Was Trump Jr. talk­ing to Wik­ileaks?

The Mercury News - - Front Page - By Mary Clare Jalonick

WASH­ING­TON >> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s old­est son on Mon­day re­leased a se­ries of di­rect mes­sages he re­ceived from the Twit­ter ac­count be­hind the Wik­iLeaks web­site, in­clud­ing his re­sponses to the com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Don­ald Trump Jr.’s re­lease of the mes­sages on Twit­ter cames hours af­ter The At­lantic first re­ported them. In the ex­changes — some of them around the time that the web­site was re­leas­ing stolen emails from Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign chair­man — Wik­iLeaks asks Trump Jr. to push its leaks and to re­lease his fa­ther’s tax re­turns to the site.

The doc­u­ments re­leased by Trump Jr. show him re­spond­ing three times, at one point agree­ing to “ask around” about a po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee Wik­iLeaks had men­tioned. He also asked the site about a ru­mor about an up­com­ing leak. The mes­sages be­gan in Septem­ber 2016 and ran through July.

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!”

The di­rect mes­sages had been turned over to con­gres­sional com­mit­tees in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sian in­ter­ven­tion in the 2016 elec­tion and if there were any links to Trump’s cam­paign.

In a state­ment, Trump Jr.’s lawyer said thou­sands of doc­u­ments had been turned over to the com­mit­tees.

“Putting aside the ques­tion as to why or by whom such doc­u­ments, pro­vided to Congress un­der prom­ises of con­fi­den­tial­ity, have been se­lec­tively leaked, we can say with con­fi­dence that we have no con­cerns about these doc­u­ments and any ques­tions raised about them have been eas­ily an­swered in the ap­pro­pri­ate fo­rum,” said Alan Futer­fas.

Wik­iLeaks edi­tor Ju­lian As­sange tweeted af­ter The At­lantic re­port that he couldn’t con­firm the mes­sages but then de­fended them af­ter Trump Jr. re­leased them.

“Wik­iLeaks ap­pears to be­guile some peo­ple into trans­parency by con­vinc­ing them that it is in their in­ter­est,” As­sange tweeted.

Democrats swiftly re­acted to the re­port, say­ing Trump Jr. should pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion. Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Demo­crat on the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee, says it “demon­strates once again a will­ing­ness by the high­est lev­els of the Trump cam­paign to ac­cept for­eign as­sis­tance.”

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