelligence provided hacked information from the DNC and “senior Democratic officials” to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks has denied that Russia was the source of emails it released, including those from Mrs Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
The messages released by Mr Trump Jr show him responding to the WikiLeaks account three times, at one point agreeing to “ask around” about a political action committee WikiLeaks had mentioned.
He also asked the site about a rumour about an upcoming leak. The messages began in September last year and ran through July.
Mr Trump Jr played down the exchanges as he released them.
“Here is the entire chain of messages with (at) wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak,” he tweeted. “How ironic!”
In one message dated October 3, the WikiLeaks Twitter account sent Mr Trump Jr an article that included critical comments Mrs Clinton had made about WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange and said “it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story”.
Mr Trump Jr replied: “Already did that earlier today.
“It’s amazing what she can get away with.”