Donald Trump Jr. had a secret correspondence with Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign, The Atlantic reports.
According to messages obtained by The Atlantic’s Julia Ioffe, Wikileaks sent Trump Jr. a message on September 20, 2016, saying, “A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch. The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?”
“Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around,” Trump Jr. wrote back. “Thanks.”
On October 3, Wikileaks wrote, “Hiya, it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story,” referring to a story about Hillary Clinton wanting to “just drone” Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
“Already did that earlier today,” Trump Jr. responded. “It’s amazing what she can get away with.”
“What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” Trump Jr. wrote two minutes later, in reference to Trump adviser Roger Stone’s claim that Wikileaks was coming out with a big dump on Clinton.
Wikileaks did not respond but messaged him on October 12, saying, “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications.”
“Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us,” they wrote, adding a link to wlsearch.tk.“There’s many great stories the press are missing and we’re sure some of your follows [sic] will find it. Btw we just released Podesta Emails Part 4.”
Trump Jr. did not respond but tweeted out the link two days later, writing, “For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here: http://wlsearch.tk/.”
Trump Jr. stopped interacting with them after that but they continued to send him requests.
“Hey Don. We have an unusual idea,” Wikileaks wrote on October 21. “Leak us one or more of your father’s tax returns.”
“If we publish them it will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality,” they explained. “That means that the vast amount of stuff that we are publishing on Clinton will have much higher impact, because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source. The same for any other negative stuff (documents, recordings) that you think has a decent chance of coming out. Let us put it out.”
On Election Day, Wikileaks wrote, “Hi Don if your father ‘loses’ we think it is much more interesting if he DOES NOT conceed [sic] and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred—as he has implied that he might do.”
Wikileaks continued to reach out to Trump Jr. after his father won.
“Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well!” Wikileaks wrote in December. “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.”
Wikileaks messaged him again after it was revealed he met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer in July.
“Hi Don. Sorry to hear about your problems,” Wikileaks wrote. “We have an idea that may help a little. We are VERY interested in confidentially obtaining and publishing a copy of the email(s) cited in the New York Times today.”
Trump Jr. did not reply but posted the emails himself later that day.
The messages were reportedly turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators.